At Christmas time last year I decided to reward all my free time with some free books. I've always been an avid reader, despite the slacking off over the last couple years. And how wonderful it would be to have all/most of my reading pleasure on my Kindle Fire (or other Kindle aps).
Does the word FREE appeal to you also? Yeah, I thought so. Except "free" and "unlimited" do not mean the same to Kindle as it means to me.
After the free 30 day trial, "read for free" costs $9.99 per month. This price tag took me a little while to ponder, but I accepted the condition. As mentioned above, I've always been an avid reader, and with unlimited access to "over 640,000 ebooks to choose from as well as over 7,000 audio books," I was sure I could "purchase" more than a mere $10 worth of novels per month. So many books, and no need to be picky. If I don't like it, well it was just part of the monthly package.
Turns out I should have been pickier - or at least have read this article that explains exactly what restrictions and conditions apply to the term "unlimited." Let me highlight just a few of the eight things readers need to know:
2. You won’t find a lot of bestsellers . . .Major publishers opted out from Amazon’s ebook subscription offer. Books from Hachette, MacMillan, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Penguin are not included. In fact, when you go through the list of the New York Times bestsellers in the Kindle Store, you’ll find few that are available via Kindle Unlimited ebook subscription.
3. Don’t expect huge savings – most of Kindle Unlimited books cost $2.99 or less. . . you can expect lots of titles priced $0.99 or $2.99. It’s because Kindle Unlimited is mostly populated by titles from Amazon’s self-publishing platform – Kindle Direct Publishing.
5. You can keep up to 10 Kindle Unlimited titles at a time. It’s below the number of books many readers have at different stage of reading. It’s definitely not enough for anyone who’d like to use Kindle Unlimited for studying.
The advertisement that grabbed my attention and had me signing up for my free trial period read:
Kindle Unlimited gives you the freedom to explore. Try new genres, discover new authors, and dive into new adventures with unlimited access to our wide and varied selection of books.
From rhetoric to romance, or comedy to tragedy, you will find unlimited stories waiting to be discovered. Relive the classics you grew up with, start on that best seller you've been wanting to read or try one of the hundreds of thousands of books you won’t find anywhere. Find your next great read today.
After two months of subscribing to this unlimited service, I was starting to understand on own with regards to points 2 and 3 above. The real shock came the other day when several book recommendations from Amazon arrived in my e-mail, and in viewing the list I discovered four books that I wanted to add to my Kindle. So I clicked on one to "read for free", and instead of seeing the message that my purchase would be auto-delivered to my chosen device, I was informed that I had reached my 10 book limit, and in order to read anything more for free I would have to return the previously downloaded books.
What?!!!? I don't own the books I pay $9.99 a month to read? What really sucks, since I have not read any of the Kindle Unlimited downloads, is that ". . . after cancellation all Kindle Unlimited books will be removed from your account . ." This means that when I cancel this account I will have to pay an additional fee to actually BUY the books I already paid a fee to READ FOR FREE.
If I were to rate and review Kindle Unlimited, I'd give it 2 stars (a good concept if not well executed) and accuse the company of false advertising for readers, and ripping off self-published authors. All over a measly $0.99.