If you read a lot or need books for research, Kindle Unlimited is a good deal

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/20/if-you-read-a-lot-or-need-book.html


(@frauenfelder You may want to fix that first sentence below the headline.)

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I love kindle unlimited.


This is my drug. I binge-read like many other people binge-watch TV :stuck_out_tongue:

Now there are quality issues on KU, but for all the dross you might encounter you will also find rare gems that you’d never have picked up normally.

My only real complaint with KU is there is no way to refine the recommendations for books it gives you, unlike for purchased kindle books.
So, do what i did and binge read an obscure genre of books (litRPG) and you may find the recommendations basically permanently broken as it now only recommends said genre (and since i’ve read all the good options, i only get bad examples of said genre) Have had to resort to third party websites to find books to read now (such as goodreads)


Ah, but if you are a Devious Foreign Person of a certain type you can’t get Kindle Unlimited. We can’t have the Internet upsetting local monopolies, now can we?


Of course, if you’re a writer who writes books for Kindle, then it is, of course, screwing you profoundly. If you want the Amazon algorithms to bump up your visibility, you have to be in KU. If you’re in KU, though, you make less than half a cent per page (they define a page, not you, and no one knows how they define a page) that someone reads, when the system actually registers a page as read (which it may not always do, but since they don’t make their data transparent, there’s no way to know for sure). So a $2.99 book that makes the author about $2.00 if purchased (great royalties!), might make the author less than $1.00 if read it through KU.

And, of course, if you’re in KU, you must be exclusive to Amazon; you can’t sell your books elsewhere. So if you want Amazon, the largest market, to rank your book, you have to be in KU. But if you do, you eschew all other markets and then people who are members of KU who read your book do so at a vastly reduced price.

KU screws indie authors. But yeah, I guess it’s a great deal for you.

Screwing creative people is always great for consumers.


But $1 royalties is better than $0 royalties if the reader was unwilling to buy the unknown book in the first place.

This has happened many times to me, and i’ve ended up buying series of books i never would have even considered trying beforehand.

Here i agree fully. Exclusivity is rarely justified under any scenario. Really should be something that needs a blanket ban under law.



Amazon has a very, very liberal return policy. Essentially, you can return any KDP book for any reason within a long window (I think it’s a month) of buying it. People can take a risk on a book and return it if it’s a steaming pile (as many KDP books are, though not, of course, mine). The only saving grace is that it appears that people who subscribe to KU are people who don’t, in fact, tend to buy books in the first place. And in defense of your point, my return rate for KU books is lower than my return rate for not KU books. (Some people use that return policy as a free lending library, but I understand that doing that excessively will call down the wrath of Amazon, though I don’t know if that’s true.)

I’ve taken a lot of my books out of KU, which might be a mistake; my sales are down across markets even though I’ve diversified. I might just have to hold my nose and throw myself back into the swamp.

I suppose it really depends on your market and genre, but I can say that I’m literally at least 20x more likely to impulse read a KU book than a regular Kindle book. Some authors split their catalogs (as it sounds like you have done in the past) between new books as regular Kindle books and back catalog as KU. I have bought many paid Kindle books after discovering the authors through their KU books.

Ads for KU books on FB are the only targeted ads I actually click on and appreciate on FB. They work, and I read a lot of KU genre fiction that I would never have tried as a paid download. KU makes impulse “buys” a no brainer with no downside for me.

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I have to say that this is a genre I would never have read were it not for KU. I’m not a gamer, so there is no reason I would have taken a chance on a paid LitRPG books. I was quite surprised to find that LitRPG runs the gamut from execrable to excellent. Heck, I had never even heard of “dungeon cores” before…yet I found the Dungeon Born (The Divine Dungeon Book 1) by Dakota Krout to be rather fun (if a bit brutal at times). And the boringly titled Video Game Plotline Tester by Michael Atamanov was surprisingly well written. But some others are like books for sociopaths.

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Amazon keeps track of what you read using it’s family of Kindle apps, tablets and e-ink readers, so they know if you have read the whole book and returned it. I would imagine that could play a role in its return policy.

why not? I don’t read a lot of things I can get on my kindle, so this isn’t for me either. Just curious.

Love Kindle Unlimited with few exceptions…I finished reading first-in-series in Kindle Unlimited only to find the rest of the series is not available :frowning:

Nobody should buy anything at Amazon, ever. If any company ever deserved to DIAF, this is it.

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Rumor is, if people do this a lot, Amazon will crack down on them. Don’t know for sure if that’s true or not.

I just got an offer to get 3 months of KU for US$1.99. Don’t know if that offer’s widely available, or maybe I’m just special. Anyway, I might give it a whirl for 2 bucks.

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