Amazon launches Kindle Unlimited

After a leak briefly surfaced earlier this week Amazon has officially launched Kindle Unlimited, a $9.99 per-month eBook subscription service.

Already being promoted on their Kindle site the Kindle Unlimited service lets users choose from over 600,000 eBooks and more than 2,000 audiobooks from Audible with Whispersync for Voice. Eligible titles in the Kindle store will be marked with the Kindle Unlimited logo and users will be able to simply click ‘Read for Free’ to download. You can keep up to ten books at a time and there are no due dates.

In a press release on the Amazon site Russ Grandinetti, Senior Vice President, Kindle writes, “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. 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.”

Kindle Unlimited is available across all Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps for iPhone, iPad, Android tablets and phones, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, PC, Mac and Windows 8.

Customers can get a free 30-day trial and subscribers get a complimentary three-month Audible membership, with access to more than 150,000 titles. The program is currently only available to United States customers.

As many other reports about Kindle Unlimited have mentioned, not every book publisher is represented in the list of available titles (although you may be able to purchase those titles separately) and the Kindle Unlimited help pages mention that not all Audible titles are available for free for every Kindle Unlimited title, but there should be plenty to keep you occupied for a while.

This seems like a logical extension to the Kindle library of eBooks and Audible titles and you wonder why they haven’t done something like this earlier. My guess is that when Amazon went back and looked at the statistics and buying habits of eBook customers they found that when you average out the number of titles purchased by avid readers who buy dozens of books a month with those who only buy one or two in a year it came out to less than three titles a month. So charging $9.99 per-month would net slightly more income for Amazon than only offering titles for sale. That way they could split the profits with the authors or publishers and still make a profit.

Either way, it sounds like a good deal for those of us who like to read.

You can learn more about the Amazon Kindle Unlimited program here.