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Amazon enters the book subscription service

Given that there are already monthly subscription services for reading ebooks (similar to Netflix, etc. for movies and TV shows), it is not surprising that Amazon has just announced Kindle Unlimited with unlimited access to a library of over 600,000 titles for readers in the U.S. (Audio books are also available in this subscription service.)

I first learned of this from an email to authors explaining that all books enrolled in KDP Select with U.S. rights are automatically included in Kindle Unlimited. Then I went to the home page of to watch the very brief video about this new service being offered for $9.99 a month with a free 30-day trial.

Watching the video and checking out the Kindle Unlimited page on Amazon, I was confused. Many very popular books are being offered, and these books cannot be on KDP Select. This is because an author who has a book on KDP Select for a 90-day period is committed to that ebook only being sold on Amazon for that period.

In other words, although all KDP Select books are automatically enrolled, more than just KDP Select books appear to be available on this subscription service. Thus I’m assuming Amazon made deals with major book publishers to include their books.

For KDP Select authors there is an interesting caveat to being included and earning money each time someone downloads their books: There is no fund payment unless the person reads more than 10% of the book. (If a reader gets 10% into a book a second time, there is no additional payment.)

This is different from a payout that KDP Select authors get when their books are downloaded as part of the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (KOLL) with over 500,000 titles — available in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France and Japan for Amazon Prime customers.

In the case of a book being borrowed, the author gets paid simply for the download regardless of whether the book is read. (Note that Amazon Prime members only get one free ebook download a month. For big ebook readers, an unlimited monthly subscription may be a much better deal.)

Another difference is that books borrowed from KOLL can only be read on Kindle devices, while books read via Kindle Unlimited can supposedly be read on any device.

(c) 2014 Miller Mosaic LLC

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a digital marketer and book author. Learn more on her LinkedIn profile at

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