November 21, 2014

Amazon Now Offers a Monthly Book Subscription, Kindle Unlimited

kindle unlimited

Book lovers getting their business books from Amazon may be interested to learn that the online retail giant now offers a service like Netflix, but for books.

For $10 per month, you can get unlimited access to over 600,000 ebooks with Kindle Unlimited. A 30-day free trial is available. Subscriptions also come with three months of complimentary Audible membership, which offers access to 150,000 audio books:

The deal could be great for those buying business books, but might not be the greatest deal for authors and publishers.

Ebooks are already available for a fraction of the cost of traditional books, which is understandable based on the cost of production. But authors and publishers of ebooks say prices for these items are too low already. Critics say the service could greatly decrease the amount that readers pay to read each book. That will mean decreased earnings for authors.

Similar programs have been released in other industries, like Netflix for movies and Spotify for music. But in those industries the people responsible for creating the content have other ways to bring in money, such as concerts for musicians and box offices for movies.

Of course, giving people cheap access to creative content should increase its visibility. The theory is that those who truly enjoy the work will pay money to actually buy it. But this concept might not apply to the ebook industry as much as it would for something like movies.

Author Brian Heater writing for Digital Trends has come up with one potential bright spot. He explains:

“Services like Kindle Unlimited offer the chance for both Amazon and publishers to continue to make a little extra money off of older titles. We’ll likely continue to see a model similar to the one the movie industry has employed for decades: charge a premium for products right out of the gate, then retire them to a “free” model (TV in the case of movie studios) once the number of people willing to pay directly for a product has sufficiently dwindled. As with digital music, the overhead is almost non-existent, and with book sales down in general, it seems that publishers don’t have a heck of a lot to lose.”

Entrepreneurs and independent authors have seen increased opportunities over the past several years, thanks in part to the growing popularity of ebooks. Amazon has led the way as one of the platforms making it easy for independent authors to self-publish and make their work available.

It remains to be seen whether Amazon’s new program and others like it will draw more attention to ebooks and increase sales. Or will it hurt publishers’ revenues as it makes it easier to obtain ebooks at an even lower cost?

8 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles and feature stories. She is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, social media, and creative topics. When she’s not writing for her various freelance projects or her personal blog Wattlebird, she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

8 Reactions

  1. I agree. The more access people have, the more interested they become in the industry. If you try to censor it just because you are worried about piracy, you also run the risk of losing fans because everything is paid.

    • I tend to agree. I have a Kindle and I’ve used the Prime service to borrow free books that I probably wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. They’re usually older titles, so it’s not something I would have gone out of my way to find and pay for, but it has introduced me to new books and authors that I could potentially purchase in the future.

  2. My wife is a voracious reader, so this is something we’ll likely consider. Right now she uses the library a lot, even checking out their ebooks.

    • I am definitely considering it too. I spend more than that on Kindle books right now anyway. A lot of the books seem to be older titles, but it seems like a good way to discover books and authors that wouldn’t be getting a lot of attention otherwise.

  3. This is definitely good news! My Kindle purchases range between $10 to $30 a month so a subscription service at $10/month will be a great way for me to save on book purchases!

  4. I wonder whether this will be $2 higher in my case. I live in the Philippines and I noticed that Kindle books are always prices $2 higher if I purchase. For example, an $0.99 ebook would be $2.99 if I buy it. Not sure why that is; I can imagine digital delivery costing more for the Philippines.

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