What is Amazon Kindle Unlimited? Is Amazon’s Netflix for books worth it?
If you’re a bookworm, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited is still the best way to get your “sights” on as many books as possible. As the name suggests, Amazon Kindle Unlimited offers an unlimited number of titles from a catalog of more than 1 million ebooks and audiobooks, like a Netflix for reading.
For the monthly fee, you get access to a vast selection of titles and audiobooks, and you can read or listen to many as you’d like – although you can only have ten saved to a device at any given time.
The books act the same as any Kindle ebook: they have the same syncing features, can be read across multiple devices, and be read on the same readers, tablets, and apps as standard Kindle books.
There are also Amazon First Reads, formerly known as Kindle First, which offers customers—including Kindle Unlimited subscribers—early access to new books across Amazon Publishing. Under Amazon First Reads, customers can choose one of the Kindle books selected by Amazon’s editors for $1.99 (or FREE for Prime members). They can also buy print editions—up to 10 copies of each title—for $3.99.
Amazon First Reads Kindle books can be read on any Kindle device or free Kindle reading app, and become part of customers’ permanent libraries. Joining is free.
How does Kindle Unlimited work?
Signing up for a free trial is easy. Head to the Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscribe page and click the 30-day trial button. You’ll get asked to log in, and then be able to access the Kindle Unlimited library. You’ll need to have a valid payment card on file for the free trial to work and have one-click payments enabled.
To find books, select the Kindle Unlimited search bar on the left of where you enter text. If the title you want isn’t available, Amazon shows ways to buy it or provides a list of related books.
When browsing the standard Kindle Store, Amazon shows if the book is available for FREE for all Kindle Unlimited subscribers, so you won’t accidentally buy a book that you could read for free.
To download a book, simply click the orange “Read for Free” button in the same spot as the usual buy now button. You can then select which device you’d like to receive it.
What devices can use Kindle Unlimited?
Any device that supports Kindle books also works with Kindle Unlimited. That naturally includes Kindle ebook readers and any device that supports the Kindle app, including Android, BlackBerry, Windows 10, and iOS smartphones and tablets. Amazon also offers a PC-based “Cloud Reader” if you’d prefer to read on your desktop or laptop.
As with any other Kindle book, you can read it across multiple devices.
How to listen to audiobooks with Kindle Unlimited
Thousands of the books in the Kindle Unlimited collection have a free audiobook included. You’ll be alerted to this when you download it, as the button will say “Read and Listen for $0.00.” Once the book is on your device, there will be a headset logo in the top right corner if an audiobook exists.
When you’re inside the book, tapping the page to see options will show a headset icon at the top. Touch that, and you’ll get an opportunity to download the audio.
You can also listen to audiobooks via the Audible app.
Can you keep Kindle Unlimited books?
You can keep up to ten Kindle Unlimited books in your account at a time, for as long as you’d like. If you want more books, you’ll need to remove the ones you’ve read. When you reach the ten-book limit, Amazon will ask you to return a book to continue your download and suggest one. If you’re happy to remove that book, you can do so in a single click before continuing your download, or you can remove a different one by going into your settings.
How do you return books on Kindle Unlimited?
There are times when you accidentally click on a book and need to return it. Other times, you want to reduce the amount of borrowed books before you hit the 10-book limit. If you are someone who doesn’t want to wait for Amazon to prompt a return because you reached the 10-book limit, you can use the following methods to return your Kindle Unlimited books at any time.
How to return Kindle Unlimited Books from a Kindle e-Reader
- Go to the store and log into your account if you haven’t already.
- Select “All Categories.”
- Tap on “Kindle Unlimited.”
- Browse your account for the book you want to return and then select it.
- Tap “Return this Title.”
How to return Kindle Unlimited eBooks from Android, iOS, PC, and Mac:
- Open your chosen browser and log into Amazon.com/mycd.
- Under the “Content” tab within “Manage your content and devices,” leave box 1 set to “Books” for book type, then select “Borrows” in box 2, and then choose your sorting option in box 3.
- Browse and click on the book you want to return and select “Actions -> Return this Title.”
When returning a Kindle Unlimited book, it’s removed from your devices, but your notes and furthest read page are saved, just in case you borrow it again.
How do you cancel Kindle Unlimited?
If you’re on the 30-day trial or have been paying for the service but have decided it’s not worth the cost, it’s easy to cancel.
- Go to Amazon.com/mycd and click Settings.
- Scroll down to Kindle Unlimited Settings, and click the Cancel Kindle Unlimited button.
Keep in mind that Amazon will automatically start charging your card if you don’t cancel before the free trial ends.
What publishers are part of Kindle Unlimited?
The key to Kindle Unlimited’s success is the selection, which features well-known authors such as J.K. Rowling, Dean Koontz, Kerry Lonsdale, Margaret Atwood, and more.
The ‘1 million titles’ figure for Kindle Unlimited is ‘bulked’ out with hundreds of public domain books, offering best-selling novels, non-fiction, and more in almost 30 categories. If you’re a fan of Grindelwald and Potter adventures from J.K. Rowling, thriller and mysteries from Dean Koontz or even legal thrillers from Robert Bailey, Kindle Unlimited may be for you. You also get to enjoy the latest magazines. There are also classic short stories found under the Singles Classic category.
So is Kindle Unlimited worth it? It’s hard to say, as it depends on your reading habits. If you churn through several books a month, it may well be a wise investment. However, Amazon sells books at low prices anyway.
How do royalties work on Kindle Unlimited?
Kindle Direct Publishing is Amazon’s own book publishing division, and KDP Select is its preferred marketing system for self-publishers. All KDP Select participants are required to only make their book available digitally via Amazon and will automatically get enrolled in Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
Each time a reader finishes 10% of a book, KDP Select authors and publishers get a “share” of the KDP Select Global Fund. It’s not clear how much that share is, however. The Amazon FAQ page states that the fund amount is variable and announced monthly. They regularly monitor all factors that impact the KDP Select fund to set the amount for KDP Select authors.