Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Weres Wanna Know: Let's Talk About Kindle Unlimited

I know a lot of us have a pet peeve about books being advertised as "free with Kindle Unlimited." It should really say "included in Kindle Unlimited" since you have to pay to join, right? But other than that, do you know how KU works? Is it worth the price to sign up? I did the 30 day free trial in July to find out.

Here's the part I already knew: the books in KU are exclusive to Amazon. You can purchase them if you're not a member but not from any other site. That's why some self-pub authors choose not to enroll their books in KU. The authors also don't get paid unless you read a certain percentage of the book. The details of that have recently changed and there's some controversy about it, including some people gaming the system. Reading about that honestly made me a little uncomfortable about giving them my money.

But what I really wanted to talk about was the reading experience. As a KU member, you can check out up to ten KU books at a time. That's right, I said check out. There's no time limit, but eventually you have to return the books if you want to read anything else. So it's kind of like having a library card, which you get for free. Except that you can't get these books at the library because they're exclusive to Amazon. So, unless you live somewhere without access to a public library, for me the deciding factor here is can you find enough books you love to justify the cost?

I checked out some smutty romances because I was in a palate cleansing, brain disengaging kind of mood. But I didn't find any of them that I would actually want to pay to read. The quality just didn't cut it. I mean seriously people, it's called proofreading!

I have found some UF/PNR series I like that are included in KU, like Hailey Edwards's Black Dog series, which I've reviewed here on the blog, and its spinoffs, plus the Shifter Shield series by Margo Bond Collins, and Gwenda Bond's Cirque American books. And I've heard good things, but haven't yet read author Jasmine Walt. But it doesn't seem worth it to pay just for those and then not even keep them. You can often find the first book in these series for free or $.99. And in the case of Black Dog, you can get the series bundle for $4.99.

I'm sure not everyone would agree with me. Angela at Fiction Vixen does a monthly wrap up of what she's read with KU and she seems to find some good stuff. She's a big fan of author of K.F. Breene for example. But I have so many ARCs I don't think I could ever read as many KU books every month as she does. I definitely don't think it's worth the price for one or two books.

KU costs $9.99 a month, which is about the same as Prime ($10.99 if you pay monthly.) And there's this other thing called Prime Reading. I have it and I've found good stuff like Chuck Wendig's Atlanta Burns (that series is also in KU)  and Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep. I tried to find details on how this program actually works but the site doesn't say much. The selection seems to change monthly. The books tend to be first in a series. I have gotten some and never been told I maxed out or that I had to return one, but I'm just not sure. If anybody's figured it out, will you please explain it to me? 

Have you tried Kindle Unlimited? 

What did you think? 

What books did you love?

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