Kindle Unlimited Overview: What You Need to Know About This Digital Book Subscription

Initially offered as a supplementary book reading service, Kindle Unlimited has grown into one of the most popular Amazon membership programs. If you love reading and are considering joining Kindle Unlimited, it’s a good idea to learn more about this digital book subscription service. Is it a good choice for us, readers? Where can we sign up? What’s included in the membership? Let’s take a look.

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Kindle Unlimited: key highlights

Here are some key Kindle Unlimited highlights:

  • Unlimited reading with access to more than 1 million titles.
  • Reading at any time, anywhere, on any device with a Kindle App.
  • You don’t need to own a Kindle to read the books.
  • Easy to cancel the membership and resubscribe to it later.
  • Membership includes Kindle books, magazines and even audiobooks.
  • Kindle Unlimited subscription is not automatically included in Prime membership.
  • T&Cs, membership prices and offers may vary from country to country; for example, it may cost $9.99 / £7.99 / AU$ 13.99 a month.
  • Actually, there is a limit on how many books you can borrow (including audiobooks and magazines) in one go (interesting fact, considering the membership name is Kindle Unlimited).
Snapshot: the key benefits of becoming a Kindle Unlimited subscriber. Source: Amazon.com

When was Kindle Unlimited launched?

Kindle Unlimited is not a new service. This book reading/borrowing subscription was added in July 2014, so it’s got quite a few years of experience to make this service smooth and user friendly. Back then, it offered about 600,000 books (and about 7,000 audiobooks), but it’s grown significantly since then. It surely doesn’t look like the service is going away any time soon!

Get access to over one million titles

At the time of writing this post, the membership advertises that you, as a subscriber, will get access to more than 1 million titles. Some say, it’s over 1.5 million now! It includes books (and books in various foreign languages), comic books, audiobooks (i.e. audiobookcompanion” – we will talk about this a bit further on) and popular magazines. Getting access to a good variety of magazines sounds like a good extra benefit to members.

Browse Kindle Unlimited Books
Browse Kindle Unlimited books. Source: Amazon.com

Can you have more than 10 books in Kindle Unlimited?

Initially, you could not have more than 10 Kindle Unlimited books downloaded at a time. Still, there were rumours that the limit would be increased to 20. So, at the time of writing this blog, this is what I have found on Amazon’s (Canadian) official help page:

“Use your Amazon account to borrow up to 20 eligible Kindle Unlimited titles at a time. Kindle Unlimited titles display a badge in the Kindle Store for easy identification. Access borrowed titles from your Amazon device or Kindle reading app, even while traveling.”

Amazon Help Centre - borrow up to 20 titles

That said, the 20 book limit is really not advertised on Amazon, and many sources still refer to 10 books as a limit. However, I have to say, in any way, the imposed limit is pretty understandable, as, most likely, you will not be reading so many books in one go. I would also like to clarify that if you have a couple of devices you read your books on, you won’t be able to download 20 different books to each of them either.

Regarding the magazine subscriptions: I should mention that I’ve also found the magazine selection row indicating “choose up to 3”. See below:

Magazine subscriptions in Kindle Unlimited
Source: Kindle Unlimited Magazine subscriptions

Still no big publishers?

When Amazon first launched this subscription service, the biggest drawback was the lack of titles from big publishing houses. Unfortunately, it hasn’t changed much. If you’re looking for books from MacMillan, HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster publishers or authors like Stephen King, you probably won’t have much luck in Kindle Unlimited. That said, it doesn’t mean that you will not be able find to a good read with access to more than one million titles, right?

Kindle Unlimited audiobooks does not give you free access to Audible

Another good membership bonus is audiobooks. However, I need to clarify that Kindle Unlimited will not give you free access to Audible audiobooks. It means that you won’t be able to download audiobooks to the Audible app.

So, what kind of audiobooks can you get with Kindle Unlimited? This digital book reading subscription offers Audible Narration. It’s what Amazon calls the audiobook companion that you can download to your Kindle or Kindle app (not the Audible app). Thus, once you download the file, you can easily switch from reading to audio narration.

Kindle Unlimited is not included in Prime membership

Amazon Prime membership comes with many benefits, but, unfortunately, Kindle Unlimited is not one of them. Prime members get access to digital content such as video or music streaming and Prime reading. However, the Kindle Unlimited book reading/borrowing service would have to be a separate subscription. Therefore, it would carry an additional cost that would not be covered by your Amazon Prime membership.

Cancelling Kindle Unlimited Membership

If you feel like it’s time to cancel the membership, it’s not difficult to do. Once you log into your Amazon account, go to Manage Membership and click on cancel Kindle Unlimited membership. Your Kindle Unlimited membership benefits will remain active until the next billing date. After that, you will lose access to the books you have downloaded. Here’s a link to the cancellation help page.

Eligibility by country: where can you subscribe to become a member?

At the moment, it doesn’t look like Kindle Unlimited is supporting a global sign-up. It means that customers can subscribe to this membership through their local Amazon marketplace pages. For example:

  • The US customers would use Amazon.com to sign up for the membership.
  • Customers in the UK would need to go to Amazon.co.uk.
  • Canadian readers would have to subscribe through Amazon.ca.

Anyone from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, China, India, Australia and Mexico would also have to navigate to their local Amazon pages. While the list of countries may look a little bit limited, Amazon says they are planning to expand the service:

Kindle Unlimited eligible countries
Screenshot from Amazon FAQ page.

Worth a try?

Even though you might not find all the books or authors you want, with Kindle Unlimited, you’ll have access to more than a million titles, audiobooks, and even popular magazines. Whether you’re looking for reading material for your own leisure or professional development or are simply browsing for books to read to your kids, Kindle Unlimited offers a really good book borrowing platform. And the best part, if you don’t like it, you can easily cancel the subscription. So, what do you think – yay or nay?

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