If you’ve been reading books from Amazon, you’ve probably heard about the Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading programs.
Both programs boast of offering “unlimited reading” on a vast choice of books and popular magazines for their members, at a surprisingly low monthly fee.
But how do the two programs differ from each other?
And which would benefit you more, Kindle Unlimited or Prime Reading? Or would you be better off with neither?
Let’s answer the questions one by one.
What Is Kindle Unlimited?
Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service offered by Amazon and has been available since July 2014. In a nutshell, the service is like Spotify for music or Netflix for movies.
Kindle Unlimited allows unlimited access to, at the time of writing, more than 1.5 million titles, including hundreds of thousands of titles in various foreign languages.
That includes not only books, but also comic books, audiobooks, and popular magazines (think Outdoor Life, Parents, and Popular Science!)
- Comic Books
- Popular Magazines
- And.. of course… regular Books
The books available belong to various genres, from romance, to finance and science.
Thousands of them also come with a narrated Audible audiobook. This means you can make use of Whispersync for Voice to continue reading a book right at the page you were listening to and vice versa.
With a focus geared more toward independent authors and a few specific books and genres, you’ll be able to explore writing styles, genres, and authors that you may have not otherwise found out about.
Kindle Unlimited offers the perfect way to reach past typical genres and authors that you are most used to reading, allowing you to step out of your reading comfort zone while still getting to enjoy popular and fun classics.
What Is Prime Reading?
It allows Amazon Prime members to browse and read more than a thousand eBooks, magazines, comic books, and more.
Similar to Kindle Unlimited, Prime Reading includes books to borrow for free with Audible narration.
Thanks to that, you can enjoy switching between listening to an audiobook and reading it on your device seamlessly.
Basically, it is “Kindle Limited.” It offers a pared-down catalog of the content of the Unlimited program.
What Selections of Books Do Each Offer?
Both Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited have a great variation of books on different topics for you to discover.
However, there are differences in the size and the quality of the content offered with each program.
Kindle Unlimited Books
With Kindle Unlimited, you can discover more than 1 million titles of books, magazines, comic books, audiobooks, and more.
However, a majority of the titles are self-published by new writers and authors.
The Kindle Unlimited library includes the occasional new release and some massive bestsellers such as:
- Harry Potter series
- Animal Farm
- Hunger Games series
- The Lord of the Rings
- Skip Langdon series
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- The Complete Novels of Jane Austen
- Mary Poppins series
However, there is generally a lack of titles from the big five publishing companies, including Penguin Random House and Macmillan.
While you can find several classics and best-sellers, most finds will be smaller titles.
This means you may have difficulties looking for some books from your favorite authors.
However, Kindle Unlimited gives you access to hidden gems that may have not made a huge splash.
So, it’s a great program for avid readers always looking for the next great novel or author.
Amazon Prime Books
Prime Reading, meanwhile, looks more like a subset of the selection from Kindle Unlimited. However, it is known for the quality of the books that are available.
All the titles available to Prime Reading members are handpicked by the editors.
They include best-sellers and popular books from trusted publishing houses.
The number of books you can keep at one time is the same for both programs — ten.
On Which Devices?
You can download the app for free from your App Store or Play Store and immediately start using it.
So, you don’t even need a Kindle e-reader for either of these programs.
What Are the Costs of Each Program?
Kindle Unlimited Pricing
The Kindle Unlimited eBook subscription costs $9.99 a month. With this membership, you can read any book you want that is available, but you can only keep a maximum of 10 books at once in your account.
Of course, you can always return and read other books at all times and at no additional cost!
With your monthly Kindle Unlimited subscription, you will still be able to use your regular Amazon subscription in any way you wish, including buying other books and goods on the marketplace.
If you’re not ready to commit to the paid subscription, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial to see if the program is right for you.
Amazon Prime Reading Pricing
Amazon Prime Reading, on the other hand, is free — if you’re already an Amazon Prime member.
The Amazon Prime program costs $12.99 a month. If you choose to go on an annual plan, the price is $119 per year.
With Prime Reading, you can also sign up for a 30-day free trial.
The Verdict – Which Program Is Better?
Overall, the Kindle Unlimited program is ideal for voracious readers who want to explore new authors and experience the newest literary trends.
If you read five or more new books a month, it’s worth the price. Especially if you prefer to read the more expensive books or audiobooks that are available.
However, if you’re a very occasional reader, Kindle Unlimited may not be your best option.
Keep in mind that several of the e-books available are affordable on their own (ranging between $0.99 and $4.99). So, if the books you read are in the lower price range, you’ll need to read five to nine books per month for the subscription to make sense economically.
Most avid readers, however, will be able to quickly make up the cost of the subscription after reading a few books throughout the month.
Prime Reading, meanwhile, is better for readers that want a more “mainstream” reading experience with better-known books and authors.
As part of Amazon Prime, the subscription also comes with Prime Video (free instant access to video streaming), Prime Music, free unlimited photo storage, and free two-hour, one-day, and two-day delivery. You can even save on Netflix and Spotify!
So, if you frequently shop on Amazon, and also want access to Amazon’s music and movie libraries, the Prime program is a better deal.
Since both programs offer a free 3- day trial period, you can register for each or both for a month and see which one is more suitable for your needs!
Another choice is to go on and off the membership depending on your needs. If you’re on vacation, for example, it’s a good time to try Kindle Unlimited.
No worries about the risks, because it’s free to cancel any time.
The following are a few of the more commonly asked questions regarding these subscription programs and a summary of other pertinent information.
How does Kindle Unlimited work and what are the limits of Kindle Unlimited?
When you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you’re gaining access to over a million Kindle titles including eBooks, audiobooks, and magazines.
You can then read these titles on any Amazon device or the Kindle app and borrow titles as often as you wish with no due dates. Ten titles can be kept at a time.
Kindle Unlimited is separate from Amazon Prime and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
Instead, it is a service that stands apart and comes with a monthly fee of $9.99 with no limit on how many books you read in a month. The only limitation is having ten titles at one given time.
What are the best Kindle Unlimited Books 2021?
The best Kindle Unlimited books of 2021 come from several genres, so there is plenty to choose from.
The following are just a few of the best titles taken from genres like biographies and memoirs, business and money, graphic novels, romance, mystery, thriller, and suspense, literary fiction, and young adult.
- Hung Like a Seahorse: A Real-Life Transgender Adventure of Tragedy, Comedy, and Recovery by Quinn Alexander Fontaine
- The Tenth Island: Finding Joy, Beauty, and Unexpected Love in the Azores by Diana Marcum
- The Size of Everything: A Memoir by Erin Cole
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
- Big Debt Crises by Ray Dalio
- Adulthood is a Myth: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen
- How to Be a Super Kid: Six Scoops to Earning Your Super Kid Status by Abigail E. Perez
- Nelson Beats the Odds written by Ronnie Sidney II, illustrated by Traci Wagoner and Kurt Keller
- The Bridge by Jill Cox
- The Kiss Thief by LJ Shen
- Say You’re Sorry by Melinda Leigh
- True Places: A Novel by Sonja Yoerg
- I am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
- The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker
- Love in Exile by Ayse Kulin
- My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay
- The Waiting Room: A Novel by Laura Markovitch
How does Kindle Unlimited work on the app?
When you download Kindle Unlimited for your mobile device (iPhone or Android), it is almost the same as having an actual Kindle in your hands.
You can read the books you purchase on Amazon, have access to over a thousand titles that are included with Prime.
And you can read and listen to titles with Audible narration. It is a way to carry all of your Kindle eBooks with you wherever you go.
All of the titles you purchase on Amazon will automatically appear in the app. If you are a Kindle Unlimited or Prime member, you can also select and download eBooks from the app directly.
You also gain the advantage of sampling any eBook for free, discover what other readers are interested in via the newsfeed, and have a much more customizable reading experience right from your mobile device.
What is included in Kindle Unlimited?
With a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you will have access to over one million titles in the Kindle store.
Among these titles, you will find books, audiobooks, and magazines.
You can keep up to ten titles at one time, but you have unlimited access with your subscription to any other titles you want for the duration of the year.
What is the difference between Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime?
Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime are both Amazon programs.
When you look at what these two programs do and how to use them, you will find that they are very similar.
You can access a variety of titles and can get them on an Amazon device or through the Kindle app.
There are also no due dates. Amazon’s program, Prime Reading, is just one of the many benefits Amazon Prime offers.
It is included in the annual Amazon Prime membership. Kindle Unlimited, on the other hand, is a standalone subscription service that is separate from Amazon Prime.
Also, you can purchase a Kindle Unlimited subscription even if you do not have an Amazon Prime membership.
The next biggest difference is what titles are available for each of these programs.
With Prime Reading, you only have access to around 1,000 titles, and they are rotated in and out.
With Kindle Unlimited, you have access to over one million titles.
Can I give Kindle Unlimited as a gift?
Yes, you can purchase a Kindle Unlimited Gift.
Simply go to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Gift landing page, select the membership duration you desire − 6, 12, or 24 months.
You can then click the orange button to add this gift to your cart. There is also an area that allows you to personalize a message to go alongside the gift. You can also choose which day to deliver the gift if you want to schedule it in advance.
Once they receive the gift, they can load up the Kindle Unlimited months they were gifted onto the Amazon account. Or they can refuse the Kindle Unlimited gift and instead obtain a gift card with the purchase price and have the gift card directly added to their Amazon account.
You can also give a 3- or 12-month Amazon Prime subscription as a gift for holidays, a wedding, or just because.
What are the best Kindle Unlimited books of all time?
Several Kindle Unlimited books have made it on top Kindle bestseller lists, and we have a few of those titles to share with you today.
When you acquire a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you will want to see how many eligible titles there are that are worth reading.
All three books in the Hunger Games Trilogy written by Suzanne Collins are on the list of the top fifteen Kindle Unlimited books of all time.
You will also find The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood under literature and fiction as well as The Complete User’s Guide to the Amazing Amazon Kindle by Stephen Windwalker listed under the reference genre.
Can you keep Kindle Unlimited books?
You are able to keep up to ten titles from Kindle Unlimited in your account at all times. Therefore, you can’t plan on building an extensive collection of eBooks, audiobooks, and magazines from them.
Is Kindle Unlimited free for Prime members?
Kindle Unlimited is not free for Amazon Prime users and still costs the same $9.99 monthly fee as it does for non-Amazon Prime users.
With this subscription, you can read an unlimited number of books each month, but keep in mind you can only hold onto ten titles at a time.
Is there a free trial of Kindle Unlimited?
Yes, you can try out the service for a month using the free trial. With your first month free, you can try out any aspect of the Kindle Unlimited subscription and read any of the books and magazines or listen to any of the Kindle audiobooks available.
The free trial gives you the option to see if you’re going to enjoy the service before you commit to spending $9.99 a month on it.
How do you purchase a Kindle Unlimited subscription?
Amazon members can purchase a Kindle Unlimited subscription using their active Amazon account. Just search for “Kindle Unlimited” under the “Kindle e-readers and Books” tab on the main menu.
First, you can sign up for the free trial, and then you’ll automatically be charged after your trial ends.
If you do not have an Amazon account, you can sign up for the 30-day free trial of Kindle Unlimited using this link.
Once you sign up, you’ll have to enable 1-Click Ordering in your Amazon account to use the service on your preferred reading device.
To activate 1-click ordering, follow these steps:
- Navigate to Manage Addresses and 1-Click Settings.
- Next to your address, click “make default.”
- Change settings.
How do you return books on Kindle Unlimited?
You’ll have to get familiar with the process behind returning books on Kindle Unlimited since you can only have ten books at a time.
While there are no due dates, you’ll still want to continue to return books so that you can try more of the books, audiobooks, and magazines.
Here’s the easy process:
- Log on to the Amazon site and navigate to the Kindle store.
- Click on “Your Account.”
- Select “manage your content and devices.”
- Click on your book, and then select “Return This Title.”
How do you cancel your Kindle Unlimited subscription?
If you’ve decided that you don’t want to continue with your subscription, either during or long after your free trial, it’s simple to cancel your Kindle Unlimited subscription.
Since the subscription is on a month-to-month basis, you aren’t entering into a binding, year-long subscription.
Here are the steps to cancel:
- Log into your Amazon account, and navigate to your settings.
- Navigate to Kindle Unlimited settings, and then “Manage Your Membership.”
- Select the option to cancel your membership.
Remember to cancel before your next billing cycle to avoid getting charged.
However, if you do cancel after the start of a new billing period, you’ll still have access to your subscription until the end of that billing period.