Sunday, August 3, 2014

Amazon's new Kindle Unlimited subscription plan for Kindle and Audible books. UPDATED.

I just saw this.  Today, Amazon announced the launch of a new Kindle program - Kindle Unlimited -- a new subscription service which allows customers to "freely read as much as they want from over 600,000 Kindle books, and listen as much as they want to thousands of Audible audiobooks, all for only $9.99 a month."

There is a 30-day trial available for this newly-launched book-subscription program, competitors for which include Scribd and Oyster.

This involves approximately the same number of books than are in the Prime program's Kindle Owners Lending Program.  And the books they highlight ARE in that program, which makes sense, as they would aleady have lending agreements with many publishers for those.   The difference is that this would tend to involve the Audible versions of SOME of the books involved (2,000 or so -- where the publisher agrees to that -- and the reading of and listening to those digital books would be sync'd).

  The 30-day free trial would help you decide whether or not this would work for your interests in reading.  However, note that the Audible part includes about 2,000 Audible books at this point, and for the rest of Audible's offerings, there is a complimentary 3-month Audible membership

From Amazon's press release:
' Read freely from over 600,000 books-available on Kindle devices, as well as free Kindle reading apps for iOS, Android and more

Listen to thousands of audiobooks from Audible, or switch easily between reading and listening with Whispersync for Voice

Enjoy best sellers including the Harry Potter series, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Hunger Games trilogy, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and Flash Boys

The most cost-effective way to enjoy audiobooks such as The Handmaid's Tale, Life of Pi, and Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Start a free 30-day trial today. today introduced Kindle Unlimited—a new subscription service which allows customers to freely read as much as they want from over 600,000 Kindle books, and listen as much as they want to thousands of Audible audiobooks, all for only $9.99 a month. Finding a great book is easy, and there are never any due dates—just look for the Kindle Unlimited logo on eligible titles and click “Read for Free.” Customers can choose from best sellers like The Hunger Games, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and The Lord of the Rings, and with thousands of professionally narrated audiobooks from Audible, like The Handmaid’s Tale and Water for Elephants, the story can continue in the car or on the go.
  Kindle Unlimited subscribers also get the additional benefit of a complimentary three-month Audible membership, with access to the full selection of Audible titles. Kindle Unlimited is available starting today and is accessible from Kindle devices or with Amazon’s free Kindle reading apps. Start your free 30-day trial today at

“With Kindle Unlimited, you won’t have to think twice before you try a new author or genre—you can just start reading and listening,” said Russ Grandinetti, Senior Vice President, Kindle. “In addition to offering over 600,000 eBooks, Kindle Unlimited is also by far the most cost-effective way to enjoy audiobooks and eBooks together. With thousands of Whispersync for Voice-enabled audiobooks to choose from, you can easily switch between reading and listening to a book, allowing the story to continue even when your eyes are busy. We hope you take advantage of the 30-day free trial and try it for yourself.”

Kindle Unlimited features include:

. Unlimited reading: Access over 600,000 books including best sellers like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, Water for Elephants, Oh Myyy! – There Goes The Internet, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, All the King’s Men, Wonder Boys, Ask for It, The Princess Bride, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, The Atlantis Gene, Kitchen Confidential, The Sisterhood, Crazy Little Thing, The Blind Side, and The Giver, plus thousands of classics such as Animal Farm, To the Lighthouse, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Cat’s Cradle, and The Good Earth, as well as books featuring beloved children’s characters from Sesame Street, and useful reference titles including books from the For Dummies series and Lonely Planet travel guides.

. Unlimited listening: Keep the story going with unlimited access to more than 2,000 audiobooks from Audible with Whispersync for Voice, and switch seamlessly between reading and listening to customer favorites like the Hunger Games trilogy, Life of Pi, The Handmaid’s Tale, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, The Great Santini, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Winter’s Tale, Boardwalk Empire, El Narco, Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies, Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog, The Finisher, Johnny Carson, The Stranger I Married, and Life Code.

. Kindle exclusives: Choose from hundreds of thousands of books only found on Kindle, including Brilliance by Marcus Sakey, The Hangman’s Daughter series by Oliver P√∂tzsch, War Brides by Helen Bryan, Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct and Matthew Hope books, When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde, Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath, Chasing Shadows by CJ Lyons, and Sick by Brett Battles.
Short Reads: For a quick escape, select from thousands of books that are 100 pages or less, including Kindle Singles from Stephen King, Andy Borowitz, and Nelson DeMille, and short fiction from Amazon Publishing’s StoryFront imprint.
Free three-month Audible membership: In addition to the thousands of professionally narrated audiobooks from Audible included in Kindle Unlimited, subscribers get a complimentary three-month Audible membership, with access to more than 150,000 titles.

. Popular Kindle features: Enjoy all the great Kindle features customers love such as Whispersync, Popular Highlights, X-Ray, customer reviews, and Goodreads integration.
Read and listen everywhere: Access across Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps for iPhone, iPad, Android tablets and phones, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, PC, Mac and Windows 8—so you always have your library with you and never lose your place.

For more details on Kindle Unlimited, visit'

Factors for consideration:
1. While the public libraries will lend you most of these books, there are waiting times and due-dates involved, and the Kindle Unlimited subscription service features unlimited reading and listening and no waiting periods.
2. This new subscription program lets you borrow up to 10 Kindle books at a time.  While you've unlimited time to read any of them, you can remove a book you've finished reading and then choose another book.
3. There is no limit on how many Kindle books can be borrowed in a given month.
4. Kindle Unlimited doesn't limit you to books read on Amazon Kindle devices.
5. You don't need to be a Prime member to participate.
6. The Big 5 publishers' e-books tend to be missing from this program at this point,
    although I imagine this will be a negotiating point with new Agreements due.

I'm not sure if Prime members (US, UK) who get to read just one of the 600,000+ Kindle books in the Lending Library at no added cost each calendar month (benefits included in the Prime yearly fee for 2-days free shipping + instant streaming video and music) would find this tempting, but those who feel constrained by the limit of one Kindle Prime-eligible book per calendar month might, as well as those who haven't opted for the Prime program.

Will be interested in any thoughts on this new development.

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  1. Quote: "While the public libraries will lend you most of these books, there are waiting times and due-dates involved, and the Kindle Unlimited subscription service features unlimited reading and listening and no waiting periods."

    In the case of ebooks, availability, those "waiting times and due-dates" illustrates just how backward thinking many publishing executives are. If they had any sense, they'd have every book on their backlist available as an ebook from virtually every library in the country with no limits on simultaneous checkouts, just per-checkout fees. This pitiful corporate executives don't seem to have the sense to take advantage of the differences ebooks bring to the table. Their failure has become Amazon opportunity.

    Kindle Unlimited is bad news for local libraries, since many of their most avid readers are likely to sign up and become less supportive of the library.

    1. Inkling, "your per-checkout fees" makes so much sense...

  2. Well, I'm in at least for the 30 days. I only occasionally use Prime Lending Library. It is inconvenient (have to visit Manage Your Content to return things) and 'one per month' (not even 'one at a time') is annoying. And you can't use Kindle apps, only Kindle devices. While Prime selections form the bulk of the KU selection, by no means are all Prime selections available through KU. Then there is all the stuff that is not in Prime, and 2000 books with 'narration' included (which can be downloaded as audiobooks only to Audible apps). I think it is the 'last mile' enhancements of KU (more convenient to manage returns, up to 10 books, any Kindle device or app) will make this a success even with Prime customers. If only for books like Flash Boys or Capital In The 21st Century.

    1. All good points, Tom. Max 10 at a time on the plan is certainly quite more than enough too ! I'd forgotten to list the perk vs Prime's, of being accessible via other devices and not restricted to Kindles. That's a biggie. Thanks for the reminder. Other subscription plans don't include Audio, so that is a big plus too.

  3. It seems many of the 'For Dummies...' series of books are in KU.

    If this cuts down on my silly Daily/Monthly/Big Deal purchases (when will I find time to read that stuff?) it will more than pay for itself.

    1. Tom, I've never heard of Kindle Daily Deals as "silly" before! But, yes, it's so hard to resist what we know is a good deal, even when there's no time to read it and it wasn't tops on our list to begin with.

      As for the 'Dummies' books, a LOT of mine are how-to books... I'm hooked, also, on Safari Online (O'Reilly) as some libraries (mine included) give us free access, online to all the latest tech books. It's amazing! And these are normally so expensive!

  4. In terms of audiobooks, current Audible subscribers get one credit for signing up with KU and 2 more if they continue with KU for 2 more (paid) months.

    Perhaps ironically, Amazon has made a point of including '1984', a source of controversy a few years ago when Amazon alegedly deleted the book off someone's Kindle because it had been contributed by someone other than the rights-holder and the person claimed that they lost valuable annotations along with that (as I recall).

    I have found a little glitch: if you own a book that is in KU, and KU includes 'narration', you cannot download narration for the book you own, for free or by paying for it. On my Fire, it shows a Download button, and the first time I tapped on it, it actually seemed to start downloading, and displayed a dialog that said 'this is going to take awhile'. But now when I try to 'add professional narration' it says 'thank you for your purchase' and displays a 'read and listen' button instead of 'Download'. but it will only do TTS, and the audiobook is nowhere to be found on my Fire. It looks like I could purchase the audiobook at, but as a KU subscriber, I should be able to read and listen for free. And it won't let me borrow the book from KU. I suppose I could delete it from my library and borrow it, but I should not be forced to forfeit 'ownership'.

    Hey, it kinda looks like KOLL is gone! At least I cannot see the 'Prime' logo for any Kindle book on, even when I'm not logged in. There is still a link to KOLL on my Paperwhite and Fire, but I'm not able to find an link to KOLL. The Fire still shows Prime logo in book descriptions, but the only books I can find that are not in KU are the current Kindle First selections. Oh wait, I just found one that's not in KU: Guns Germs and Steel. And a bible. Maybe I'm not seeing 'Borrow from KOLL' because I've used up my KOLL for the month.And BTW it looks like Harry Potter is no longer in KOLL, only in KU (which does not include foreign language editions of HP as KOLL did).

    But it bugs me that KOLL is hidden from me. Suppose I want to use my monthly KOLL credit to borrow something that's not in KU (and there must be hundreds of these books). How can I find such books? Only with enormous difficulty, apparently.

    1. Tom, pretty attractive promo for existing Audible subscribers ...

      1984 - ironic, yes. Re the details, I wrote a wrap-up on that at
      An interesting situation. His notes were in his MyClippings (I'd asked him to check it), and another blogger got Justin a used e-copy of the book that had been available at with matching locations to match his My Clippings file. That was in the blog entry

      I agree that in no way should you be forced to forfeit ownership, such as it is. But a call to Kindle Support ought to start wheels going, as this is a super important point and a glitch they need to fix now. You're so good at finding them.

      KOLL: I still see it at my special link: They may well be de-emphasizing it as far as marketing goes because the $10/mo. for KU will be of more interest to them.

      Harry Potter: I see one here.

      While you can still get the Prime listing at, it isn't easy to find a particular one...


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