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There are often conflicting opinions when it comes to Kindle Unlimited subscription service. Some users swear by it so much that they often look for ways to get a yearly subscription to save money, while others say it is perhaps not even worth the money!
After using Kindle Unlimited for several months, here’s my take on whether Kindle Unlimited is worth it.
Kindle Unlimited is worth it if you are a voracious reader and want to save money or if you enjoy the story more than the author’s name behind the book. That said, refrain from subscribing to Kindle Unlimited if you prefer to read books from well-known authors or access the latest release.
It really comes down to the type of reader you are and the reading pattern you follow. Cost is just one of the factors (which actually works in the reader’s favor, as we shall see later in the article).
In this article, I will share my experience of using Kindle Unlimited and help you arrive at a decision on whether it is worth it for you or not. Plus, I’ll also share quite a lot of tiny bits of helpful information that you should be aware of when considering Kindle Unlimited (stuff that I wish I knew at the time of taking the subscription!).
That, and much more! So, let’s get started!
Quick Tip! Check out this special deal on Amazon that offers 3-months of Kindle Unlimited for FREE with this Kindle model! You can also try Kindle Unlimited for 30 days for FREE (no strings attached!)
What is Kindle Unlimited and How Does It Work?
Let’s start with the basics to ensure we are all on the same page here!
Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service by Amazon that allows users to access over 2 million titles, including books, comics, magazines, and audiobooks! You pay a monthly subscription fee, and the membership allows you to access Kindle Unlimited eligible books at no additional cost.
I say “eligible” books because not all books available on Amazon are eligible for the Kindle Unlimited membership. I covered this topic in great detail in my other article. In it, I also talk about how to know if a book is included in the Kindle Unlimited membership. Be sure to check it out.
You can truly read as many books as you like (hence, the term “Unlimited”). However, you can only access 20 book titles at any given point in time (which feels more than sufficient). To read more, you will need to return the ones that you downloaded previously (similar to borrowing a book from a library).
Furthermore, Amazon makes it quite easy to cancel your Kindle Unlimited subscription at any point if you don’t like the service or if you think it is not worth it for you.
One thing to note is that people often confuse Kindle Unlimited with Prime Reading; which also provides a few free books to read if you are an Amazon Prime member. However, there is a significant difference between Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading. I’ve covered all the major differences in my other article.
Make sure to click here to check out that article.
How Much Does Kindle Unlimited Cost?
The Kindle Unlimited membership from Amazon costs $9.99 per month. The subscription is charged every month. Currently, Amazon only offers a monthly subscription for its users.
However, there are ways to get Kindle Unlimited for FREE, at least for a limited period of time.
Furthermore, you can also save up to 40% on the subscription cost using this method to get a longer-duration subscription for Kindle Unlimited!
Is Kindle Unlimited Free for Prime Users?
Kindle Unlimited is not free for Amazon Prime members. Kindle Unlimited is independent of Amazon Prime and is a separate service. You still have to pay the subscription fee for Kindle Unlimited in order to access the membership, even if you are an Amazon Prime member.
As I mentioned previously, since Amazon Prime also offers a service that allows people to read books for free (knowns as Prime Reading), people get easily confused between the two services. They tend to believe that they can access Kindle Unlimited by being an Amazon Prime member.
Is Kindle Unlimited Worth It?
Kindle Unlimited is worth it if you can read just two books a month, as the average cost of an ebook eligible for Kindle Unlimited is $5.66. Additionally, the Kindle Unlimited subscription costs a fraction of the average cost of a single paperback or a hardcover book from Amazon!
After using the service for a few months and going back and forth in my preference for Kindle Unlimited, I decided to look at the offerings of Kindle Unlimited objectively using data and analysis.
So, I ran an experiment. I did a quick assessment to understand how much I would have spent on books that are available through Kindle Unlimited if I did not use the membership.
I analyzed 100 Kindle Unlimited eligible books randomly selected (as shown by Amazon). It was a healthy mix of books that are doing well and the ones that are doing okay. About 35% of the selected books were labeled as best-sellers or editor’s picks (meaning they were the top-performing books on Kindle Unlimited).
Here’s a quick snapshot of the excel that contains the information that I collected –
Here’s what I learned by doing this assessment –
- The average cost of a Kindle edition of the Kindle Unlimited book is $5.66
- The average cost of a paperback version of these Kindle Unlimited books is $14.66
This basically means you can easily recover the cost of your Kindle Unlimited subscription even if you were to read just two books in a month! Furthermore, the subscription costs a fraction of a paperback version of the book on average!
Thus, even if you are not a bookworm and read just two books a month, you can get more than the cost of the subscription fee! To me, that makes Kindle Unlimited totally worth the price!
Another interesting learning that I had was that the average cost of the best sellers available in Kindle Unlimited is $6.44. This means if you were to read the best sellers available on Kindle Unlimited without the membership, you would have to spend $6.44 to purchase the book independently.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you will recover more money by reading just best sellers. Still, the way I see it, best sellers command a higher price on the Amazon platform than the other books on average (which is kinda a no-brainer, but good to have validation through data!)
One last thing I would mention though is that even though you do recover the monetary value quite easily with Kindle Unlimited, one could argue that the selection of the books available in Kindle Limited doesn’t match the quality of, say, Prime Reading or even the Amazon website itself!
You do have to put in the effort to find good books, whereas most of the books you find in Prime Reading are quite good in and of themselves! But this shouldn’t diminish the value that you get from Kindle Unlimited, in my opinion.
Who is Kindle Unlimited For?
At the end of the day, Kindle Unlimited is not for everyone. However, a good way to know whether you should sign up for Kindle Unlimited is by considering the following points –
Kindle Unlimited subscription is for you if you –
- Read a lot of books and would like to lower the cost of reading books
- Want to read good stories irrespective of the brand name of the author
- Read more than an hour a day
- Would like to listen to books in addition to reading
- Like to explore books by indie authors
Advantages and Drawbacks of Kindle Unlimited
Now that we have understood more about Kindle Unlimited and its cost, let us now understand some of the pros and cons of using Kindle Unlimited.
Note – I’ve written a detailed article on the benefits and drawbacks of Kindle Unlimited. Please make sure to check out that article if you wish to understand all the details. I shall list just the key benefits and drawbacks in this article below.
Advantages of Kindle Unlimited
Kindle Unlimited does have some great advantages for avid book readers. Here are some of the key advantages of Kindle Unlimited –
- Access to Over 2 Million Book Titles – the collection of books offered is really vast, and there really is something for everyone on Kindle Unlimited. You will never run out of options to read with such a huge library of titles!
- Switch Between Reading and Listening to Books – Kindle Unlimited also offers audio versions of a selection of books. This means, you can easily switch between reading and listening to books. This is really helpful if you are doing an activity where reading is not possible or if you want to read books but reading is not your strong suit.
- No Additional Cost of Books – You can read as many books as you like. Unlike the traditional method, you don’t have to pay for books every time you finish reading one! On the flip side, you are forced to read books since you are paying a monthly fee. So you don’t end up buying books and not reading them!
- Monthly Subscription Compels You to Read – This can be both an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your situation. If you want to make reading a habit, then the monthly subscription really helps as you want to make the most of it. However, if you like to take your own time to read a book, this aspect of Kindle Unlimited can be a limitation!
Drawbacks of Kindle Unlimited
Although Kindle Unlimited is great for avid book readers, there are also a few drawbacks that you should be aware of before subscribing to the service –
- Lack of Mainstream Books – One of the biggest drawbacks of Kindle Unlimited is that most of the well-known books/authors are not available through this membership (more on that in the next section). The majority of the books are written by Indie authors. This is one of the major reasons that leads people to believe that Kindle Unlimited may not be worth the money!
- Can Access Only 20 Books at a Time – Another drawback of Kindle Unlimited is that you can only access 20 books at a time. While this might be sufficient for most people, however, voracious readers (for whom Kindle Unlimited is best suited) would perhaps find this to be a limitation.
- You Don’t Own the Books – One of the other disadvantage of Kindle Unlimited is that you don’t own the books. You need to return the books in order to access more books for reading. So, if you are a person who likes to keep the books and access them multiple times after a while, this might not work for you.
Types of Books You Get in Kindle Unlimited
As I previously mentioned, many of the mainstream books and authors are not available on Kindle Unlimited. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why people claim that Kindle Unlimited is perhaps not really worth it!
It is true that most of the books are written by no-name authors as Kindle Unlimited is used as this great platform that allows solo-authors to publish their books through Amazon’s KDP program.
That said, many of the books are really well-written. The books are often written by aspiring authors who have excellent writing skills but haven’t made a name for themselves (yet!). You just need to know how to find the best books to read on Kindle Unlimited!
Other than that, there are several classics that you can read on Kindle Unlimited. There are books from renowned authors such as Jane Austin, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, Homer, Joseph Conrad, Oscar Wilde, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, HG Wells, and several others.
You can easily find classics like A Tale of Two Cities, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Great Gatsby, The Time Machine, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Gulliver’s Travels, Les Miserables, David Copperfield, The Odyssey, Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice, along with The Lord of the Rings series, The Harry Potter series, and many more!
The only problem is, if you are an avid reader, you probably have already read most of these books.
When I first started using the Kindle Unlimited membership, I felt a bit disappointed as I struggled to know which book to read simply because I coudn’t recognize most of the authors. However, once you figure out ways to find good books, you can unearth some real hidden gems!
How to Sign Up for Kindle Unlimited?
As with most things Amazon, signing up for Kindle Unlimited is quite straightforward.
To sign up for Kindle Unlimited, login to your Amazon account. Visit the Kindle Unlimited sign-up page, agree to activate Kindle Unlimited, select your payment method, and complete the subscription process.
I’ve actually covered the full process in my other article titled “How to Sign Up for Kindle Unlimited”. In It, I walk you through the complete process in a step-by-step manner. If you want more details or if you need help with the sign up process, make sure to check out that article.
Kindle Unlimited FAQs
Here are a few additional questions that you may have about Kindle Unlimited –
Do You Need a Kindle eReader for Kindle Unlimited?
You don’t need to purchase a Kindle eReader to access and read Kindle Unlimited books [Check out my full guide on how to read Kindle books without a Kindle!]. You can easily access the Kindle Unlimited books on your phone through the Kindle app, or on your computer using the desktop version of Kindle application.
Can You Really Access All the 2 Million+ Titles Through Kindle Unlimited?
You can access and read as many Kindle Unlimited titles as you like. However, you will only be able to access 20 books at a time. In order to read more books, you will first need to return the Kindle Unlimited books.
Check out my other article on “how to return Kindle Unlimited books” to know more.
Can You Cancel Kindle Unlimited Anytime?
You can cancel Kindle Unlimited anytime you like. The subscription will remain active until the end of the paid period. After that, you won’t be charged the fee for the next month.
What Happens to the Books Once You Cancel Kindle Unlimited?
You will not be able to access the Kindle Unlimited books in your library once you cancel Kindle Unlimited subscription. Although the books will still be visible but you will not be able to open them. Once you activate the subscription the next time, you will be able to read the books once again.
You can also delete the books from your library once you end the subscription. Your notes and highlights will be saved even if you delete them. This means, if you ever activate the subscription again and download the same books, you will still be able to see the notes and highlights.
About the Author
Akansha is a former business journalist and a seasoned communications professional. She is the founder of TheBookBuff, an avid storyteller, and a lifelong biblophile! Check out her profile page to know more about Akansha.