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If you are a voracious reader looking to read a ton of books at a reasonable price, then you’ve surely heard of Kindle Unlimited. It is one of the most popular services that offer access to millions of books!
While Kindle Unlimited may seem like a perfect fit for your needs, there are benefits and drawbacks of this service that you won’t find out until you use the service!
In this article, I will share with you some of the advantages and disadvantages of using Kindle Unlimited based on my experience.
So, let’s get started!
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What is Kindle Unlimited?
People often get confused between Kindle Edition and Kindle Unlimited. But, there is a difference. When buying a book, you may often see the “Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited” option on the purchase page.
So, what exactly is Kindle Unlimited? Let us first understand that further.
Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service offered by Amazon. It allows users to access over 2 million book titles, audiobooks, and magazines for a subscription fee of $9.99 per month.
Kindle Unlimited promises to be an interesting solution to escalating cost of books on Amazon. In fact, since a “Best Selling” Kindle book costs $11.80 on average, the “$9.99” monthly fee for Kindle Unlimited to read as many books as you want seems like a great deal!
However, in reality, that is not the case.
In the following sections of the article, I’ll help you understand the reason behind this while sharing some pros and cons of the Kindle Unlimited service.
Benefits of Kindle Unlimited
Let us start with some of the benefits of using Kindle Unlimited. In this section, you will get a good sense of what you get with the service –
1. Access to Over 2 Million Book Titles
Although I haven’t been able to verify the “2 million” number as advertised by Amazon, however, one thing that cannot be denied is that you indeed get access to hundreds and thousands of books with Kindle Unlimited.
You can truly read as many books as you want, and this definitely convinces you of the “Unlimited Reading” option provided by Amazon for a nominal subscription fee.
If you are looking for an option to read more and more books while keeping the costs low, access to the number of books Kindle Unlimited provides is definitely a great advantage!
2. Access to Audiobooks
Another benefit of using Kindle Unlimited is that you also get access to thousands of book titles with audio narration capability.
Not all Kindle Unlimited books will have the option of audiobooks. However, you will find quite a good number of Kindle Unlimited books that allow you to switch between reading and listening to audiobooks easily.
In many cases, you can also listen to the audiobook sample beforehand. I found that the quality of narration is generally quite good and having the option of listening to books in addition to reading is a great advantage, especially when I’m working out, driving, or doing any other activity!
3. No Additional Cost of Books
Another major advantage of this service is that you don’t have to pay for Kindle Unlimited books! Once you pay the monthly subscription fee, all books that you read with Kindle Unlimited are completely free!
This means you don’t have to pay for any of the Kindle Unlimited books you want to read.
However, there is a catch. Not all books on Amazon are available in the Kindle Unlimited subscription. More on that later in the article!
That said, all books that carry the “Kindle Unlimited” option on the book purchase page can be accessed at no additional cost, and they are indeed free to read (as advertised).
4. Discover Upcoming Talented Authors
Part of the reason why Amazon launched the Kindle Unlimited service was to promote talented indie authors that have the skills to be a good writer but lack the know-how to publish books.
Amazon leverages the Kindle Unlimited service to promote authors from the Kindle Digital Publishing (KDP) platform.
This means you get an opportunity to read books and discover talented authors before they become well-known! I came across several books written by upcoming authors that were really well-written, and excellent books!
5. Read Classics and Some of the Best Selling Books for FREE
In addition to books from budding authors, you can also read a few well-known classics and some of the most popular book series, such as the Harry Potter series and the Lord of the Rings, among others.
You can also access books from some of the most well-known authors, such as Agatha Christie, Jane Austin, and Charles Dickens, to name a few.
And, since you don’t have to pay for a book with Kindle Unlimited, you can access all these best sellers and classics for free! (other than the subscription fee, of course)
Drawbacks of Kindle Unlimited
Now that we have looked at some of the advantages, let’s look at some of the drawbacks of the Kindle Unlimited service.
1. Not All Books From Amazon Are Included
One of the biggest drawbacks of Kindle Unlimited is that it doesn’t include all books from Amazon!
Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Kindle Unlimited sounds like you get to read unlimited books from Amazon”. While that is partly true, nowhere does Amazon say that all the books on Amazon are NOT included in the Kindle Unlimited library!
The worst part is that you don’t find out until you have signed up for the service (or unless you read this article first!).
While I believe this is one of the major drawbacks of Kindle Unlimited, overall, it isn’t that bad a thing! Just that, you should be aware of what you get and what you don’t get. Personally, I felt a bit hurt and thought the advertising was misleading!
That said, the lack of major Amazon books on Kindle Unlimited got me to try out books from upcoming authors and appreciate some of the other books that I perhaps wouldn’t have done otherwise.
2. Majority of Books Are From Indie Authors
While Amazon advertises that you get access to classics and popular book series, the truth is that majority of the books on Kindle Unlimited are published by no-name authors or Indie authors.
Including books in Kindle Unlimited requires Amazon to take up a special type of book license from authors. Additionally, the royalty fee for the authors is far lower when books are published on Kindle Unlimited than directly on Amazon.
On the other hand, rising talent sees the opportunity to get their book published as a great incentive. They are more concerned about making a name than earning a huge royalty from the books on Kindle Unlimited.
As a result, many of the mainstream authors refrain from making the book available for Kindle Unlimited, whereas most indie authors gladly accept this opportunity! Hence, you will see that most books on Kindle Unlimited are written by indie authors, and not all books from Amazon are available on Kindle Unlimited.
Another thing to note is that books published by indie authors are typically available for a much cheaper price without Kindle Unlimited. So, in reality, you will need to read more books to recover the cost of the Kindle Unlimited subscription.
Having said that, even though a tiny percentage of Kindle books are available with Kindle Unlimited, you still get many good mainstream reading options.
3. Can Access Only 20 Books at a Time
Another drawback of using Kindle Unlimited is the number of books you can access simultaneously.
Although you do get “unlimited reading” (as advertised by Amazon), the term is a bit misleading! It makes you believe that you can access all the books and read as many books as you want whenever you want!
The reality is that Kindle Unlimited actually works like a library. Meaning you can’t access all the books at the same time. You can only read 20 books at once. Once you’re done reading a book, you can return that book and start reading a new one.
So, while you can technically still get unlimited reading, you are limited by the number of book options at a time.
That said, most people don’t read more than one or two books at the same time. So, the option to access 20 books does seem generous, and you don’t really feel like you can’t read a book due to this limitation.
4. You Don’t Own the Books Forever
Terms like “access to 2 million titles” and “unlimited reading” give the notion that you can keep the books with you as long as you want.
While that might be technically true, the reality is you don’t own the books forever. Once you stop paying for the Kindle Unlimited subscription, the books from this service will disappear from your reading library at the end of the subscription cycle!
So, you can keep the books for as long as you want. However, you will need to keep paying the subscription fee every month.
5. Newly Released Books Are Often Not Available
Another drawback with Kindle Unlimited is that many of the newly released books are often not available with the Kindle Unlimited service.
Often, a lot of marketing effort is put in to create hype and a sense of desire to purchase the book before the book is released. Naturally, authors want to make the most money when releasing a book.
However, since the pricing model of Kindle Unlimited doesn’t favor the authors (as we learned previously), most new releases are not immediately available with Kindle Unlimited.
You can still purchase the book as you normally would on Amazon; however, this kinda defeats the purpose of Kindle Unlimited!
How to Get Kindle Unlimited for Free?
The truth is Kindle Unlimited is not designed for all readers. But it is still a great option for many people! Even though it has its limitations, Kindle Unlimited does offer some attractive benefits!
The best way to know for sure whether Kindle Unlimited is a good choice for you is to try it out.
I’ve written a detailed article on multiple ways to save money when using Kindle Unlimited. Make sure you check out that article for additional tips!
You can get Kindle Unlimited for FREE for 30 days using this link. By clicking on the link, you can access a free trial of 30 days for Kindle Unlimited, provided by Amazon. You can cancel anytime before the 30-day period if you don’t want to continue to pay for the subscription.
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.