Friday, February 10, 2017

Is Kindle Unlimited Worth It?

It is not uncommon for people who log onto to be greeted with an ad for Kindle Unlimited.  The question may have is whether Kindle Unlimited is worth it; whether it is worth the $9.99 subscription cost.  The answer, of course, is "it depends".

What Does Your Kindle Unlimited Subscription Get You?

A Kindle Unlimited subscription gets you access to a large library of e-books, which can be read on any device that has a Kindle app on it.  It also allows access to a number of current magazines and to some audiobooks.  

Kindle Unlimited members are limited to ten items at a time; with Kindle Unlimited, you are borrowing the items, not buying them.  In order to access the eleventh item, you have to return one of the previously borrowed items (and you are prompted to do so).  

Most of the books available via Kindle Unlimited are self-published ebooks.  While that does not mean they are not good books, it does mean that if you are joining Kindle Unlimited in hopes of having unlimited access to the latest best-sellers, you will be disappointed.

What Are the Alternatives to Kindle Unlimited?

  • Scribd is another ebook rental service which can be used for all devices except non-Fire Kindles.  It offers 3 books and 1 audiobook each month — plus unlimited access to magazine and news articles, sheet music, documents, and special select titles for $7.99/month.My perusal of their website indicates that they have more "big-name" authors' books available than Kindle Unlimited does, however, I did not find the latest books by the authors for whom I searched, nor were their complete catalogs available.
  • Your Public Library probably has ebooks available for download 24/7 at no cost beyond that of a library card.  In my experience, I am more apt to find the big name authors' books at the library than on Kindle Unlimited, but the latest books may not be available, or may have long waiting lists.
  • Prime Reading.  If you are an Amazon Prime member, one of your benefits is Prime Reading, which is the ability to access, at no additional cost, some ebooks and magazines.  While Kindle Unlimited offers over a million books, Prime Reading offers only about 1,000.
  • Amazon Freebies.  Don't scoff too quickly.  At any given time Amazon offers thousands of free books.  Some are free on a temporary promotional basis.  Established writers will make a back-list book free on Amazon shortly before a new release, hoping that those who read the freebie will buy the new book.  Often self-published writers have one or more books free on a permanent basis, again hoping that after you enjoy the freebie you will buy other books from them.  Finally a lot of classics which are not under copyright are free as well.

Is Kindle Unlimited for Me?

If you are considering Kindle Unlimited, I suggest going to Amazon's website (and I'd appreciate it if you would use the handy affilliate links in this post--I get paid and it doesn't cost you more) and searching for books you want to read.  Browse by genre, author, subject, whatever, and use the "eligible for Kindle Unlimited" filter.  Save the books to your wishlist.  When you have enough to keep you busy for a month, then sign up for Kindle Unlimited. 

 Re-evaluate your choice every month, and remember that you can stop your membership at any time, and rejoin at any time.  While you only get one free trial month per account, if you batch your reading into Kindle Unlimited months and other months you may be very happy with just three or four Kindle Unlimited months per year.  

Kindle Unlimited is like most subscription services--It is worth it if you use it and enjoy it, and can afford it.  Otherwise, like most subscription services, it turns into money that goes regularly into the pocket of a business whose services you are not using.  

Disease Called Debt


  1. Good suggestion for giving Kindle Unlimited a try. I haven't, the titles mostly don't interest me very much. If they could offer something with more mainstream content for more money, I would consider it. As it is, I just try to limit my e-book purchases to one a month and otherwise go with library, Prime and free titles.

  2. I didn't know that you could stop and start Kindle unlimited again. Great idea!