Which books are available on Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited - Test & Experience in 2021

Flat rates are enjoying increasing popularity. EBooks are now also often offered and used at a flat rate. With Kindle Unlimited from the market leader Amazon, readers can access over 1.7 million eBooks. We present the offer and report on our experiences from an intensive test of the eBook flat rate.

Kindle Unlimited: The eBook flat rate from Amazon

Kindle Unlimited: Compatible devices

Kindle Unlimited is Amazon's only real book flat rate - unlike Prime Reading, which can be described as "Flatrate Light". Since October 2014, it has been possible to access a steadily increasing number of books, audio books and, in the meantime, electronic journals for a monthly flat fee of 9.99 euros.

The eBooks can be read on all eBook readers of the Kindle family as well as in the Kindle app on a tablet or smartphone. The web app can also be used to read directly in the browser on PCs and Macs. However, other dedicated readers are not supported. If you own a Tolino, for example, you cannot use Kindle Unlimited with it.

All possible genres are represented in the Amazon catalog. These include thrillers, romance novels, fantasy & science fiction, children's books and cookbooks. The eBooks are available directly from Amazon. Audiobooks are provided by the subsidiary Audible and can be listened to with the Kindle app. There are currently over 1.7 million books on offer and around 2,500 audio books that can be borrowed directly from the app. Of these, however, “only” about 100,000 titles are in German, while the majority of the books are in English. In many cases, these are indie titles that are exclusively available from Kindle Unlimited. There are currently around 25 magazines and thus just as many as there are at Prime Reading, an inclusive offer for Amazon Prime customers (60 euros annual fee).

You can borrow a maximum of ten titles at the same time - both eBooks and audio books. Anyone who has read a book to the end can exchange it for a new one. In contrast to traditional libraries, the loan period is unlimited. Titles can be kept for as long as they are needed for reading. However, if the subscription is canceled, access to all titles will expire immediately. Downloaded eBooks and audio books can then no longer be read or heard.

Kindle Unlimited cost

Kindle Unlimited is free for the first month, after which the eBook flat rate costs 9.99 euros per month. There are no discounts. In contrast to Amazon Prime, for example, students also have to pay the full monthly amount. This results in costs of 120 euros per year - comparable to the offer from competitor Skoobe. Here you have to be contractually bound for at least one year, otherwise a month in the standard tariff costs 11.99 euros. Amazon does not differentiate here and also does not offer different tariffs with different scopes of services.

But is the 9.99 euros a month worth it? What does the offer look like? How is the user experience?

Amazon Kindle Unlimited in the test: My experiences

I put the Kindle Unlimited offer to the test. In the following I report from my experiences:

User experience: comfortable reading

Comfortable browsing on Kindle & Co.

Kindle Unlimited can be used with both Amazon's Kindle readers and the Kindle reading app. The app is available for all major smartphone and tablet operating systems. It is also possible to use the eBook flat rate via web app in the browser on your home computer.

If you already have an Amazon account, you can simply book Kindle Unlimited. Additional data do not have to be provided. After taking out the Kindle Unlimited subscription, you can start browsing straight away. Fair: The first 30 days are free, so that interested parties can first get an overview. Thereafter, there are monthly costs of 9.99 euros. For the experience report, I test Kindle Unlimited with the smartphone (iPhone with iOS 11), Kindle Paperwhite and with a Windows PC.

The first impression is positive. I can access Kindle Unlimited directly via a menu item in the shop in the Kindle Paperwhite and browse the various categories. The first thing I do is click "New to Kindle Unlimited" to see the latest news. I am currently seeing 27 new titles here. Including thrillers, romance novels and historical novels in German. Interesting: On the Amazon website and in the Kindle reading app, around 600 titles are displayed in the same place. Amazon seems to be filtering further on the Kindle readers in the shop. Overall, there are different categories, such as personal recommendations or books specific to genre, such as thrillers or romance novels. However, under the recommendations I will also see books that I have already bought and read. At this point, Amazon can still improve.

I can also find books through search. Titles that are included in the Kindle Unlimited subscription are specially marked in the search results. So I can see at a glance which book I can borrow for free and which title I have to pay for. Impractical: While I can purchase paid titles on the Kindle reader and on the computer, I can only borrow books in the iOS app, but not buy them. Here I have to go to the mail order company's website. Reason: Amazon would have to pay a high commission to Apple for purchases made in the app (30 percent) and therefore completely dispenses with such a shopping function. In the reading app, titles that are included in the Kindle Unlimited catalog are recommended to me.

Borrowing an eBook: quick and easy

Current Kindle Unlimited top titles

If I find an interesting book in the catalog, I can borrow it directly by clicking on "Read for free". This works on the Kindle, in the app and on the Amazon website without any problems. If I borrow the book from the website, I can decide whether I want to read it directly on the computer using “Kindle Cloud Reader” or whether I want to send it wirelessly to my Kindle reader or the apps. The book is downloaded directly on the Kindle and in the app and is displayed in my library when the download is complete. I can start reading right away. Reading itself is comfortable. I can customize the font size and font on all devices. I can also set a bookmark and take notes.

Practical: If the "Synchronize Kindle" function is activated, the reading progress is displayed across all devices. If I start a book on the computer, I can continue reading it conveniently on the Kindle or in the app. This could be practical, especially for people who want to test Kindle Unlimited first and are flirting with a Kindle reader. When purchasing an eBook reader, for example, all content from the computer or the smartphone app can be conveniently transferred to the reader in order to continue reading there, as of course when using different devices synchronously. With the Whispersync for Voice function, I can also easily switch between eBook and audio book. A book that I have started reading can be read to me like this. Because the range of audio books with 2,000 titles is manageable, I can use it for very few titles. Nonetheless a nice feature,

Book selection: mainly indie titles

At first glance, the Kindle Unlimited catalog seems extremely extensive with over 1.7 million eBooks. The offer is growing steadily. At the start in October 2014, the range only comprised 650,000 books, in 2015 the million mark was passed and in 2017 Kindle Unlimited was expanded to include selected electronic magazines.

But what kind of titles does Amazon offer? Can I access the latest bestsellers or are they mainly remnants that are difficult to sell? First of all, it should be noted that only a little over 100,000 titles are in German. Most of the books are English-language literature.

Complete Harry Potter series at Kindle Unlimited

Disillusionment can also arise with the actual selection. The current Spiegel bestsellers are not represented on Kindle Unlimited. Instead of the current Dan Brown novel Origin, I can "only" borrow the thriller Diabolus from the same author. The novel was published in the original in 1998 and in German in 2005. With the exception of a few more well-known novels like these, the Kindle Unlimited range also consists predominantly of so-called indie titles, i.e. books by authors who publish themselves. In terms of quality, the corresponding novels and non-fiction books often do not have to hide behind the big bestsellers, but are inherently much cheaper.

Before taking out a Kindle Unlimited subscription, interested parties should therefore precisely calculate whether the flat rate is actually worthwhile. In order to recoup the monthly costs for Kindle Unlimited, you should read at least one or two eBooks per week. Otherwise you will often travel cheaper with the direct purchase.

Kindle Unlimited Conclusion: The best choice for flexible, frequent readers

Kindle Unlimited: Perfect for frequent readers

The market leader scores particularly with its user-friendliness. Books can easily be started on one device and read on on the other. Thanks to the native support of the Kindle readers, the borrowed books can also be conveniently read on the eBook reader. However, only on Kindle devices - other providers are left out. After all, this is better than competitor Skoobe, who in addition to reading apps only supports eBook readers with “open” Google Android such as the Icarus Illumina, but not frequently sold devices. For example, if you own a Tolino reader, you get nothing. Amazon's solution covers 55 percent of the eBook market.

Kindle Unlimited is especially worthwhile for frequent readers who do not care about the big names of the authors. These are more likely to be found at Skoobe, a joint venture of the Holtzbrinck and Random House publishing groups, where at least a large number of former bestsellers can be found (test Skoobe for 30 days for free).

Kindle Unlimited does not lack a selection of high-quality novels and non-fiction books for every taste, on the contrary. The range of indie titles is huge, and Amazon's recommendation algorithms, the countless customer reviews and, last but not least, a quick glance at the reading sample help to separate the wheat from the chaff. Anyone who browses one or two eBooks per week regularly, sometimes uses an audio book and doesn't want to commit themselves for long, should definitely try Kindle Unlimited for free. Of course, this is all the more true if you already own an eBook reader from the Kindle family or are toying with a purchase.

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