What is Kindle Unlimited? Is it worth it?

How many books can you read in a month?

2, 5, 10?

If you’re answer is greater than 3, Kindle Unlimited might before you.

But what is Kindle Unlimited?

It’s essentially Amazon’s book subscription service.

If you’re even remotely interested in the program, you can try Kindle Unlimited with a one month free trial.

Read as many book as you like, all with no cost to you. Just cancel before your trial ends if you don’t like it.

Let’s dive a little further into what exactly is Kindle Unlimited.

What is Kindle Unlimited?

Kindle Unlimited, also known as KU, gives you access to millions of titles on Amazon’s kindle library.

That means you can’t read these books on your Nook or Kobo.

Like, seriously.

You can’t read them on those devices even without a subscription.

That’s because for a book to be enrolled in KU, the author signs an agreement to sell their books exclusively on Amazon and no where else.

Why would anyone want to do that? More on that later.

Kindle Unlimited is essentially a library lending service, but without the virtual queues plagued by your local library’s e-lending.

But it doesn’t stop at ebooks. You can also read select magazines and listen to thousands of book with Audible narration.

Piqued your interest yet?

Kindle Unlimited Price

Of course, the first thing you’re going to want to know is how much Kindle Unlimited costs.

What is the Kindle Unlimited price tag?

It’s not that bad, actually.

A KU membership will cost you just $9.99/month.

That’s a Netflix or Hulu subscription.

Now, we’ll talk more about this a little later, but the average price of a book in Kindle Unlimited hovers around the $2.99 range if you were to buy it a la carte.

That means you’d need to read a minimum of 3 books to break even.

Remember when I asked you how many books you can read?

On your fourth book for the month, you’ve saved money.

Personally, I read a book every 3 days. That means I could potentially read 10 books in a month. I know many people who read double or triple that.

But even at 10 books a month, with an average of $3 a book, I’m saving $20 by subscribing to KU.

You do the math for your numbers and see if Kindle Unlimited makes sense for you.

Is KU Free for Prime Members?

A question that gets asked frequently is whether Prime members get KU for free.

The answer is no, you do not.

Prime does have its own free book program called Prime Reading.

The program functions in much the same way as Kindle Unlimited, but it’s got a rotating cycle of books every 3 months.

It’s a limited selection, and books do regularly churn through the program.

If you want access to the full list of Kindle Unlimited books, you’ll need to signup for a free trial or get a subscription.

How does Kindle Unlimited work?

Now that we’ve talked about what Kindle Unlimited is, let’s spend some time discussing how it works.

After starting your free trial or subscription, you’re immediately given access to any book with the KU logo above it. See below.

How does Kindle Unlimited work

The first caveat is that you can only take out 10 titles at a time. After this, you must return a book before you can download another one. So don’t go hog wild downloading every book you see.

Limit your selection to only the books you think you’ll read. You can read any unlimited number of books, but you can’t download an unlimited number.

The second reality check for you is that KU does not mean your choice of any book known to man.

Only books enrolled in the KDP Select program are available on KU with a few notable exceptions.

Both Harry Potter and Hunger Games are among the few mainstream, traditionally published books available on Kindle Unlimited.

Nearly all of the remainder of the millions of titles that KU boasts are written and published by indie authors, like myself.

Why? Because the traditional publishing houses like Bloomsbury, Penguin Random House, and Macmillan, want their books available on the Nook, Kobo, Apple Books, etc.

How does it work for authors?

So why would an author choose to place their book in Kindle Unlimited if it means signing a deal to exclusively list your book on Amazon?

We do it for the visibility and pay, plain and simple.

Amazon takes every dollar that comes in from KU subscribers, takes their cut, then divvies the rest out to authors based on number of pages read.

The amount varies from month to month, but it floats around a half a cent (.005) per word.

A 500 page book will net the author $2.50 if fully read.

What will often happen is that so few of our readers use devices other than a kindle, that unless an author is extremely popular or has a huge marketing machine, they simply can’t afford what it takes to “go wide.”

Amazon, on the other hand, is all about pushing it’s Kindle Unlimited titles ahead of other books when showing you “Books we think you’d like.”

This provides added visibility to these titles and makes it a greater incentive to join the program.

What’s available on KU?

So if there’s hardly any household name authors in KU, just what is available?

Here’s a full searchable list of everything that’s available on Kindle Unlimited.

Hundreds of thousands of unknown authors are waiting to be discovered.

Yes, there will be some bad ones, but the beauty of Kindle Unlimited is that you can return the book if you don’t like it without any penalty to you.

It didn’t cost you anything to download it and it doesn’t cost you anything to return it.

But there are so many more good books out there. Worlds just waiting to be explored. Mysteries ready to be solved. If you’ll only take the chance on them.

Fantasy Books in KU

If you’re into fantasy books. I’ve already compiled two lists that are mostly titles in Kindle Unlimited.

Now, not every book listed in these two articles may be in KU, but I know a lot of them are.

The first is called Indie Fantasy Starter TBR with more than 70 books, 1 book per author, and only the first in a series.

It’s an excellent place to start looking for a new great book to read.

The second list is a little more niche. It’s for fantasy readers who also like video games. I’ve compiled a near master list at time of writing of the Best LitRPG Books available.

LitRPG stands for Literary Role Playing Game. And if you like books like Ready Player One, or enjoy playing role playing games with levels, health points, magic points, etc, then check out the list in the link above.

What happens if I cancel my subscription?

Unlike Audible, another of Amazon’s subscription services, when you cancel your Kindle Unlimited subscription, you lose access to the books you’ve downloaded.

Paying for KU is not paying for the books. It’s paying for the ability to read them.

Remove the subscription and you remove that ability.

If you’d rather keep the books you read, then your best bet is to purchase them individually.

But if you’re like many people, and don’t have the money for that. Then KU is a great option where you can try the books for free. And if you really love it, then you can purchase it as well.

And don’t think about trying to outsmart the system by turning off WiFi. As soon as you reconnect, the books are gone.

Even if you remove the device from your account, the most amount of books you can keep at a time is 10.

Is Kindle Unlimited Worth It?

Well there you have. We’ve discussed what Kindle Unlimited is, how much it costs, what’s available, and how it works.

Is Kindle Unlimited worth it?

You tell me.

Can you read more than 4 books in a month? If the answer is yes, then Kindle Unlimited might be for you.

Do you hoard books? If the answer is yes, then Kindle Unlimited might not be for you, unless you’re okay purchasing the books you love as well.

Don’t forget, if you’re unsure whether Kindle Unlimited is right for you, you can always start a free trial.

3 thoughts on “What is Kindle Unlimited? Is it worth it?

  1. Since I read my books several times, KU isn’t worth it. When you cancel your subscription you lose access to all the books on your device, the same thing will happen when Amazon discontinues Kindle. Think it can’t happen, tell that to all of the Microsoft ebook readers that lost all of their books. There are countless other book services that have gone under as well. KU is a great deal for authors, however, it isn’t a great deal for me.

    1. That’s a very good point.

      It’s not so great for re-readers. Of course, you can always download the book again, but you’re still paying the $10/month to re-read books you’ve already read.

      I, personally, rarely re-read a book after I’ve finished it, so I don’t have this problem and hadn’t considered it.


    2. Hi Sean
      Used to have a KU subscription for a couple of month until decided it didn’t worth keeping it. On the other hand, I wanted to keep the books I already had so I decided to switch my kindle to offline mode (I use the data cable to transfer books between my laptop to my kindle).
      There’s a wee problem with that as some features are not available offline, but it’s fine.

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