Amazon Officially Launches Ebook Subscription Service, Kindle Unlimited

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Amazon has officially launched Kindle Unlimited, an ebook subscription service that directly competes with start-ups Scribd and Oyster. The service will cost users $9.99 a month and give them access to over 600,000 ebooks and audiobooks. Kindle Unlimited is only available in the U.S., according to an Amazon spokesperson.

At $9.99 a month, Kindle Unlimited is the most expensive of the three services; Scribd is $8.99 and Oyster is $9.95.

The move was teased earlier this week on Amazon.com Web pages that were subsequently taken down. A video promoting the yet-to-be-launched service was even unearthed.

According to an Amazon statement (below), the Kindle Unlimited platform will feature such blockbuster titles as “the Harry Potter series, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Hunger Games trilogy, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and Flash Boys.”

Several of these big titles aren’t available on Scribd or Oyster, which have around 400,000 and 500,000 ebooks to choose from, respectively. Scribd and Oyster also have books from HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster; a cursory search of Kindle Unlimited titles suggests that Amazon does not have books from these publishers or any in the “big five.” According to Publishers Lunch, Kindle Unlimited is made up mostly of over 500,000 ebooks from Kindle Direct Publishing Select — essentially, self-published titles only available on Amazon. Amazon has been contacted for confirmation.

According to media reports, publishers whose books are on the platform through previously signed contracts with Amazon will be paid as if a reader purchased the book when they start reading. For those on the Kindle Direct Publishing Select platform, payment for a book will kick in after a customer has read 10% or more of the title.

Scribd and Oyster reportedly use a similar system as Kindle Unlimited for Kindle Direct Publishing Select authors: Publishers and authors are paid as if an ebook has been purchased after a certain threshold of reading within that book has been reached. Scribd has said that through this system it is now a top-five provider of revenue for some publishers it works with.

For more on how Kindle Unlimited may affect publishers and authors, see the Publishers Lunch report.

 

[Press Release]

Introducing Kindle Unlimited: Unlimited Reading and Listening on Any Device—Just $9.99 a Month
Read freely from over 600,000 books—available on Kindle devices, as well as free Kindle reading apps for iOS, Android and more

Listen to thousands of audiobooks from Audible, or switch easily between reading and listening with Whispersync for Voice

Enjoy best sellers including the Harry Potter series, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Hunger Games trilogy, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and Flash Boys

The most cost-effective way to enjoy audiobooks such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Life of Pi, and Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Start a free 30-day trial today

Amazon.com today introduced Kindle Unlimited—a new subscription service which allows customers to freely read as much as they want from over 600,000 Kindle books, and listen as much as they want to thousands of Audible audiobooks, all for only $9.99 a month. Finding a great book is easy, and there are never any due dates—just look for the Kindle Unlimited logo on eligible titles and click “Read for Free.” Customers can choose from best sellers like The Hunger Games, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and The Lord of the Rings, and with thousands of professionally narrated audiobooks from Audible, like The Handmaid’s Tale and Water for Elephants, the story can continue in the car or on the go. Kindle Unlimited subscribers also get the additional benefit of a complimentary three-month Audible membership, with access to the full selection of Audible titles. Kindle Unlimited is available starting today and is accessible from Kindle devices or with Amazon’s free Kindle reading apps. Start your free 30-day trial today at www.amazon.com/ku-freetrial.

“With Kindle Unlimited, you won’t have to think twice before you try a new author or genre—you can just start reading and listening,” said Russ Grandinetti, Senior Vice President, Kindle. “In addition to offering over 600,000 eBooks, Kindle Unlimited is also by far the most cost-effective way to enjoy audiobooks and eBooks together. With thousands of Whispersync for Voice-enabled audiobooks to choose from, you can easily switch between reading and listening to a book, allowing the story to continue even when your eyes are busy. We hope you take advantage of the 30-day free trial and try it for yourself.”

Kindle Unlimited features include:

Unlimited reading: Access over 600,000 books including best sellers like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, Water for Elephants, Oh Myyy! – There Goes The Internet, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, All the King’s Men, Wonder Boys, Ask for It, The Princess Bride, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, The Atlantis Gene, Kitchen Confidential, The Sisterhood, Crazy Little Thing, The Blind Side, and The Giver, plus thousands of classics such as Animal Farm, To the Lighthouse, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Cat’s Cradle, and The Good Earth, as well as books featuring beloved children’s characters from Sesame Street, and useful reference titles including books from the For Dummies series and Lonely Planet travel guides.

Unlimited listening: Keep the story going with unlimited access to more than 2,000 audiobooks from Audible with Whispersync for Voice, and switch seamlessly between reading and listening to customer favorites like the Hunger Games trilogy, Life of Pi, The Handmaid’s Tale, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, The Great Santini, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Winter’s Tale, Boardwalk Empire, El Narco, Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies, Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog, The Finisher, Johnny Carson, The Stranger I Married, and Life Code.

Kindle exclusives: Choose from hundreds of thousands of books only found on Kindle, including Brilliance by Marcus Sakey, The Hangman’s Daughter series by Oliver Pötzsch, War Brides by Helen Bryan, Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct and Matthew Hope books, When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde, Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath, Chasing Shadows by CJ Lyons, and Sick by Brett Battles.

Short Reads: For a quick escape, select from thousands of books that are 100 pages or less, including Kindle Singles from Stephen King, Andy Borowitz, and Nelson DeMille, and short fiction from Amazon Publishing’s StoryFront imprint.
Free three-month Audible membership: In addition to the thousands of professionally narrated audiobooks from Audible included in Kindle Unlimited, subscribers get a complimentary three-month Audible membership, with access to more than 150,000 titles.

Popular Kindle features: Enjoy all the great Kindle features customers love such as Whispersync, Popular Highlights, X-Ray, customer reviews, and Goodreads integration.

Read and listen everywhere: Access across Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps for iPhone, iPad, Android tablets and phones, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, PC, Mac and Windows 8—so you always have your library with you and never lose your place.

For more details on Kindle Unlimited, visit www.amazon.com/kindleunlimited.

About Amazon.com

Amazon opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995. The company is guided by three principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire phone, Fire tablets, and Fire TV are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon.

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6 thoughts on “Amazon Officially Launches Ebook Subscription Service, Kindle Unlimited

  1. Lovely for Amazon and maybe for subscribers, but this indie author makes thirty times the income on Kobo that she makes on Amazon. Go Select? Not likely!

  2. I would have valued this article a bit better if some of the better known authors featured on both Scribd and Oyster had been mentioned, as a contrast to those exclusive with Kindle Unlimited.

    It also would be more truthful to also mention that there are hundreds of thousands of indie titles available through all three, Amazon’s KDP, Scribd, and Oyster, that are not in Kindle Unlimited (KU). And that search results by customers may be skewed toward titles in KU.

    That all being said, I think Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited is a good option for someone to try alongside Scribd and / or Oyster, which is what I am doing, and seeing which platform offers me more of what I would like to read.

    For example, KU has Joe Konrath, in addition to the big names rolled out in the article. And Scribd and Select have folk like (some of) Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books.

    Eventually, what I would like to see is, besides individual writers who make their own deals regarding exclusivity, that Amazon would remove the exclusion clause for indies to be in Kindle Unlimited.

    Then there would be true competition. And I don’t believe Amazon would suffer at all.

    And readers would benefit. Oh, and writers like me :-)

    • Traditionally published authors can have a title on Oyster, Scribd and Kindle Unlimited, but a self-published author can’t. They can be in Oyster & Scribd but not Kindle Unlimited…or they can be in Kindle Unlimited but not Oyster or Scribd. That’s part of the whole problem. They MUST be exclusive with Amazon to be in Kindle Unlimited.

      Of course an author can divide their titles and have some on one platform and some on the other…but I’m advocating for the self-published authors to get the same multi-platform suport that traditional authors do.

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