What is Kindle Unlimited, and is it worth it? I've had it for years, and think it's worth every penny

Swap stacks of expensive paperbacks for your £9.49 subscription

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People are calling it 'Netflix for books', but what is Kindle Unlimited? And is it worth paying for? As someone who had a subscription to Kindle Unlimited for years, I've got the answers to all your questions.

I'm one of life's speed-readers, which means that the price of my paperbacks quickly stacks up. That's why, when the case for Kindle Unlimited (KU) was made to me, it seemed like a no-brainer. Essentially, when you sign up for KU, you pay £9.49 a month to have access to over three million books, audiobooks, comics, and magazines. It's every bookworm's dream come true.

Whether you've invested in one of the best Kindles, you read on a different tablet, or you still read traditional books, you'll be able to do the maths for whether KU is worth it. If you read more than two books per month, Kindle Unlimited makes financial sense.

I've had Kindle Unlimited for over five years now and I think it's worth the money. Over the years I've been able to enjoy some of the best Kindle books deals, including the Bridgerton Series and Harry Potter. However, I'm not blind to the fact that Kindle's daily deals might be a better option for some people who are more selective about what they read. If you're unsure on whether to take the plunge, here's everything you need to know (including how to get Kindle Unlimited for free).

What is Kindle Unlimited?

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Kindle Unlimited sounds pretty dreamy from the outset and, I'll be honest, even in the nitty gritty details, it's an incredible deal. Or, at least, it was for me. Essentially, when you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you pay £9.49 a month to have access to millions of free books from Kindle's library. This will include eBooks, newspapers, comics, and audiobooks. Your magazine quota is unlimited. 

When I say that there are millions of titles on Kindle Unlimited, I'm not using any artistic licence. There are literally three million titles out there. You can scroll through all the books on Kindle Unlimited here, where you'll be able to see that there really is something for everyone, from hard-hitting true stories and fascinating non-fiction to more lively rom-com and light reads.

How many books do I get on Kindle Unlimited?

Books available on Kindle Unlimited

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Whilst Kindle Unlimited has millions of books available, you will be capped at 20 books in your library. This means you can download and read any 20 books at one time. When you've finished one, it's a good idea to remove it from your library to make more room. There's no limit on how many you can delete from your library, so you have, in theory, an endless amount of books to read. You just can't store them all at the same time.

You can also listen to over 6,000 audiobooks on Kindle Unlimited, so you'll never run out of food for thought there. Lots of Kindle Audiobooks are reduced in their daily deals too, so I've managed to listen to some relatively new releases without having to pay a penny.

Those with multiple devices will be pleased to know that Kindle Unlimited isn't capped or locked to just one device. So, if you forget to pack your Kindle Paperwhite on your morning commute, you can download the Kindle app on your phone and have access to your very own Kindle Unlimited from your phone.

What kind of books are on Kindle Unlimited?

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The Kindle Unlimited Library is exactly what you would expect. There's something in every genre, from romance fiction and comedy to critically acclaimed titles and autobiographies. You could read all day, every day, for a whole year and never run out of titles, but, I'll be honest, not every book is of the same calibre. 

From a personal perspective, I've really enjoyed reading the romance and thrillers on KU. The first Bridgerton book, the entire Harry Potter series, The Seven Sisters, and Victoria Hislop's novels are all available on Kindle Unlimited. However, most of this year's big-hitters aren't on there, because the big main publishing houses (Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, or Simon and Schuster) either don't allow their books to be added or they have strict limits on their books.

In fact, most of the latest releases won't make it onto Kindle Unlimited for a good half a year, if ever, so you're more likely to end up reading some relatively obscure books from lesser-known authors while you wait for Jojo Moyes or Mariam Keyes to appear. In many ways, these self-published, lesser-known authors can offer a fresh and interesting perspective on well-trodden genres. However, I have come across plenty of books that I just couldn't get myself to finish. There are plenty of good books on Kindle Unlimited, but there are a lot that I would call B or C-list books if I'm being snobby. 

Generally, there is a good range of books for people who read romance, thrillers, mystery, and women's fiction, but other niches aren't quite as well-served. If you want to, you can see for yourself by browsing Kindle Unlimited books, especially the latest new releases to Kindle Unlimited. You can also take a look at the Kindle Unlimited audiobooks here.

How do I get Kindle Unlimited for free?

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If you're savvy, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Kindle Unlimited for a little less than £9.49 a month. To start with, you can get a 30 day free trial of Kindle Unlimited if you've never had an account before. This is designed to give you a taste of what's on offer and, the likelihood is, you'll keep it running.

If you have an Amazon Prime account you can get Kindle Unlimited free for three months, which is like a prolonged version of the 30-day free trial. It's a great opportunity to see whether you read enough to warrant the price tag, but also to make sure that there are enough books for you on Kindle Unlimited.

Right now, we are lucky, because Amazon Prime Day is right around the corner. Whilst Amazon hasn't yet confirmed any sale details (aside from the dates that it'll be on, which is the 16th and 17th July, if you don't already know), every year we see the best Kindle deals. Some years they've extended the length of the free trial, other years, they've slashed the monthly price. The guess is anyone's but we're pretty certain you'll be able to save some money.

What are the pros and cons of Kindle Unlimited?

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It can be tricky to pin down whether Kindle Unlimited is for you or not, so I've put a list of the pros and cons to help you decide whether one section outweighs the other.

Below are the pros of Kindle Unlimited:

  • If you know you'll read more than two books a month, the £9.49 subscription price is a great money-saver.
  • There are over three million books that you can read, so you won't be short on choice.
  • Kindle Unlimited covers audiobooks, comics, and other media.
  • You're more likely to read niche books that are self-published and unusual.
  • Reading isn't restricted to one device, so you can transfer between multiple devices (your tablet, phone, and eReader) without losing your page
  • You can get a free trial anyway, so you can see whether the books in the Kindle Library will suit you.
  • The app is easy to navigate, so it's easy to build a good reading habit.
  • You can read exclusive books that aren't available anywhere else.
  • You can read multiple books at a time without any limits or late fees.
  • There are books that you might not buy, but you can read them anyway.
  • You don't have to have a Kindle to use it - as long as you can download the app, you can read from any device.

That all sounds very impressive, but Kindle Unlimited isn't without some drawbacks. Here are the ones that stand-out:

  • If you don't read more than two books a month you'll be overpaying 
  • Selective or picky readers might not have access to the specific book that they're looking for. The subscription doesn't cover all books, so you have to be open-minded.
  • The latest releases aren't on there for a long time (and some never make it).
  • The standard of books isn't consistent. Some self-published books are quite amateur (some aren't though).
  • Some people say it's hard to find the exact book your looking for; you're more likely to find a book by chance.
  • Kindle daily deals can give you books for free (or 99p) that are much newer and more popular.
  • Some genres are really underserved, so you won't actually have a choice of three million.

Is Kindle Unlimited worth it?

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If you're a prolific paperback reader who knows that they can get through at least three to five books a year, Kindle Unlimited is a no-brainer. You'll have access to lots of books that are on your long list of books to read, but there are also some more niche, unusual books that you otherwise might not have picked up. I've had it for years and it makes total financial sense for me since speed reading through rom-coms was once one of my biggest outgoings.

However, if you like to take your time over a book, Kindle Unlimited might not make much financial sense for you. The restricted library won't let you access whichever book you've chosen to read that month and so you'll end up limiting your options for more money than a Kindle book would cost anyway. 

It's also not the wisest investment for readers who like to spin through the latest releases. In my experience, Kindle Unlimited won't have access to these until a long while after the hype has dyed down, by which time, your friends will have already dropped the spoilers or they'll have forgotten the plot too much to have an in-depth debrief with you about it. So, if you like to be on top of the latest and greatest on the shelves, you might be better off keeping an eye on Kindle's daily deals. 

FAQs

Does Kindle Unlimited have new releases available?

Whilst there are millions of titles on Kindle Unlimited, those aren't necessarily the ones that are splashed across the Waterstones windows. This is where Kindle Unlimited and Netflix are really similar: they have lots of popular books later down the line and plenty of their own, more niche novels, but they won't have the season's most spoken about.

Is Kindle Unlimited really like Netflix for books?

People have been calling Kindle Unlimited the Netflix of books and the analogy works on many levels. For the monthly subscription price of £9.49, you have access to a library of millions of books. They've got rich titles across a range of genres, from autobiographies, non-fiction novels, holiday reads, and sensational series'. It doesn't stop there either. You can get copies of comics, audiobooks, and all your favourite magazines (I hope you're thinking of us there) to read from your tablet too.

You know how Netflix has its own series and some of the biggest films and sets from the box office? Kindle has the same thing. You'll never be short on things to read and you'll be able to get your teeth stuck into plenty of page-turners (there are titles such as Cut & Thirst by Margaret Atwood, The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin, and Lisa Jewell's The Family Remains name a few), but it's not exhaustive. Some of the newest books with limited copyrights won't be on offer with Kindle Unlimited, which can be a bit frustrating if you like to be on top of the hottest books in Waterstones.

The way Kindle Unlimited works is by 'renting' books to you. On your account, you can 'check out' 20 different titles at the same time. It's a lot like libraries, but without the due date being stamped on the front of your book. That means there are also no fines for late returns. Once you've finished your book, you can return it and take out a new one. It's every bookworm's dream.

How do I get Kindle Unlimited for free?

It's the big question, isn't it? Whilst you won't be able to have Kindle Unlimited free forever, you'll be able to get at least a 30-day free trial by following a few simple steps. At the moment, I've found a way to get three months of Kindle Unlimited free, which is perfect for the summer and holidays, but Kindle is quite clear that it's a limited deal only, so grab it while you can.

Do I have to have a Kindle to get Kindle Unlimited?

You don't need a Kindle to enjoy Kindle Unlimited. All you need to do is download the Kindle App on whichever device you have and you can read from your tablet or phone. In fact, plenty of people have the app on their phone, so if you're travelling without your Kindle and thinking about what's happening in the next chaper of your page-turner, or you want to re-read a section, you can do so.

Can I share my Kindle Unlimited with other devices?

Yes - you can share your Kindle Unlimited between different devices. The subscription will only work with your Kindle account. Each member of the family will need their own login, but they can use that across the app, their Kindle, and any other devices.

How do I cancel my Kindle Unlimited subscription?

If you've had your trial and you're not sure that Kindle Unlimited is for you, it's easy to cancel your subscription. All you have to do is go to Your Memberships & Subscriptions, which is in your account settings. Then select 'Cancel Kindle Unlimited Subscription.' Amazon will keep your subscription active right up until your next billing date. Once that's passed, you'll lose access to all the titles you had previously downloaded.

Laura Honey
Contributing Ecommerce Writer

Laura is a self-confessed, floral-obsessed, fragrance aficionado. She started out her career working for the luxury British perfume brand, Penhaligon's. Whilst working for the iconic brand, Laura qualified as a Master Perfumer and has now set up her own perfume studio. You'll often find her experimenting with her own perfumes, even though she still owns (and buys) more fragrances than she will ever admit to.Alongside her passion for perfume, Laura graduated with an English degree from Oxford University. Whilst there, she belonged to a number of women's groups, so was eager to move into women's writing. Her first job was with the female-owned fashion brand, The White Company. Here, Laura was their only Fashion Writer, so she helped to plan, write and promote the company's quality, luxury, and timeless clothing, season after season. In her evenings, she worked on a women's health start-up, which is coming to the market soon, offering supplements for women's health. Laura is also the eCommerce editor at one of Future's other magazines, Homes & Gardens where she specialises in covering all their coffee and product content, looking for pieces that are tailored for timelessness. The secret to her heart is both simplicity and quality.