Kindle Unlimited offers over three million ebooks for one monthly fee but here in Australia, you will struggle to find a book worth reading.
Kindle Unlimited in Australia: 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?
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 this service works. For a single monthly subscription fee, you get access to Kindle’s library of three million digital ebooks to read on your Kindle ereader, iOS or Android device, or any other Amazon Fire/Kindle device.
Three 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 library.
How much does Kindle Unlimited cost?
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 anything.
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.
Amazon's all-you-can-read subscription 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.
The best ereaders available in Australia
All is not equal in the battle between Kindle and Kobo.
How do I access Kindle Unlimited?
Kindle Unlimited can, of course, be accessed via any Kindle ereader device but you don't need a Kindle to access the service. In fact, if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, the entire library of ebooks and audiobooks included in your subscription will be available in the respective Kindle iOS (e.g. iPhone) and Android (e.g. Samsung Galaxy) apps.
In short, essentially anyone with a smartphone or tablet can access Kindle Unlimited (unless you're still rocking a Windows phone after all these years).
|Price||🔥$157 at Amazon||🔥$237 at Amazon||🔥$347 at Amazon|
|Storage||16GB||8GB or 32GB||8GB or 32GB|
|Backlight||Yes, 4 LEDs||Yes, 17 LEDs||Yes, 25 LEDs|
|Page turn buttons||No||No||Yes|
|Adjustable warm light||No||No||Yes|
Kindle Unlimited books
As mentioned above, Amazon claims that there are over three 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, when we first published this article, we found that classics like 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, however, were not available.
Next, we took a look at the top 10 best selling books of 2021 and 2022 according to Readings.com.au.
None of Australia’s best-selling books of either year were available with Kindle Unlimited. That includes Sally Rooney's Beautiful World Where Are You, Robyn Annear's Adrift in Melbourne, Liane Moriarty's Apple's Never Fall, Jennifer Down's Bodies of Light, Niki Savva's Bulldozed and Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawuguchi. 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 here.
That’s not to say there’s not something for you. At the time of writing, every Harry Potter book is available on the subscription, as is a whole lot of steamy, steamy romance.
The best way to find if there’s something worth reading 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 available with a Kindle Unlimited membership.
Kindle Unlimited vs Prime Reading
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 its sibling, 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 three 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 the latter'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.
Is Kindle Unlimited free or cheaper for Prime members?
Unfortunately, Kindle Unlimited isn't free or even cheaper for Amazon Prime members, despite both services being owned by the same company. As mentioned above, Prime members do have access to Prime Reading, which is a sort of lighter version of Kindle Unlimited but they are considered two seperate services so signing up to Prime doesn't guarantee a deal on Kindle Unlimited and vice-versa.
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. Likewise, Kindle Unlimited's audiobook library is far more limited down under. If that's your thing, we'd suggest Audible or Scribd.
Older models actually had a 3.5mm headphone jack that made listening to audiobooks on Kindle a lot easier, but more recently Amazon has followed Apple's footsteps by removing the headphone jack from its range of Kindle Devices.
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).
Kindle Unlimited Alternatives
Kindle Unlimited isn't the only game in town when it comes subscription-based ebook services. As mentioned, there's also Prime Reading; And if you're looking for something that isn't affiliated with Amazon, there's also Scribd and Kobo Plus.
Check out the comparison table below for a breakdown of how the four services compare.
|Library||3 million titles||2000 titles||580000 titles||2 million titles|
Kindle Unlimited Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I buy Amazon Kindles in Australia?
While Amazon themselves are usually the best bet when it comes to buying a Kindle ereader in Australia, it isn't the only for consumers and sometimes it can pay to look around. Other electronics retailers and online resellers that also stock the Kindle include Kogan, PBTech, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Myer.
Can I get Kindle on my Android or iPhone?
The official Kindle app is available on both Android and iOS. This mobile and tablet app allows you to pick up where you left off with any Kindle purchases or titles included with either Kindle Unlimited or Prime Reading.
Can you share a Kindle Unlimited account with other members?
Books borrowed via Kindle Unlimited can be shared with other members via the Amazon Household system. To do this, start by opening the Kindle App and then following the below steps.
- Select Share Your Kindle Content within the Home screen of the Kindle App
- Select the Household member that you'd like to share content with
- Choose the book or books you'd like to share
- Click Share Items
Automatic sharing can also be enabled by selecting the Share Future Purchases and Kindle Unlimited by Default button. However, only the primary account can borrow new titles.
How many books can you borrow with Kindle Unlimted?
A standard Kindle Unlimited membership entitles you to check out up to twenty titles at a a time.
How long can you keep Kindle Unlimited books?
As opposed to a traditional public library, books borrowed under your Kindle Unlimited membership do not come with a due-date by which they need to be returned.
That said, you don't get to keep them forever. If your membership lapses or you cancel your subscription, you will lose access to any books you've checked out via the service.