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What is Kindle Unlimited? Everything you need to know

How much does it cost? And what exactly do you get for your money?

Published onSeptember 6, 2023

Amazon Kindle 2022 Series Stack
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Amazon Kindle revolutionized reading. There was no longer any need to fill half of your luggage with weighty novels as you headed off on a beach trip — one paperback-sized device could contain 1,000 years of reading material. A subscription service was inevitable thereafter, and Kindle Unlimited was born. But what is Kindle Unlimited?

This complete guide will explain everything about the only subscription that bookworms will ever need.

What is Kindle Unlimited?

Kindle Unlimited Homepage

Kindle Unlimited is an ebook subscription service from Amazon that launched way back in 2014. For a monthly subscription fee, you get access to a huge library of ebooks, audiobooks, comics, and magazines. There’s no extra to pay, whether you read one or 20 books each month.

The library includes over three million titles, including bestsellers, new releases, and popular titles across various genres such as romance, thriller, sci-fi, and more. Whether you’re more of a Harry Potter or a Jason Bourne person, there will be something for you.

How does Kindle Unlimited work?

Unlike audiobook apps such as Audible. You don’t buy and keep ebooks through Kindle Unlimited. It is more akin to a library. Once you have your membership — your subscription, in this case — then it is free to borrow books. You do this by downloading them, and you can have up to 20 titles downloaded at any one time. Once you’re finished with an ebook, you can remove it from your list and download another.

An important clarification to make is that you do not require a Kindle to take advantage of the service. Thanks to the free app, you can download and read books on your subscription from any device.

What does Kindle Unlimited include?

Kindle Paperwhite 2021 reading a book
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

If you’re wondering are all books available on Kindle Unlimited? The answer is no. As we’ve mentioned, there are over three million titles available, so there is likely to be a wealth of interesting content for even niche readers. However, licensing deals need to be arranged with authors and publishers for Amazon to make books available on the service, so inevitably there will be notable omissions. You’re able to check out the selection for yourself before joining.

For people who prefer to listen instead of read, perhaps in the car or while doing chores, the next question might be, does Kindle Unlimited have audiobooks? It does indeed. The selection is not as exhaustive as the likes of Audible, which is also an Amazon company. But there are many top titles, including Life of Pi and Great Expectations. All audiobooks are professionally narrated, so you can lie back and relax.

It also includes magazine subscriptions, meaning that if you subscribe to a particular periodical, the latest edition will be released to your library as soon as it is available.

How much is Kindle Unlimited per month?

Amazon Kindle 2022 Dark
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The subscription service costs $9.99 per month in the US. You can make the monthly payment using the credit card saved in your Amazon account, and you have the freedom to cancel your subscription anytime via your Amazon account.

The good news is that, in true Amazon fashion, a 30-day free trial is available to new customers. There’s no obligation to continue the service once your free trial concludes, but you’ll have to cancel it before the end to avoid being charged.

Does Kindle Unlimited come with Prime?

Paperwhite 2021 showing the notes clippings page next to a notebook
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Amazon Prime doesn’t include Kindle Unlimited for a couple of reasons. The main one we suspect is that Amazon ideally wants you to subscribe to both services. The licensing rights to that many titles aren’t cheap, and the Bezos juggernaut needs to turn a profit somehow.

But Amazon Prime does include some free ebooks and audiobooks on a more streamlined service known as Prime Reading. More on that is below. Prime members also have a free monthly credit on Amazon First Reads, which means they can download a newly released book for free every month from a curated selection of editor’s picks.

Prime Reading vs Kindle Unlimited: How do they compare?

We pointed out above that Amazon Prime subscribers do have an ebook resource called Prime Reading. As with Kindle Unlimited, there is a selection of ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines to choose from, and you can borrow up to 10 titles at a time. There’s also a higher proportion of mainstream titles to obscure books on Prime Reading, so if you’re already a Prime subscriber, it would be worth checking out the library of Prime Reading before forking out the extra $10 per month.

Where Kindle Unlimited has a clear advantage, and what you pay extra for, is the size of the libraries. Prime Reading has over 3,000 titles compared to more than three million on Kindle Unlimited, so the latter has Prime Reading beat by a ratio of about ten to one in terms of selections. You also don’t need a Kindle to enjoy books from Prime Reading.

The choice between the two completely depends on two things: Whether you’re an Amazon Prime member already and the range of titles you want to choose from. If you have a Prime subscription and you just want to check out a few titles for a trip, you might as well take advantage of the Prime Reading library for no extra money. If you don’t have Prime and you’re a bit of a bookworm, Kindle Unlimited is a more obvious choice.

Is Kindle Unlimited worth it?

Book cover as wallpaper
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

As we touched upon above, Amazon Prime members might not feel it’s worth the extra $10 per month to get a more expanded range of titles with Kindle Unlimited, especially as many of the extra books you’ll have access to are more indie titles.

You also need to take your average book consumption per month into account. If you only read one or two books each month, it might work out cheaper to just buy the ebook on Amazon. Many top titles are surprisingly affordable in ebook form, so if you can get one or two of them for under $10, you’re not making savings with Kindle Unlimited, plus you’ve purchased the titles for future reading.

But if you’re a voracious reader and you like the look of the selection in the Kindle Unlimited library, purchasing a selection could be excellent value for money. It’s certainly worth giving the free trial a go and then assessing towards the end of the free month if you’d be getting your money’s worth at full price.


If you have Amazon Household set up, Kindle Unlimited allows you to share your account. This means that anyone in your household can access the same selection of books, magazines, and audiobooks through the app on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

While both are Amazon products, Kindle Unlimited doesn’t include an Audible subscription. However, it does include over 5,000 free Audible audiobooks.

You sure can. Head to the Kindle Unlimited gift page to purchase it for a friend or loved one. You can select from a six-month, 12-month, or 24-month subscription. You then provide the email address of the recipient, and they’ll receive your gift.

Yes, they are two standalone subscription services.

Yes. From Verity and Hopeless to Hope and Layla, there are a number of Colleen Hoover titles available on the service.

Not exactly, and this is where it is different from a library. There is no due date on the books you borrow, but you can only have 20 in your library at any one time. And if you end your subscription, you’ll no longer have access to the titles.