Kindle Unlimited in Australia: Is it worth it?
If there’s one thing that the ereader revolution has taught us, it’s that no digital alternative will ever truly replace physical books. Where the ever-evolving technology of video made VHS and DVDs an easy target for digital and streaming video-on-demand platforms, paperback and hardcover books will never be obsolete. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a case for digital ebooks. In fact, books are a rare example where digital and physical exist in (almost) perfect harmony.
One of the most popular choices for ereaders in Australia is Amazon’s ever-popular Kindle devices. There are a few reasons why but perhaps most important is its affordable pricing, accessibility and an unmatched selection of ebooks. If your appetite for ebooks is stronger than your bank account can sensibly support, the purchases can add up quickly. That’s where Amazon’s subscription-based ebook library, Kindle Unlimited, comes in.
What is Kindle Unlimited?
It’s kind of like Netflix for ebooks.
After nearly 10 years of success in the ereader space, Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited in Australia back in 2016, aiming to adapt to the success of subscription-based streaming services for the ebook market.
If you subscribe to services like Netflix for movies or Xbox Game Pass for games, you’ll have a good idea of how Kindle Unlimited works. For a single monthly subscription fee, you get access to Kindle’s library of one million digital ebooks to read on your Kindle ereader, iOS or Android device, or any other Amazon Fire/Kindle device.
One million books? Sounds like a lot but the truth is, not every best-seller, cult classic or recent release is available. There are some gaping holes in the Kindle Unlimited library.
How much does Kindle Unlimited cost?
Kindle Unlimited costs $13.99 per month in Australia.
Kindle Unlimited costs $13.99 per month in Australia. That equates to $167.88 per year. Unlike digital movie platforms like iTunes and Google Play, there’s no set price for titles purchased on Kindle. Popular books typically cost between $2.99 and $10 per title, but pricing is set by the author and can vary greatly between titles.
Kindle Unlimited is in the unique position of being largely unchallenged in the subscription-based ebook space. There aren’t any real competitors other than Amazon’s own Prime Reading feature, which is included with any Amazon Prime subscription. That might have something to do with the $13.99 subscription price, which is a little steep when compared to Amazon Prime, which costs $6.99 per month and includes Amazon Prime Video, Prime Reading, Prime Music and all the shopping perks included with Prime.
Kindle Unlimited free trial
Is the monthly price worth it? That’s almost impossible to answer. It all depends on whether there’s enough in Kindle’s huge library to make the $13.99 per month charge worth it for you. Thankfully, Kindle Unlimited has a 30-day free trial so you can experience the service for yourself without paying a cent.
After the 30-day free trial is up, you’ll be charged $13.99 automatically for your first month, so it’s worth cancelling before the free trial ends if you decide it’s not for you.
Kindle Unlimited only offers month-to-month payments, which means there’s no discount for annual payments, but it also means you won’t be locked in for any amount of time if you decide it’s not for you.
Kindle Unlimited books
A good selection of classics but recent best-sellers are hard to find.
As mentioned above, Amazon claims that there are over one million books available with Kindle Unlimited at any given time. So it’s near-impossible to say for sure whether it has enough for you, specifically.
We can, however, take a look at some of the classics and some of the best-selling books in Australia to give you an idea of what to expect. For example, in our search for all-time classics, we found that 1984, The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Moby Dick, Wuthering Heights, and War and Peace were all available as part of the AmazonClassics collection. The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lolita, The Lord of the Rings, Anna Karenina, and Catch-22 were not available with Kindle Unlimited.
Next, we took a look at the top 10 best selling books of 2019 and 2020, according to Readings.com.au. None of Australia’s best-selling books of either year are available with Kindle Unlimited. That includes Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu, Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend but the Mountains, Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, Julia Baird’s Phosphorescence, The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, and The Yield by Tara June Winch.
That’s hardly an exhaustive search considering the sheer amount of books on the platform, but if you’re after the biggest books of recent years, it’s not likely you’ll find them on Kindle Unlimited.
That’s not to say there’s not something for you. At the time of writing, Dean Koonts’ Devoted is part of Kindle Unlimited, as is every Harry Potter book and a whole lot of steamy romance.
The best way to find if there’s something worth reading on Kindle Unlimited is checking for yourself before subscribing to the free trial. All you need to do is head to Amazon’s Kindle Store, search for the book you’re looking for, and tick the ‘Kindle Unlimited Eligible’ filter in the left side-bar. That’ll give you a list of books that are eligible with Kindle Unlimited.
Kindle Unlimited vs Prime Reading
Prime Reading is included with any Amazon Prime subscription.
Both Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading offer essentially the same service. They are subscription-based ebook libraries that you can access for a monthly subscription. They’re even owned by the same company, Amazon. With that said, there are a few differences and Prime Reading is the clear winner in our books.
Firstly, there’s the price. Kindle Unlimited will cost you $13.99 per month, whereas Prime Reading is a benefit that’s part of the standard Amazon Prime subscription, which only costs $6.99 per month here in Australia. Not only do you pay a smaller monthly fee with Prime Reading, but you also gain access to other benefits, like Amazon Prime Video, Amazon’s music streaming app Prime Music, free games and discounts with Prime Gaming, and all the usual online shopping perks that come with an Amazon Prime subscription. Like Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Prime (with Prime Reading included) has a free 30-day trial.
The other key difference between Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited is the number of ebooks available with each subscription. Kindle Unlimited claims to offer over one million books, whereas Prime Reading cycles out books regularly, offering around 2,000 titles at any given time. At a glance, it seems that every ebook eligible for Prime Reading is also available on Kindle Unlimited. With that said, it also seems like a lot of the popular books from Kindle Unlimited’s collection are available on Prime Reading. At the time of writing, the Harry Potter series is available on Prime Reading, and a bunch of Amazon Classics too.
Does Kindle Unlimited offer audiobooks?
It does, to an extent. You can search for “Books with Narration in Kindle Unlimited” on Amazon.com.au. That will bring up a list of included titles that come with an included audiobook narration that can be listened to on smart devices via the iOS and Android Kindle app. In the U.S., Kindle Oasis users can download audiobooks to their device and connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones but that feature isn’t currently available on models sold in Australia.
Older models actually had a 3.5mm headphone jack that made listening to audiobooks on Kindle a lot easier, but more recently Amazon has opted for no headphone jack on its current range of ereaders.
If you want to listen to an audiobook downloaded through Kindle Unlimited, you’ll need to do so via the Kindle app on iOS and Android here in Australia.
You can also listen to audiobooks purchased via Amazon’s Audible in the Kindle app.
How to cancel Kindle Unlimited
Cancelling your Kindle Unlimited subscription is the same as any other Amazon service. It’s all managed under your Amazon.com.au login. It should be noted that you need to login to Amazon on a web browser to cancel, Amazon’s app doesn’t allow you to manage subscriptions.
- Login with your account details at Amazon.com.au
- Click ‘Account and Lists’ in the top-right corner of the screen next to the search bar
- Scroll down to ‘Subscriptions’ and click ‘Your Memberships and Subscriptions’
- Under ‘Your Memberships and Subscriptions,’ click the Kindle Unlimited icon
- In the left sidebar, under ‘Manage Membership,’ click ‘Cancel Kindle Unlimited Membership’
- On the next page, confirm cancellation by clicking ‘Cancel Membership’
Done. You’ll now have access to whatever titles you borrowed until the end of your free trial period (e.g. 30 days after your free trial began).