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Is Kindle Unlimited A Good Deal?

unlimited books on Kindle for $9.99 per monthOne of my biggest impulse buy temptations is Kindle books. For years, I was a hold out and refused adapting to e-books. I thought I preferred an actual text in my hands, and I liked the look of books on a shelf. Doesn’t that make you seem smarter? Anyway, my office staff gave me a Kindle, 2nd generation a few years ago, and I was hooked. No more carrying books around. No more not having a book when I want one. I upgraded to a Kindle Fire about a year ago, and it’s like crack for avid readers. Almost any book in a few seconds. What’s not to like?

Well, that also presents a problem. I have been known to binge read. It’s kind of like binge watching, but can cost much more if you have to buy several books in a series. I am not one who can space it out either. It’s a wonder my family got fed during the four days it took me to read the Hunger Games trilogy. I try to limit my Kindle purchases, but it’s really hard if I find a series or author I like. When I heard about Kindle Unlimited, I wondered if this might be a good deal for binge readers like myself.

What Is Kindle Unlimited?

Kindle Unlimited is a new subscription service from Amazon that costs $9.99 per month. With it, you can read or listen to as many books or audio books as you want on any device. Obviously, Amazon would like you to have a Kindle or Kindle Fire, but you can download a Kindle app on just about any tablet or smartphone. As long as you pay the monthly fee, you can keep these books on your device and read them as many times as you want. If you stop paying, all the Kindle Unlimited books go back to Amazon.

Isn’t This The Same As Amazon Prime?

One benefit of Amazon Prime is that you can “check out” one book per month from a certain list of eligible titles. You can keep it as long as you like, but you are limited to one per month and one at a time. When I first signed up for Amazon Prime back in January, the selection was pretty crappy, but just like Prime Instant Video, it has improved remarkably over the past year. I actually discovered Kindle Unlimited from a book I borrowed on Prime. I got hooked on the Wayward Pines series by Blake Crouch and now I want to read everything he’s written. It’s kind of like Stephen King meets Twin Peaks, and he has lots of books! That’s why I signed up for Unlimited. One a month was not gonna cut it.

Are There New Titles on Kindle Unlimited?

Yes and No. There is a list of new releases, but it isn’t full of New York Times Best Sellers. If you want to read books by John Grisham or the Fifty Shades of Grey series, you won’t find them on Kindle Unlimited. I do read popular novels, but I usually like more obscure things, so Unlimited seems to have plenty of those. I was also pleased to see some personal finance books like I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. The big names like Dave Ramsey, David Bach, or Suze Orman are not available on Unlimited or Prime for that matter. I guess they need to make more money than a subscription service offers!

What About Kid’s Books?

I’m happy and sad to say that my daughter is shaping up to be a binge reader like her mom. She has already read most of the series books at the library like Junie B. Jones and Magic Treehouse. It’s hard to keep her in reading material, so I was glad to see a pretty good selection of children’s books on Unlimited, including things like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter.

Can’t You Just Go To The Library?

Yes, you can. I love the library and use it all the time. The problem with our local library is funding. They have limited resources and don’t get tons of new books. Yes, you can do interlibrary loan, and it’s smart to do that. However, if there is a book I really want and it takes a month to get, I will buy it on Kindle. Again, not proud, but that’s my Achilles heel. Smart people would choose the library option and forget Kindle altogether, but I only look smart because I have lots of books.

Is Kindle Unlimited a Good Deal?

Well, just like any other purchase, it depends. If you read more than $9.99 worth of Kindle Books per month, it’s a great deal. If you don’t read and don’t buy books, it’s a waste of money. I look at this expense as entertainment. If it works with your entertainment budget and you use and value it, it’s a good deal.

Free 30 Day Trial

Kindle Unlimited gives new users a 30 day free trial, which is what I’m in the middle of. I still have no idea if I’ll keep it or not. Some months I read quite a bit, then I might go 2 or three months without books. I get lots more sleep when I don’t have a good book around! If you do sign up and don’t use $9.99 worth per month, don’t forget to cancel. Paying for anything you don’t use is never a good deal.

Have you tried Kindle Unlimited? Do you think it’s a good deal or a rip off?

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. I think kindle unlimited is a great deal! I have more books on my to read list than I can possibly imagine. I’m OK with not having the best sellers as there are a lot of other great books to read. For $20 a month for both kindle unlimited and Google Play Music I can read almost every book and listen to any artist. – Goodbye bookshelves and CD racks.

  2. I have a friend who traded her netflix subscription for a kindle unlimited subscription. Her theory was that she needed some sort of open-ended entertainment option, and that she enjoyed reading more than netflixing. Makes sense to me! I use the library a lot, but it’s really convenient to my work commute route. If I had to make a major detour I would take a harder look at the kindle option.

  3. Jumping off what Mr. FW said, I think if you use it a lot and it brings you a lot of joy, then it’s a pretty good price. And maybe you’re wiling to give up something else like Netflix. Or hey, maybe you don’t have to. It wouldn’t be a good deal for me, but then again, I don’t have time to read a lot it seems. But it sounds like it would be for you!

    • That’s just the thing. I really don’t have time to read either, but I just can’t help it and next thing you know, I’ve only had 4 hours of sleep!

  4. The Mrs has amazon prime and she loves it. I prefer reading the actual book, as my eyes cant take any more screens. I work 8 hours on a computer screen, 1-2 hours blogging, and TV. ITs too much for me, but I might use my kindle more if I had unlimited books available. Thanks.

    • I totally get the need to unplug. I don’t like to read on computers, but the Kindle doesn’t bother me. I can actually read it in the car, while reading actual books makes me sick. No idea how that works.

  5. I avoided e-readers for a long time as well but I heard a lot of good thing about the Kindle from some of my friends (the smart ones!) and I decided to pick one up when it was on sale. I absolutely love it. I do go to the library often because you can’t find everything with Amazon Prime but it’s a great complement to the library. I was thinking about Unlimited but it wouldn’t be worth the money for me. Hope it works out well for you!

  6. I was slow to adopt an e-reader too. I love books and going to bookstores. But the fact that I had to keep giving away books, due to lack of space, finally convinced me to give it a try. And I’m so glad I did. I love my Kindle! Right now, I’m buying most books through Amazon gift cards (either I get them as gifts or use reward points for them. Not much of a traveler, which makes me weird but there you go) but it would be something I would consider since it’s not limited the way Prime is. It concerns me when you say there’s not a ton of new books available but then again, it took awhile for Prime to improve it’s offerings too.

    • Most of my family hates to travel, which makes me weird, I guess. There are new books, it just doesn’t seem like they are the popular authors.

  7. I’m finding both Kindle Unlimited and Scribd to be good for me. They have different titles, and both have work from authors I like. I like not having to worry trying out an author or title and finding it’s not what I want to read. And, I’m finding it’s kinda fun having several books going at one time. I reach a stopping point with one, and find the change of pace to another kinda fun. Sorta like watching different episodes of different shows from the DVR. (smiles)

  8. I need to get the free thirty day trial. I spend more an eBooks than I care to admit. And I read a lot of indie authors who are more likely to be enrolled in the Kindle unlimited program. It’d probably save me some money by joining.

  9. I am using the Kindle Unlimited in the free trial period now, and I have found the selection to be pretty awful. Bunch of junk by third-rate amateurs and weirdos. Seems like a waste of time to even search through.

    For example, I will be traveling to Korea and Japan soon, so I thought I would read some good history or cultural studies on those countries. First looked for Korea. But almost nothing respectably academic at all. Books on Korea on Amazon Unlimited consist of just a bunch of self-published travel guides by semi-literate 20-something English teachers, then cookbooks, again by amateurs, and lastly, book after book of unexceptional Korea War accounts. No mainstream Korean history at all. Frankly, the time it takes to weed through all the crap is not worth it.

    Same problem with books about Japan. Crappy travel books, crappy war narratives. Endless childish geisha and samurai junk.

    Well, ok, I thought, maybe Korea and Japan are minor subjects. How about American history.

    Nope. Same crappy selection. Third-rate and fourth-rate junk.

    I don’t know. Maybe Scribd is better. Or maybe this is just the nature of this business model. Like having a flat-fee book smorgasbord from endless boxes of 10-cent bargain books stacked ceiling high in a warehouse. Good look finding anything worthwhile. I think I’ll pass.

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