Is Kindle Unlimited Worth It?

If you’re an avid reader, you know the horrible feeling of not having your next book handy. Kindle Unlimited solves that problem by providing access to over 1 million book titles instantly. 

We all know (and love) Amazon for its amazing item selection, prices, and Prime Delivery, but book lovers may love it even more for its Kindle Unlimited subscription. 

Keep reading to learn if Kindle Unlimited lives up to its name and is worth the cost.

What is Kindle Unlimited?

Kindle Unlimited is a book subscription service. You not only get ‘unlimited’ access to digital books, but also magazines and audiobooks.

Members have access to over 1 million titles plus a nice selection of audiobooks. You can check out up to 10 titles at a time, and as soon as you replace one book, you can borrow another. Anyone can join, all you need is an Amazon account and you must live in the US to use it. 

How Does Kindle Unlimited Work?

Despite its name, you don’t need a Kindle to use Kindle Unlimited. You can read books or listen to audiobooks on any internet-enabled device that has the Kindle app. You can also read or listen to books in your web browser on any device.

You can start borrowing books or magazines right after signing up for your Kindle Unlimited account. Once you’re done reading a book or magazine, return it and you can instantly borrow another. 

As you start reading, Amazon will tailor its suggestions based on your tastes. Your dashboard will have featured titles for you to explore or you can search the Kindle catalog to find your next book. 

Once you select a book, you can choose ‘read it now’ or ‘save in my library’ if you want to save it for later. Since book selections change often, it’s worth stashing a book in your library if it’s on your ‘to read’ list but you can’t read it right now.

If you prefer to listen to books, you can select ‘listen to books with audio narration’ and see the selection available. Not every book offers an audio version, but they do have a nice selection. 

When you’re done with a book, just click the ‘return’ button and you’re done. You’ve also freed up another space to borrow a new book. 

How to Sign up for Kindle Unlimited?

It’s easy to sign up for a Kindle Unlimited account. First, you need an Amazon account, which you can get here.

Once you sign up for the Amazon account, you can select Kindle Unlimited. If you’re a new customer, you’ll get a free 30-day trial. If you decide it’s not right for you, cancel the subscription before your 30 days is up to avoid being charged.

Once you sign up, you are charged monthly for Kindle Unlimited until you cancel it.

What’s the Cost?

Kindle Unlimited costs $9.99 per month or $119.88 per year. You can cancel it at any time if you decide it’s not worth it for you. 

What can you get with Kindle Unlimited?

The name Kindle Unlimited is a little deceiving. First, there is a 10 book limit at one time. If you try to add the 11th book to your library, it will ask you to return a book first.

The titles on Kindle Unlimited also aren’t the latest releases from your favorite authors. If you love indie authors, you may love the selection offered, but if you have a specific author you follow that publishes with a major publishing house, you may be disappointed.

In addition to the 10 books in your library, you also get:

  • Up to 3 magazine subscriptions
  • Unlimited audio books (thousands to choose from)
  • Access to favorite and new book series

What are the Benefits of Kindle Unlimited?

  • Check out 10 books at a time – If you’re a multi-tasker or you love knowing you have your next book ready to go, you’ll love the ability to check out up to 10 books at a time. If you return a book, you can immediately borrow another. 
  • Works on any device – You don’t need to spend money on a Kindle to use Kindle Unlimited. You can use it on any device with an internet connection that can download apps.
  • Audio version available – Some books (not all) have an audio version available on Kindle Unlimited. If you like to listen to your books while commuting, running, or just sitting on the couch, this is a nice perk. You can even switch between the written and audio version, while keeping your place.
  • Access to Amazon Original books – Some authors (even well known authors) create series just for Amazon and the only way to access them is through Kindle Unlimited. Dean Koontz, for example, created a 6-book series that you can only access on Kindle Unlimited.

What are the Downsides?

  • Mostly indie books – You won’t find new releases, best sellers, or books from the major publishing houses (Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, etc.). Most books are from up and coming authors who need exposure to make it ‘big.’
  • It’s expensive – Given the titles and types of books available on Kindle Unlimited, it’s hard to ‘break-even’ or get ahead with the cost. At $9.99/month, you’d have to read 5 – 10 indie books depending on their cost to just break even.
  • Only digital – If you love holding a paper book, you won’t like Kindle Unlimited. All options are digital and must be read/listened to through the Kindle app. 
  • Tough to search – It’s hard to find what you’re looking for in Kindle Unlimited. Even clicking ‘see all’ in the catalog can provide an overwhelming number of options that make it hard to narrow down your options especially when you’re looking at mostly ‘new to you’ book titles and authors. 

Kindle Unlimited vs Prime Reading

It may seem a little confusing since both Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading are Amazon services. But Prime Reading is ‘free’ since it’s included in your Amazon Prime membership. You may wonder why you’d pay for Kindle Unlimited if you have Amazon Prime – here’s why.

While you can get the same 10 book limit from Prime Reading, the selection isn’t nearly as large as Kindle Unlimited. Amazon Prime has an estimated 1,000 options that change often whereas Kindle Unlimited has over 1 million titles. 

Prime Reading does offer audiobook versions and a nice selection of books which is good for the infrequent reader. A nice benefit of Prime Reading is the ‘Amazon First Reads’ which provides early access to books not yet available for the general public. First Reads are selections from six top editors. 

How to Cancel Kindle Unlimited?

It’s easy to cancel your Kindle Unlimited account at any time. As we said earlier, if you don’t like the subscription and you’re in your free trial, you can cancel without getting charged if you cancel before your billing date.

If you’re paying for Kindle Unlimited, log into your Amazon account and use these steps:

  • Click on Accounts and Lists
  • Click on Your Kindle Unlimited
  • Choose Cancel Kindle Unlimited Membership on the left hand side

Follow the steps it offers and you’ll cancel your membership. Make sure you follow through to the confirmation page.

If you found a deal on Kindle Unlimited and paid for a longer membership, you can cancel it mid-term and receive a refund of the months left, but you won’t be able to restart your subscription so keep that in mind. 

Kindle Unlimited FAQs

Do you need a Kindle to use Kindle Unlimited?

You don’t need a Kindle to use Kindle Unlimited. You only need a device that can download the Kindle app or navigate to it using a web browser. You’ll need an internet connection to read your book too, unless you download it to your device.

Can you read new releases on Kindle Unlimited?

There may be some new releases on Kindle Unlimited, but they are few and far between. The majority of the new releases are from brand new authors hoping to get some exposure and gain a new audience.

Is Kindle Unlimited free for Amazon Prime members?

Amazon Prime offers a lot of benefits, but Kindle Unlimited isn’t one of them. Even Amazon Prime members must pay the $9.99/month subscription for access to Kindle Unlimited.

Does Kindle Unlimited have good books?

If you’re looking for the newest releases from your big-name authors, you won’t find them on Kindle Unlimited, but they have plenty of good books. It’s a great way to add new authors to your lineup or discover books you otherwise may never have found.

What’s included in Kindle Unlimited?

Members receive access to over 1 million book titles, thousands of magazine titles, and audiobooks. You can borrow books as often as you want with a limit of 10 books at a time. Once you return one book, you can borrow another if you’re at your 10 book limit.

Is Kindle Unlimited a good deal?

If you’re an avid reader and love finding new books and authors, Kindle Unlimited can be a great deal. If you’re more of a nonchalant reader, reading one or maybe two books a month and you have your favorite authors, you may want to look elsewhere.

Kindle Unlimited – Should you Sign Up?

If you love reading and don’t mind discovering new book titles and authors, Kindle Unlimited can be a great deal. You won’t save money on your hot new releases from your favorite authors, but it can fill in the time in between when you need something to read and don’t want to buy a new book.

At $9.99/month it’s not expensive, but it is an investment that if you don’t use, may not be worth it. Frequent readers and people who love discovering indie authors are the best audiences for Kindle Unlimited.

Kim Pinnelli is a personal finance freelance writer and contributor. She lives in the Chicago suburbs, writing from home for the last 13 years. Kim enjoys helping people understand personal finances and writes on topics about saving money, investing, planning for retirement, and ways to increase income. In her free time, Kim enjoys hanging out with her 3 children, reading, crocheting, and spending time outdoors.

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