Music is already deep into its evolution as a monthly subscription streaming service. Movies and TV shows have the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. Today? It’s a gift to the readers among us. If you have a Kindle or an iOS device, you can now read-all-you-want for $10 per month.
Before you start cheering, there are some caveats with the new Kindle Unlimited. It is essentially the same as the old Kindle library system. There are over 600,000 titles available, but Amazon’s fight with publishing houses has put a ceiling in place for now.
The $10 price-point is for making the program available on Apple devices. It also removes the limits on borrowing periods and number of titles you can read each month.
There are solid titles available at the outset, including hits like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings series. The entire Hunger Games trilogy is also available.
To get the ball rolling on the service, Amazon is starting off with a 30-day free trial. That’s probably smart with the hard cap of titles available to start with. The push onto Apple devices allows it to compete with any possible subscription model by Apple. Apple is already gearing up to to enter the subscription music market with its Beats acquisition. It isn’t a stretch to see the company try its hand at books with iBooks.
Russ Grandinetti, senior vice president of Kindle, released a statement on Kindle Unlimited.
“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. We hope you take advantage of the 30-day free trial and try it for yourself.”
Subscribers to the new service will get a free three-month Audible trial that contains over 150,000 audiobooks. Kindle Unlimited itself will include 2,000 audiobooks.
Will this become the Netflix of books? With Amazon’s ability to throw cash at a vertical, it’s a good bet it succeeds. The question remains is how will major publishing arms react to a subscription-based model? You can expect serious growing pains with this move as the old guard resists the change.