Should you sign up for Kindle Unlimited?

Amazon Kindle Unlimited

As both a writer and a reader, I know Kindle Unlimited from the inside out.

Kindle Unlimited (at the time of this writing) costs $9.99 per month. 

(Keep reading for information about the FREE TRIAL, though.)

Kindle Unlimited is an Amazon program that gives members more or less unlimited access (hence the name of the program) to a vast body of enrolled books.

How many books, exactly? 

I don’t know how many titles are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited at the moment. Probably no one does. But more are added every day. 

It’s a big, big bunch. (That’s a technical term, by the way.)

There are more books in Kindle Unlimited than you are going to read in your lifetime (even if you’re still in your twenties, and you don’t drink, smoke, or eat trans fats). 

Or to put it another way: You will never exhaust the books available to you in Kindle Unlimited. 

I can promise you that. 

So….what kinds of books are included with a Kindle Unlimited membership?

Well, first of all: These are Kindle, electronic books. (You probably already know that, but I should mention this just in case.) 

Not paperbacks or hardcovers, etc. 

Some Kindle Unlimited titles do include FREE audiobooks, too…but not all of them. Kindle Unlimited is primarily about ebooks. 

“Yeah, I get that. But what kinds of books?”

A lot of fiction. 

(Some nonfiction, too…But a lot of fiction.)

Genre fiction abounds in Kindle Unlimited. Romance, science fiction, fantasy, cozy mystery, etc. 

Oh, yes, and erotica, too. (Since you’ll be reading on your Kindle device, no one will know what you’re reading: the modern equivalent of the plain brown wrapper.)

Series

Many Kindle Unlimited authors publish series. So if you find a character whom you like, you may be able to follow that character on numerous adventures, over the course of a long series of books. 

Constant authorial output

Kindle Unlimited authors are largely compensated by page reads. (Like I said, as an author, I know the program from both sides.) Therefore, many of them are writing machines, in the grand tradition of the old pulp writers. 

Are there any downsides to Kindle Unlimited?

Kindle Unlimited is a great deal for voracious readers who like certain kinds of books. But there are a few other things (not necessarily sales points) that you should know about the program. With Kindle Unlimited, as with almost everything else, your mileage may vary 

In Kindle Unlimited, you won’t find the books that you see on the shelves at Walmart. 

Books by John Grisham, Stephen King, Lisa Scottoline, and James Patterson, etc. generally aren’t enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. 

(You can still order these books for your Kindle, of course—but you’ll have to pay for them.)

Authoritative nonfiction titles are scarce in Kindle Unlimited.

I like to read big, thick nonfiction books, especially about history and economics. For example: Leonardo Da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson

Those aren’t the kinds of books that typically show up in Kindle Unlimited. 

Once again: Kindle Unlimited is mostly about genre fiction.

Maybe you won’t read as much as you think you will.

Life happens, right? Maybe you’ll plan on reading…But you’ll be busy at work…Or you’ll go on vacation, or….

You know what I mean. 

And if that happens, you might not get your monthly fee’s worth.

Moreover, not every reader is a truly voracious reader.  

Are you the sort of reader who reads four or five books per year? Kindle Unlimited (probably) isn’t your thing.

Do you read multiple books per week? Then Kindle Unlimited might be for you.

The bottom line

Kindle Unlimited is a great program. Moreover, it’s an Amazon program, and you probably already have a relationship with Amazon. (If you don’t have a relationship with Amazon and you live in the U.S., you are an extreme rarity, indeed.)

But as I said: Your mileage may vary. 

So…what’s the best thing to do?

In my opinion, your best option is to sign up for a Kindle Unlimited 30-day FREE trial.

That way, if you like Kindle Unlimited, you can continue with it.

On the other hand, if you determine that Kindle Unlimited isn’t your thing, you can cancel, nothing lost.

Why not give Kindle Unlimited a try?

You have nothing to lose, after all.

I strongly recommend that you give Kindle Unlimited a FREE try. And while you’re thinking about Kindle Unlimited, you might also want to check out the newest Kindle devices from Amazon.

The undeniable dark side of indie publishing

One can generally expect mainstream journalists to be hostile toward indie publishing. This is a matter of self-preservation as much as anything else.

Both traditional publishing and traditional journalism have been battered by the Internet in recent years. Mainstream journalists long for the days when anyone who wrote articles that people actually read was employed by a major media outlet.

Likewise, back then a small coterie of New York agents and editors decided what the rest of the world would read in book form.

The bloggers started it all…and then the indie authors turned the applecart over, too.

Damn them all!

But this doesn’t mean that indie publishing–whether on blogs or on Amazon–is a perfect environment. Fifteen years ago, the advent of monetization schemes for blogging (Adsense, affiliate programs, etc.) gave birth to click farms and keyword stuffing.

And–surprise, surprise–indie publishing on Amazon has created incentives for scamming, too. A a recent article in The Guardian describes what is going on, with particular emphasis on Brazilian romance author and accused serial plagiarist Cristian Serruya:

 Serruya is just one example of the dark side of the stack-em-high, sell-em-cheap, flood-the-market culture which has come to dominate self-publishing – particularly in the lucrative romance genre and on Kindle Unlimited, an Amazon service which gives readers access to more than 1m books for £7.99 a month, many of which are self-published and unvetted for plagiarism.

Alison Flood, writing in The Guardian

Let’s be clear about one thing: Indie publishing is not going away. It will continue….just as blogging has continued.

But this doesn’t mean that the incentives built into the system can’t be changed, to make various forms of scamming less attractive.

More than a decade go, Google discovered that its search engine results were dominated by click farms and keyword stuffers. Google responded by changing its algorithms. There are still click farms out there, of course; but they are less of a factor than they used to be.

Why? Google’s algorithms no longer incentivize click-farming.

Amazon needs to make similar changes. It has been possible to self-publish on Amazon for at least 15 years. It has been possible to self-publish on the Amazon Kindle for approximately a decade. Self-publishing, in and of itself, isn’t the problem.

Kindle Unlimited–which pays according to page reads, not purchases–incentivized all manner of bad behavior. (This has been documented by David Gaughran and many others.)

Take away Kindle Unlimited, and there is suddenly no incentive to publish a book on Amazon that customers won’t be willing to buy.

This will reduce the incentive to publish page-stuffed, junk books…as well as plagiarized titles that can presently be read for free in Kindle Unlimited.

‘Revolutionary Ghosts’ in Kindle Unlimited…for a while, at least!

I’ve enrolled Revolutionary Ghosts in Kindle Unlimited for the next 90 days.

Eventually, it will probably be going out to other stores and platforms. For now, though, you can read it for free if you have a Kindle Unlimited membership! I hope you enjoy it.

 

About Revolutionary Ghosts:

The year is 1976, and the Headless Horseman rides again!

Steve Wagner is an ordinary Ohio teenager in the year of America’s Bicentennial, 1976.

As that summer begins, his thoughts are mostly about girls, finishing high school, and driving his 1968 Pontiac Bonneville.

But this will be no ordinary summer. Steve sees evidence of supernatural activity in the area near his home: mysterious hoof prints and missing persons reports, and unusual, violently inclined men with British accents.

There is a also a hideous woman—the vengeful ghost of a condemned Loyalist spy—who appears in the doorway of Steve’s bedroom.

Filled with angry spirits, historical figures, and the Headless Horseman of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Revolutionary Ghosts is a terrifying coming-of-age story with a groovy 1970s vibe.