Starting October 5, 2016, Amazon launched Amazon Prime Reading. Many of you may already have Amazon Prime with its 99$ annual fee for its other awesome benefits, such as free 2-day shipping on a multitude of products, Amazon Video which is similar to Netflix, Amazon Music, etc. (Personally, I absolutely love Amazon and this addition just made my year because I order enough things to make a Prime membership worth it just for the shipping.) If you’re not a Prime member, click here to try it out for a month for free.
So, wait a second, didn’t Amazon already have an ebook program? There’s also Kindle Unlimited. (Also available for a month for free.) KU is a $9.99/month program that allows unlimited access to a huge array of books (roughly 1 million titles, whereas Prime Reading currently has about a thousand). There are also separate benefits, such as audiobooks and a lending program of 10 books at a time, but I won’t go into that here, since I’ve written another post concerning that. Link at the end of this article.
I want to point out the main difference between Amazon Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited, and that’s how books are placed into each program. Let’s look at Amazon Prime Reading first.
Imagine you’re at a bookstore, maybe a high-end one. Usually there’s an attractive shelf labeled “Employee’s Picks.” That’s all Amazon Prime Reading is. Amazon has handpicked books they think will represent the best of Amazon Reading, such as Harry Potter, the Hobbit, and the like, and have offered it for free for Prime Members as a new benefit. I’ve also noticed that many of the books offered are only the first in a series, so it can also be a strategic method to get you interested in a series and therefore win you over into more purchases. Which is perfectly fine, people should be willing to pay for a book series they like and support the authors.
But Kindle Unlimited is entirely different. Authors, all of them, are offered to join this program when they place an ebook in the Kindle library. Royalties are much lower than simply selling the book, but many authors choose to partake in this program for the benefit of reaching more readers. But every author is offered to join this program. That means there’s absolutely no screening. So instead of a high-end bookstore with prized picks, you’re walking into a flea market and finding hidden treasures no one may have ever discovered. It’s a treasure hunt, and you have a million books to wade through to find something you love.
In my case, I will certainly enjoy Amazon Prime Reading, and will be hunting Black Friday deals for a Kindle Voyage to get the most out of my reading experience (Amazon’s smart!). But I still am not convinced to join Kindle Unlimited.
If you’d like to know more about Kindle Unlimited and my experience during my free month, check out this post.