Amazon has launched a new ebook subscription service, giving customers access to thousands of titles (including some audiobooks) for $9.99 a month.
The company said Friday that the Kindle Unlimited service will give users the ability to read as much as they want from more than 600,000 Kindle titles such as “The Hunger Games” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” They can also listen as much as they want to thousands of Audible audiobooks, including “Water for Elephants.”
The service, currently only available in the US, has a limited selection of titles. Most ebooks available able on the service are from Amazon’s own publishing imprints or by self-published authors who’d previously enrolled their books in KDP Select.
A Kindle Unlimited logo will be attached to eligible titles. The subscription service is available beginning Friday and is accessible via Kindle devices or with Amazon’s free Kindle reading apps.
There are books from traditional publishers as well including Abrams, Algonquin, Workman, Open Road and Bloomsbury, among others. Two thousand audiobooks from Audible are included, and a membership to Kindle Unlimited comes with a free three-month Audible subscription.
“You can keep up to ten books at a time and there are no due dates,” according to Amazon’s help pages. “Read your Kindle Unlimited books on any Kindle device or free Kindle reading apps.”
“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,” Russ Grandinetti, SVP of Kindle, said in a statement. 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.”
Amazon is offering a free 30-day trial to entice users to try the service. The move is a switch from Amazon’s latest efforts, which have all been about adding services to its Prime loyalty program. The company has recently launched a video streaming box and grocery delivery service, unveiled plans for a smartphone and expanded its Sunday delivery service, all for members of Prime. But Kindle Unlimited is for anyone with a Kindle device or app who wants to subscribe.
The move comes at an uneasy time for Amazon and its relationship with publishers, because it has been in a public squabble with Hachette over e-book prices. The terms that Amazon worked out with the publishers who are part of Kindle Unlimited was not disclosed.
Rivalry with Scribd and Oyster
The new service puts Amazon in direct competition with Scribd, which offers a service for $8.99 a month for access to 400,000 books. Oyster offers 500,000 books for $9.95 a month. Both services offer HarperCollins books, among other publishers.
But Amazon is the biggest company to roll out the service and has the advantage of having a dedicated base of users through its Kindle devices and Kindle app, which runs on most wireless devices.
Watch this promo video here: