Kindle Unlimited Review: Is It Worth It?

Kindle Unlimited Review: Is It Worth It?

You’ve heard about Kindle Unlimited, and you see references to it whenever you’re book-shopping on Amazon.

But what does it actually do? And does it make sense for you to join?

Or is Amazon Prime — and Prime Books — a better fit for you? What does Kindle Unlimited give you that Prime doesn’t (and vice-versa)?

Welcome to our Kindle Unlimited Review. Our goal here is to make it easy for you to decide whether this service is worth your time and money.

Let’s start with what this service is, what it costs, and what you get as a subscriber.

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What is Kindle Unlimited? All You Need to Know

For $9.99 a month, Kindle Unlimited gives you access to over a million e-books in the Amazon bookstore.

While you can borrow up to ten books at a time, there are no limits to the number of pages you can read each month. 

Along with those eBooks, you get access to the following:

Thousands of audiobooks 
Hundreds of thousands of books in various foreign languages
500+ free public domain ebooks and audiobooks
Popular magazines (in digital form) — rotated monthly
Comic books
500 public domain titles (in Kindle format)
A monthly selection of recommended reads

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If you’re still on the fence, Kindle Unlimited often has special sign-up deals to attract new subscribers. 

And if you decide before the end of your trial period that it’s just not what you need right now, you can easily unsubscribe without owing Amazon anything else. 

If you do sign up, you can access your Kindle Unlimited library on your Amazon Kindle ereader or Kindle Fire device or by using the Kindle app on your smartphone. You can also download one for your laptop

Kindle Unlimited vs Amazon Prime

Kindle Unlimited is for avid readers who want access to a huge selection of books. It has been around since July of 2014, and since then, the selection has only improved.

And if you’re gearing up for the best year of reading ever, a Kindle Unlimited membership can definitely help you save money while you do that.

If you are just an occasional reader, Amazon Prime Books is a good choice. Amazon Prime Books is a part of Amazon Prime.

Prime is a multi-benefit subscription (not just for books) that costs $12.99 per month.

You get unlimited access to a rotating selection of 1,000 hot Kindle ebooks, popular magazines, children’s books, comics, and short reads.

Read on for more detailed information on both.

How to Use Kindle Unlimited (KU)

If you already have an Amazon account and use it to buy books, you’ll notice they offer recommendations based on your purchases and browsing history.

Those books you can borrow with Kindle Unlimited allow you the chance to “Read for Free.”

Click on that, and you’ll land on a page where you can either sign in or look at what Kindle Unlimited has to offer. 

Guy reading on a kindle

Once you sign up, you can start stocking your KU library with books you want to read. And when you want to return a book or look through your library, just go to your Kindle Unlimited page to manage your listing. 

While most of KU’s books are self-published, you do get a selection of well-known series from big-name publishers.

So, if you’re keen on binge-reading Harry Potter or The Hunger Games (to name a couple), KU makes it easy and more affordable to read them all. 

It’s sort of like Netflix or Spotify Premium for books. Costs about the same and the selection will keep you plenty busy. 

The Perks of Prime

As you may already know, Amazon Prime members have access to Prime Books, which gives them access to over a thousand eBook titles, as well as their audiobooks, a rotating selection of magazines, and free books (for keeps) every month.

Prime membership costs more than Kindle Unlimited, but it also provides a variety of other services — aside from Prime Books:

Prime Music (with discounted membership for Prime Music Unlimited)
Prime Video
Prime Shipping (free one-day or two-day shipping for qualifying purchases)
Prime Wardrobe (order clothing to try on and only pay for what you keep)
Prime Grocery (fast, free grocery delivery to eligible regions)
Prime Twitch (video games)
Free unlimited photo storage

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To check out the monthly title selection, visit their “New in Prime Reading” page. 

You’ll see right away that most of the titles listed on the first page are also available through Kindle Unlimited.

So, if you’re already a KU member, you’ll see at a glance which ones are already available to you.

And if you happen to be a member of both Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading, by default, Amazon will ask you to read it for free through Kindle Unlimited rather than through Prime Reading. 

So, which membership makes the most sense for you? It depends on what you want most. 

What do both Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading offer?

The option of switching from eBook to audiobook version and from one device to another (through Whispersync) while keeping track of your progress. 

Access to popular magazines and a monthly selection of recommended reads. 
Whispersync to access your eBook and audiobook content and keep track of your progress on multiple platforms.
Easy accessibility via the Kindle app (for smartphones, tablets, and PCs/Macs)
10 title limit for your queue
No-hassle cancellation policies. You can cancel anytime for any reason. 

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Not surprising that Amazon would offer these benefits with both. They like to make it easier for customers to sign up and stay, but they don’t make it a nightmare to leave, either. 

If you try one and then cancel and try another, they won’t hold it against you.

In fact, they’ll make it easy for you to do whatever suits you best. It’s one of the reasons Amazon is doing so well. 

They know customers are more likely to come back to service when leaving it before wasn’t a headache. 


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Why choose Kindle Unlimited over Prime Reading?

You want over a million titles to choose from — many of which have audiobooks you would also have access to.
You’re a power reader and have no trouble plowing through at least 3-4 books a month. 
You love supporting indie authors (who earn money for Page Reads when their books are available through Kindle Unlimited). 
You have kids and want them to have access to trending authors for young readers.
You don’t have Amazon Prime and have little interest in subscribing to it (for the Music, Video, Shipping, and other perks). 

That said, if you choose Kindle Unlimited, keep the following caveats in mind:

  • Since Kindle Unlimited books tend to cost less than those put out by big-name publishers (many are as low as $0.99 and plenty are under $5), you’ll have to read more books to offset the monthly fee. 
  • Kindle Unlimited Membership doesn’t give you access to any Prime benefits — nor does it give you a discount on Prime membership. 

Why choose Prime Reading over Kindle Unlimited?

Now for the flipside.

You already have Prime Membership, in which case you already have access to Prime Reading at  no extra cost (along with all the other Prime benefits). 
You’d rather have access to a broader mix of books, including those published by big name publishers — rather than mostly self-published titles. 
You probably won’t read at least 3-4 books a month.

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Prime includes books from big-name publishers in their selection (which they update regularly).

So, while their selection of titles is smaller, you’re more likely to find bestselling authors and series with this service than with Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon changes their Prime Reading selection from month to month to give members access to newer titles. 

And if you’re leaning in this direction, now, keep the following caveat in mind:

At $12.99/month, Prime membership costs more than Kindle Unlimited. So if all you really care about is free access to as many books as possible, this won’t be your #1 option
Did I mention that Kindle Unlimited has roughly 1,000 times more titles to choose from than Prime Reading?

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That said, Amazon Prime members have a LOT of content and other perks to enjoy. And any one of them can easily make membership worth the $12.99 a month price tag, 

For example, if you order clothing for work or school through Prime Wardrobe, you’ll save not only money but the time and gas you’d otherwise spend shopping in stores. 

And if you order things on Amazon every month, think of the money you’ll save on free one-day and two-day Prime shipping! You can even schedule your delivery to arrive on a day when you’re more likely to be home. 

You can even use the Amazon Key App to unlock your home if you need to receive deliveries inside your home or garage. 

If you’re ordering supplies to throw someone a baby shower or wedding shower, Prime can help with invitations, a gift registry, and even fresh flowers for decorating.

If you’re shopping for furniture, Prime lets you design a virtual living room to get a better sense of how certain pieces will look in your home. 

If you have an Amazon Assistant device, use it to play your favorite tunes with Prime Music. 

And if you’re always snapping photos and recording videos with your smartphone, back everything up with Amazon Photos, which gives you unlimited photo storage, as well as 5 GB of video storage, and makes it easy to share them and keep them organized.

These are all part of the Prime bundle of services.

So, while Amazon makes it as easy to cancel your subscription as to start one, they do give you plenty of reasons to stay.

Is Kindle Unlimited worth it?

With Kindle Unlimited, you’ll have so many titles to choose from, you won’t ever lack for things to read. And you’ll never have to worry about library late fees or replacing damaged books. 

So, if you love to read, want a huge selection, and have no trouble reading four or more titles a month, you’ll easily make up for the $9.99 a month subscription fee.

Honestly, you’ll win with either membership. Or go with both (if you want it all). And if you find out you like one more than the other, you can cancel the other to save some bucks. 

Nothing wrong with giving both a try and finding out for yourself which one better fits the life you’re living now — or the life you want to live. 

Go big to get the whole picture. And then go with what works for you and your family.

Conclusion

I hope this helps you decide which service will be the best investment for you. 

If you read every day and want a subscription that will provide the biggest selection of titles from a variety of genres — and you’re less concerned about Prime’s other offerings — Kindle Unlimited is the way to go. 

And if you’re reading at least four books a month — at $3 or better per book — you’ll easily recoup the cost of your membership.  Ditto if you’re reading at least three $4 books. Or at least two $5 books.

You get it. Some months maybe you’ll read less than $9.99 worth of books. Other months, you’ll read more than enough to make this membership a bargain. Think in averages. 

If at any time your monthly reading goes down to the point where KU membership is no longer saving you money, you can cancel it until it makes sense to sign back up. 

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