If you’re a paid subscriber to a service like Spotify or Netflix, the chances are you can scarce remember what life was like before it. Or if you can, it probably doesn’t bear thinking about. Life without unlimited on-demand media? Shudder.
What with the roaring success that those streaming services have had, it should come as little surprise that Amazon has decided to implement a similar scheme for its Kindle e-book library. Kindle Unlimited will grant subscribers (you guessed it) unlimited access to over 400,000 titles for a flat monthly rate.
Whilst this idea makes a lot of sense, we’re not entirely convinced. First of all, 400,000 titles may sound like a lot, but when you consider that there’s currently over 2.5 million titles available for purchase on the Amazon Kindle e-book store it’s an oddly reduced library. Amazon hasn’t said how it plans to determine which books are made available for subscribers and which aren’t, but if you’re paying a fee every month you would surely feel rather aggrieved if the latest best-sellers are being kept from you.
Second of all, the subscription fee is $9.99, which would most likely translate to around £6 over here in the UK. When you consider that the average cost of a popular Kindle e-book would be around the £3 mark, you’d have to be reading an awful lot to get your money’s worth. A keen reader might plough through a sizeable work of fiction in maybe one month – that same literary aficionado would have to more than double their hypothetical reading rate to get any sort of value from the service.
There’s also a third provision which could have an impact on Kindle Unlimited. There are major publishers, such as Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins, absent from the service as they are already engaged in exclusive or semi-exclusive deals with other rival services.
The service is still officially unannounced by Amazon, so more details will surely follow upon its proper unveiling.