If the idea of binge reading sounds like a dream come true, Kindle Unlimited may be the perfect solution. The Amazon subscription service gives you access to over a million ebooks for a single monthly fee. Depending on how much you read each month, you may find you actually save money while still enjoying all your favorite books.
What Is Kindle Unlimited?
Kindle Unlimited, often referred to as KU, is an ebook subscription service through Amazon. The vast library of well over a million titles ensures there’s something available for all interests. Instead of paying for each individual title, you pay one fee for an all-you-can-read buffet.
The good news is it’s not just ebooks. The subscription also includes comic books, audiobooks, and even magazine subscriptions. Currently, there are over 2,000 audiobooks to choose from.
It’s important to note that Kindle Unlimited doesn’t include every book sold on Amazon. In fact, if you want the latest bestsellers, you’ll likely need to buy those directly, perhaps through Audible, as they’re often not included. You’ll still find some major titles, though, such as the Harry Potter series.
Typically, you’ll find more indie or self-published authors, which isn’t a bad thing. In fact, most of my Kindle library is filled with self-published titles, and they’re just as well-written with engaging plotlines as those written by well-known bestselling authors.
You can access Kindle Unlimited titles through the Kindle app or Kindle Cloud Reader.
Kindle Unlimited Pricing
Surprisingly, Kindle Unlimited is just $9.99/month. Considering the cost of some ebooks is over $5, you’ll pay for your membership as long as you read two or three books a month.
However, many self-published and indie titles are priced $2.99 or less, so you’d need to read at least three titles at $2.99 each to break even. If you only read a few books a month that don’t add up to $9.99, then the subscription may not be that much of a value.
For avid readers who tear through thousands of pages every month, then yes, the price is well worth it.
Kindle Unlimited Limitations
If the massive library of titles and monthly fee sound okay, there’s one more thing you should know. You don’t own any of the ebooks. Much like a music or TV streaming service, you only rent the ebooks temporarily. If you cancel your subscription or the author/publisher decides to remove their titles from the Kindle Unlimited library, you no longer have access to the book.
You’re able to borrow up to 10 titles at a time. For magazines, you can only have up to three subscriptions at a time. While you can read far more than 10 books per month, you have to return a book before adding another title. You’re free to keep a title as long as you’re subscribed, so there’s no need to rush through.
Kindle Unlimited vs. Prime Reading: Which Is Best?
Technically, Amazon has two different ebook subscription services. The major one is Kindle Unlimited. However, if you’re a Prime member, you also get access to Prime Reading included with your membership for $12.99/month or $119/year.
Prime Reading works similarly to Kindle Unlimited. You borrow titles. However, the library is significantly smaller with just over 1,000 titles. The good news is you’ll find more bestsellers and big publishers in this selection. You also get access to a limited rotating selection (around 50) of audiobooks.
If you’re already a Prime member, it’s worth checking out what’s available in Prime Reading before subscribing to Kindle Unlimited. If you’re looking to branch out to a wider variety of authors and publishers, then Kindle Unlimited may be the better option for the much larger library.
Is Kindle Unlimited Included with Prime?
Kindle Unlimited is a completely separate service from Prime. You don’t need a Prime membership to be a Kindle Unlimited member. However, you can be both.
Prime only includes Prime Reading. This is a great way to try out the concept of borrowing ebooks to see just how much you might read in a month. If you decide you want a larger selection of titles, then you may want to give Kindle Unlimited a try. You’re always free to cancel at any time, so there’s no real commitment.
Starting Your Kindle Unlimited Membership
Signing up for Kindle Unlimited is easy. Visit the Kindle Unlimited section on Amazon and sign in with your account. You can do this via desktop, Kindle apps, or the Amazon shopping app. For iOS devices, you’ll need to visit the actual website to sign up.
Once you’re signed in, you’ll see any current new subscriber deals. Sometimes a free 30-day trial is available, but this isn’t always the case. For example, I already had a trial just over a year ago, but I was offered two different deals: two months for $4.99 or six months for $30.
Once you’ve chosen your deal, if one’s available, simply click “Join Kindle Unlimited” to start your subscription. You’re free to start borrowing any KU titles immediately.
How to Find Kindle Unlimited Books
Since the Kindle Unlimited library doesn’t include every ebook, you need to know how to limit your search options. You can visit the Kindle Unlimited section directly or open the Kindle Store on your device, then filter by “Kindle Unlimited Eligible.” There’s also a filter for Prime Reading if you are a Prime member.
Once you’ve filtered the library options by Kindle Unlimited titles, you can also filter by category to continue browsing based on the genre you’re most interested in.
Another filter you may want to use is “eBooks with Audible Narration.” It’s important to note that text-to-speech is available on many ebooks, though it won’t be the same as a professionally narrated ebook through Audible.
You can also add Audible narration on Kindle Unlimited books – even if they’re not included as part of your membership. Look carefully at the pricing details to see whether Audible Narration is included for free.
When you look at a book’s details, look for headphones next to Kindle Unlimited. If you don’t see headphones, Audible narration is not included for free. You can still buy the narration separately, though, if you’d like.
Finding Kindle Unlimited Deals
If you’re looking for deals on a Kindle Unlimited membership, wait for special discount periods throughout the year. November and December often have free trials and discounted months, such as the offer I had for 6 months for $30.
You’ll also find discounts around Prime Day in June and around most major holidays. If you purchase a Kindle or Amazon device, you may also get an offer to try Kindle Unlimited for free for a set number of months or get access to a discounted offer.
Log in to Amazon and go to Kindle Unlimited to see whether you have any current deals available.
How Audiobooks Work with Kindle Unlimited
You don’t need an Audible membership to listen to audiobooks with Kindle Unlimited. However, it can be confusing trying to figure out which audiobooks are included. Filtering by “eBooks with Audible Narration” when you’re searching for a book is the easiest option.
Unless you see the orange headphones in the “KindleUnlimited” box, the audiobook version isn’t included in your membership. As mentioned above, you can choose to add the Audible narration for an additional fee, which is listed with the book details.
Kindle Unlimited vs. Audible
If you’re more interested in audiobooks than just ebooks, you should carefully compare Kindle Unlimited and Audible to see which membership is best for you. Kindle Unlimited’s biggest benefit is the combination of over a million ebooks along with a small selection of audiobooks.
Audible, on the other hand, has several different subscription plans that give you unlimited access to a library of over 11,000 titles. Titles do rotate in and out, though, and those that aren’t included must be purchased separately. Audible plans include:
- Audible Plus – $7.95/month – Unlimited listening to any Plus Catalog titles
- Audible Premium Plus – $14.95/month – Everything with Plus along with 1 credit to purchase an audiobook to keep.
- Audible Premium Plus – $22.95/month – Includes Plus along with 2 credits to buy 2 audiobooks per month.
- Audible Premium Plus Annual – $149.50/year – Includes Plus along with 12 credits to buy 12 audiobooks throughout the year.
- Audible Premium Plus Annual – $229.50/year – Includes Plus along with 24 credits to buy 24 audiobooks throughout the year.
Credits allow you to buy any premium title that’s not included in the Plus Catalog or to purchase Plus Catalog titles to keep even after your subscription ends. Members also get exclusive access to sales and 30 percent off purchases.
In terms of audiobooks, Audible is better than Kindle Unlimited. But, if you want ebooks and audiobooks, Kindle Unlimited is the best choice.
If you are more interested in audiobooks but don’t like Audible, consider these alternatives.
Borrowing and Returning Kindle Unlimited Titles
Note: Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading borrowing work the same. The examples shown here are for Prime Reading.
Once you find the title you want to borrow, simply click or tap the “Kindle $0.00 KindleUnlimited” option to add it to your Kindle library. You can also use the “Read for Free” button.
Once borrowed, select the device you want it delivered to using the “Deliver To” drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can just search for the title using your chosen device and download it to your device later.
Since you can only have 10 titles at a time, you’ll need to return anything you’re finished with before you can borrow new titles.
From the website, log in to your account and go to Manage Content and Devices. Quickly find your borrowed books by filtering the results by Borrows.
When you locate your title, select “Return this book” to remove it from your library and device(s).
In the Kindle app, long press on the book and choose “Return Book.”
In the Amazon app, open the menu, select Account, and choose “Manage content and devices.” Select your title and choose “Return book.” You may need to use the “See More” arrow under the title to see this option.
Once returned, you’re able to borrow another title. Remember, you can keep a title for as long as you want as long you’re subscribed and the title isn’t removed by the author/publisher. You can also borrow it again if you’d like.
How to Cancel a Kindle Unlimited Subscription
There is zero commitment with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Cancel at any time. When you cancel, any borrowed titles are removed from your device at the end of your billing cycle.
To cancel your Kindle Unlimited subscription, log in to your Amazon account and open the menu. Choose “Memberships and subscriptions.” On the Amazon shopping app, select Account from the menu, then “Memberships and subscriptions.”
Choose your Kindle Unlimited subscription and select “Manage Subscription.” Choose “End membership on” and select a date. You can select the end of your billing cycle or a future date if you want to keep your membership for a longer period but don’t want to forget to cancel.
Is Kindle Unlimited worth it for you? It’s is the ideal option for anyone who loves to read and devours at least three or four books per month or more. While you may not always find the latest bestsellers, there is never any shortage of titles to read.
If you plan on trying Kindle Unlimited, learn how you can listen through Amazon Alexa devices.