Amazon introduced Kindle Unlimited, which is a subscription based e-book service, on July 2014. At release, Kindle Unlimited offered unlimited access to over 600,000 titles and over 7,000 audiobooks for a monthly fee. It now offers over 1 million titles and over 60,000 audiobooks. Needless to say its library grew tremendously over the course of a year.
Not only is its digital library increasing, its service throughout the world is also expanding. Originally Kindle Unlimited was only available in the United States, it is now accessible in nine different countries.
For avid readers, the appeal to Kindle Unlimited is apparent. But in this post, I’ll go into detail about the different problems you might encounter with Kindle Unlimited. As well as the certain limitations that come with Kindle’s “Unlimited” program.
1. Unlimited Reading and Listening
Signing up for Kindle Unlimited will give you access to over 1 million titles. You can read as many books as you want, there is no limit.
Kindle Unlimited is the Netflix of digital books. You pay a flat rate of $9.99 per month and you get access to the Kindle Store’s extensive library of books.
Whether or not the books are worthy of a monthly subscription is up for debate. It’s true that Amazon offers over 1 million book titles, ranging from any genre imaginable. But a large number of books will not be read by many.
However, I suspect that such a large collection of books will have something for everyone.
Perhaps you are more interested in audiobooks than e-books. You’re in luck because Amazon has the largest library of audiobooks out of any subscription service.
Kindle Unlimited offers over 60,000 audiobooks — more than double its competition.
Some books have Whispersync, which means you can switch seamlessly between reading and listening. The Kindle app will do real-time highlighting so you can read and listen at the same time.
Whispersync is available for many books, but some may cost an additional $3.99 to $12.99 for a professional narration.
2. How to find Kindle Unlimited Books
Looking for Kindle Unlimited books may be difficult. Amazon’s website is filled with millions of products and it’s not like Kindle has its own dedicated website.
Unlike many of Kindle’s competitors, the Kindle Store is integrated within Amazon’s main website.
To effectively search for Kindle Unlimited books, you need to sort through all the mess. Here are a few ways to find books eligible for Kindle Unlimited.
Browse Kindle Unlimited Front Page
Browsing the front page is the best way to look for books when you don’t know what book you want. The front page is also where you can browse the entire Kindle Unlimited catalog.
Kindle Unlimited currently features the following categories:
- Popular Titles
- Popular Romance
- Featured Literary Fiction
- Popular Books with Narration
- Popular Biographies and Memoirs
If you are interested in a specific genre, then you can sort through the categories in the left sidebar. Or perhaps you are looking for new releases, which is also organized through the sidebar.
You can refine your search even further by filtering books by average customer rating or Whispersync support.
Search entire Kindle Unlimited Catalog
Using the search dialog is great when you have a specific book in mind. You have to choose a specific department and in our case, you need to select “Kindle Unlimited” and proceed with your search.
You can either type the name of the book directly or input a specific category. Either one of these options will help you narrow down your search.
After completing your search, you can narrow down your search by using the left sidebar, like we’ve done before.
Identify a book Eligible for Kindle Unlimited
Every book on the Kindle Store that is eligible for Kindle Unlimited has special indicators. Here are the different ways you can spot the difference.
- Above each digital book on the Kindle Store
Above each Kindle book there may be an indicator stating that it is a Kindle Unlimited book. It will usually be text above the ebook.
2. A Change in Price
When searching for books eligible for Kindle Unlimited, you may find a listing of $0.00 and directly below that will be the actual price without Kindle Unlimited. And also text that says “Subscribers read for free”.
3. A Lack of Bestsellers
Kindle Unlimited is geared towards avid readers, who enjoy reading regularly. It’s customer base is populated by people who want an abundant selection of books that are both diverse and growing.
While Kindle Unlimited does offer a collection of over a million books, its single biggest problem is the lack of bestsellers. Basically it comes down to quantity versus quality.
After all, the amount of books is meaningless if you can’t find something to read. You can have over a million books in each category or genre, but ultimately all that matters is if you can find enough books that suit your taste.
The lack of bestsellers is partly due to big publishers unwilling to sign up for Kindle Unlimited. Publishers like HarperCollins, Hachette, MacMillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster are not included.
And after a quick observation, you’ll find that out of the hundreds of bestsellers, only a handful of books are Kindle Unlimited eligible. So if you plan on getting Kindle Unlimited for reading bestsellers, it may not be for you.
But don’t be discouraged. Although bestsellers are a rare commodity, Kindle Unlimited does occasionally have bestsellers and do provide some excellent books.
4. Majority of Books are Under $4.99
Many people sign up for subscription services to save money. The idea of a book subscription service is attractive to many consumers. You make a recurring payment every month and in exchange you can read as much as you want.
But are you really saving money? A subscription service to Kindle Unlimited costs $9.99 per month and in a year it will cost approximately $120. Do you even read $120 worth of books in a single year?
The problem is many books offered on Kindle Unlimited is under $4.99. Which means in order to save money, you’ll need to read a significant amount of books every month.
Just how many books? You’ll need to read at least:
- one book at $9.99 per month,
- two books at $4.99 per month,
- five books at $1.99 per month,
- ten or more books at $0.99 per month.
In case you were wondering, the average number of books people tend to read per year is around six. However, I presume if you are interested in a subscription service, you’re more likely to read more than the average person.
In order for Kindle Unlimited to be worthwhile, be prepared to read at the very least more than double the average reader.
5. Only Available in Select Countries
When Kindle initially launched last year, it was only available in the U.S. The Kindle Store has since expanded to a number of large countries. The list of countries can be found below.
If your country is not listed below, then you cannot become a subscriber of Kindle Unlimited.
International Kindle Stores:
|Kindle Store||Country||Monthly Fee|
|Amazon.com||United States||USD 9.99|
|Amazon.co.uk||United Kingdom||GBP 7.99|
The pricing for Kindle Unlimited is mostly similar, but may differ by country. The main difference is due to the foreign exchange rate or currency adjustments. Depending on the country you live in, you may be expected to pay a higher or lower monthly rate.
In addition to the minor discrepancies in monthly fees, some countries will come with their own restrictions as well. International customers will not be able to access every book available on the U.S. Kindle Store.
But you shouldn’t worry too much about it, since only a small number of books are restricted.
Kindle Store Geo-location Lock
You may be tempted to purchase Kindle Unlimited from the U.S. Amazon store, so you can access more books or get a slightly lower price. Or perhaps you live in a country not listed above.
Amazon has several ways to ensure you live in the selected countries.
- Your IP Address. When you sign up for Kindle Unlimited you must use a valid IP address. If not, you will not be allowed to sign up for Kindle Unlimited.
- Credit Card. You have to have a valid credit card registered to your account. The credit card must be registered in the country you reside in.
- Mailing Address. You need to have a physical mailing address in order to prove where you live.
6. Kindle Unlimited works on Kindle devices and apps
You can read Kindle Unlimited on any Amazon device and on devices that support the Kindle reading app. The Kindle reading app is free and cross-platform.
What devices can use Kindle Unlimited?
- Windows Phones/Tablets
- Cloud Reader for Desktops/Laptops
As you can see, you don’t need to own a Kindle to become a subscriber of Kindle Unlimited. If you have more than one device, you can easily switch between devices and continue reading without interference.
7. Up to 10 Kindle Unlimited Books
Even if the name suggests it is unlimited, it does come with some limitations. For instance, you can only hold up to 10 books at a time.
So if you plan on reading more than ten books simultaneously, then Kindle Unlimited may not be for you. But for many, ten is more than enough.
However, it does present a problem. Many people like keeping a collection of books in their Kindle. Think of a bookshelf, with books from the past, present, and future.
There are books that you are currently reading, books you’ve read before, and books you plan on reading.
With a limit set at 10, every single time you want to add a new book, you need to remove another.
Once you hit the limit, Amazon will ask you to return one book so you can continue with your download. Returning books isn’t difficult, it only takes a single click.
Just remember, returning the book will remove it from all your devices, so make sure you select the correct book.
8. Sign Up for the Kindle Unlimited Free Trial
Are you ready to give Kindle Unlimited a try? You can try Kindle Unlimited any time absolutely free of charge.
To try Kindle Unlimited, you need to sign up for a 30-day free trial. To be eligible for the trial, you need an Amazon account with a valid credit card and you must be a U.S. citizen.
To sign up for a free trial:
- Go to the Kindle Unlimited page.
- Select Start your 30-day free trial.
- Sign in with your Amazon account
- Place your order
Don’t worry. Your credit card will not be charged during the duration of the trial. However, it will automatically be charged at the end of the trial period. To avoid being charged, you need to manually cancel your subscription.
Here’s how to cancel your Kindle Unlimited Membership:
- Go to Manage your Kindle Unlimited Membership
- Under Manage Membership select Cancel Kindle Unlimited Membership
- Select End Membership on [DATE]
If you don’t cancel your membership, you will automatically subscribe to Kindle Unlimited and will be charged $9.99 monthly.
9. Cancel Anytime
Similar to many popular subscription services, you can cancel at anytime.
Cancellation does not mean you will lose all your books immediately. If you are canceling a paid membership, then the books will disappear at the end of the billing period.
For people who are on a trial period, you can cancel anytime as well. All your books will be saved until after the 30-day trial period.
Since you need to provide a valid credit card to sign up for Kindle Unlimited, you must remember to cancel your subscription at the end of your trial. If you don’t, your credit card will automatically be charged.
So if you have no intentions of keeping your trial period, you should cancel your subscription from Day 1.
Refer to the instructions above to cancel your Kindle Unlimited subscription.
10. Books will disappear when you cancel Kindle Unlimited
As soon as you cancel your Kindle unlimited subscription, all your books will disappear. Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service, so none of the books you downloaded belongs to you.
If you are in the middle of reading a book, then finish it before ending your subscription. Because if you don’t, you will have to either buy the book or renew your subscription.
Some people have attempted to cheat Amazon by purchasing a Kindle Unlimited subscription temporarily, then downloading all the books they want and canceling their subscription.
This will not work because all the books will disappear the moment you cancel your subscription.
Some have went as far as deactivating their Kindle in order to keep the books. But since you cannot have more than 10 books at a time, it’s not worth all the trouble.
11. Bookmarks, Highlights, and Notes are saved
After canceling your Kindle Unlimited subscription your books will disappear, but your bookmarks, highlights, and notes won’t.
When you add bookmarks, notes, or highlighted text passages — it will all be synced to your Amazon account.
It means as long as you are connected with your Amazon account, you can access bookmarks, notes, and highlights from any Kindle devices and apps.
You do not need to renew your subscription to gain access to your bookmarks. If you plan on purchasing books independently from Kindle Unlimited, you may do so and retain all your personal bookmarks and notes.
You can manage all of your bookmarks, notes and highlights, as well as books you have read at kindle.amazon.com.
12. Kindle Unlimited vs Scribd
When Kindle Unlimited originally launched it had over 600,000 books and now Kindle Unlimited’s catalog has over 1 million books. While Kindle Unlimited has seen a relatively quick expansion, its competitors have expanded just as fast, if not faster.
[cjtoolbox name=’Minimal’ ] [/cjtoolbox]
|No. of Books||No. of Audiobooks||Monthly Fee|
|Kindle Unlimited||1 million+||60,000+||$9.99|
Kindle Unlimited vs Scribd
Scribd is one of the early adopters of a subscription based book service. It began with a smaller library compared to Kindle Unlimited, but since then it has grown to have a comparable number of books.
A subscription to Scribd will grant you access to over one million books, audiobooks, and comics. Although Kindle Unlimited and Scribd both have one million titles, the content within each service may differ.
For example, the majority of books offered on Kindle Unlimited is self-published, while Scribd offers books from publishers HarperCollins, Macmillan, or Simon & Schuster. But don’t expect to find a lot of bestsellers and new releases, either.
Scribd is slightly more affordable than Kindle Unlimited. The monthly fee for Scribd is $8.99 vs $9.99 of Kindle Unlimited. If you are considering an alternative subscription service, then Scribd is definitely an attractive option. Since it boasts a similar amount of books and offers a lower monthly subscription fee.
Before committing to a single service, I’d recommend trying out their free trials. Kindle Unlimited has a 30-day free trial, while Scribd offers a 14-day free trial. Previously, Scribd offered 30-day trials, but has since changed to a 14-day trial period.
The difference between 14 and 30 days isn’t significant for trial periods. You are meant to search for books you’re likely to read, not finish books during the trial period.
Scribd is supported on virtually any device. You can read Scribd from your mobile devices and ebook readers. You can even read directly from your web browser.
Unlike Kindle Unlimited, which is limited to certain countries, Scribd is available globally. You are able to access Scribd from anywhere in the world, as long as your local service providers do not block it.