Amazon has come out with a new service called Kindle Unlimited. For a fee, subscribers can download Kindle books and keep them for as long as they like. If you are an avid reader, this service may be just what you are looking for. I took the free subscription offer for a test drive. There are some pitfalls to be aware of, but overall the service delivers what it promises.
You do not need a Kindle device to access the books in the Kindle Unlimited subscription. Any Kindle reader app will do. For a monthly fee of $9.99, you can download up to 10 books at a time. Keep them for as long as you like. If you reach the 10 book maximum, you will have to return a book before you can download more. A free trial is available. You get a month to see if this service is right for you. If you do not cancel, the service will automatically debit the card you have on file for the monthly fee.
There are plenty of free books on Amazon. Some are really good. With some, you know why they are free. Books that are out of copyright are free. Many books can be borrowed through the Kindle Lending Library for free. The lending library is part of the Amazon Prime subscription. If you use the lending library, and frequent free books, then you will be disappointed with the Kindle Unlimted subscription.
Comparing the Kindle Lending Library to Kindle Unlimited reveals several differences. The Kindle Unlimted subscription is actually more expensive than Amazon Prime, which is how you access the lending library. With the lending library, you can borrow one book at a time, with a monthly limit of one book. Not every book is available through the library.
Kindle Unlimited gives you access to many other books—but not all of them. Some publishers do not allow their books on Kindle Unlimited. With the Unlimted subscription, you are now paying for access to books that were free to borrow and keep. Amazon made a huge mistake on this one. Also, if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription and Amazon Prime, you lose the Lending Library feature. That is now rolled up into the Kindle Unlimited.
If you have a Kindle Paperwhite or other Kindle eReader, then the Unlimited subscription might be useful to you, especially if you read a lot or if you share your eReader with others. However, if you own one of the Kindle Fire devices, tablets, or phones and have an Amazon Prime subscription, Unlimited seems like you are paying double for things you already have.
I would like to see Amazon roll the Kindle Unlimited subscription into Prime. The $99 yearly fee should include this feature. Paying for Kindle Unlimited as a separate subscription makes sense only if you read at least 10 books a month or you spend more than $10 a month buying books. If that is the case, then go with Unlimited. It will save you money in the long run.
I will probably keep my Kindle Unlimited subscription for many reasons. The biggest reason is that I can download and read books to see if I want the print version. I am currently building a suburban homestead and many times I really need the actual book. Another reason for me to keep the subscription is enjoyment. I enjoy having access to more books than the Lending Library offers. My local library lacks a good selection of ebooks.