Yakkety Yak – Kindle Unlimited – a Reader’s View

Posted July 3, 2016 by Shari in Yakkety Yak Let's Chat / 20 Comments

Yakkety Yak...Let's Chat

Kindle Unlimited…either you love it or hate it. Really depends who you are.

What is Kindle Unlimited? It’s a service offered by Amazon to Kindle users, where you pay a $9.99 a month to get access to thousands of books. You can check out as many as 10 books at a time and return them for another book, basically like a library, but you do have to pay the $9.99 monthly fee. For readers, this is a great idea as sometimes you don’t want to buy every book, but don’t have access to it at a library. You never “own” the books, but you also can keep them checked out as long as you like.

Now I am not going to get into what it is like for authors or how they get paid because I don’t actually know any of that as I am not an author. But I am a reader.

So I have had a subscription for over a year and I can say Amazon probably makes money off me. I often don’t check out books in a month, nor get a chance to read them. Each month they get my $9.99 and I don’t do anything with it. In my defense, I try hard, but in general the stories aren’t really that great. When I read one, I sigh at the quality and then check the book in….and quickly grab a book I really want to read that I paid for…but then again I paid for Kindle Unlimited, so that defeats that argument.

I have found that most of the books on Kindle Unlimited aren’t amazing, good or passable. I know there are some great books out there, but the ones I am checking out are pretty bad. I am staying the course and still looking for those diamonds in the rough….rough, rough rough. Someday I will find them.

My biggest pet peeve are author ads for their books that read “Read free on Kindle Unlimited. ” BIG PET PEEVE! Why? Well, honey, it’s not free. I pay $9.99 for it, so when I check it out and read it, you get some of the money I paid for the monthly access, hence not free. Well, you say it doesn’t cost extra to check it out, but it does because I usually have to check in another book I didn’t read to get this one. I get all excited when I see free book … only to find out it isn’t free. It’s not free and I wish everyone (including Amazon) would get that through their heads.

Are you a Kindle Unlimited subscriber? What are your thoughts about it?



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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!

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  • oh such a great topic here for a discussion!!! I admit, I am a “not a fan” of kindle unlimited. There are a few books I like that they have (suzanne wright is probably the only author I like that is on there), but to be honest, the majority of the books they have on there aren’t even pricey at all so is it really worth it to pay $10 a month especially when most of it isn’t that good. Its just another way for Amazon to make money. I do wish Amazon would do better with it, have better quality reads there. And yeah Amazon kinda lies about the whole “free” part…because none of it is free right? Because its really just borrowing the books anyway. I frankly, will use my library because they use amazon for their ebook program and have quite a great selection. So why would I both to waste my money. Because that $10 I would rather have go to one or two really GOOD books than a bunch of crappy ones!! So I am on board with you on this for sure!! Kudos for lasting a year though, I lasted two months hehe Hope you have a HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY WEEKEND!!

    • Shari Delighted Read

      I am about to cancel my Kindle Unlimited subscription. Now I am not saying I haven’t read good books from it, but I guess I mostly pick crappy ones. I spent the last week reading the ones I checked out and only one of them I completed. So I am to the point where I am wasting $10 a month on crappy books that waste my time.

      The whole free part really irritates me. If it was truly free then I wouldn’t have to spend $10 a month on it. To be honest, Amazon makes money off of my subscription and I am tired of them thinking I am getting a free deal.

  • I looked at KU, but chose not to do it b/c I knew I wouldn’t borrow enough books to make it worth my while particularly since it’s not all books, but those designated for the KU program. I agree that it is frustrating that it is touted as free when it’s not. I use the Overdrive program through our library to actually borrow books for free and the funny part is that it goes through Amazon. I have Amazon Prime and I get to ‘borrow’ an ebook each month through Amazon so I do that, too. I’m still paying, but I also have access to free 2-day shipping, borrows for movies, music, and ebooks so I feel I get my money’s worth better that way.

    • Shari Delighted Read

      I don’t borrow enough to make it worth it either. And the ones I have read over the last six months have been pretty bad. I can count on one hand how many have been good.

      I used to us Overdrive for my library too. Two problems with that. One our library doesn’t carry much in the way of book I want to read. Unless it is Lori Foster, I haven’t found anything else. Two, I have to physically go in the library to check out a book to keep up my membership. Our library is going through a lot of problems. They don’t have any parking for the first part and it is so hard to get into them to get books. The second is they want to build a new one and the community keeps denying their bond every November during the vote. So right off our library isn’t anything to brag about. It’s sad because I worked in a library all through college and love supporting them.

      I also used to borrow books from Amazon Prime. But I keep forgetting about it since it is only one book a month.

  • I only read a handful of books each month so I’ve never had KU. It’s just not worth it for me. If I was reading 2 books a day like I used to years ago, it might be worth it but not really when I can get the newer books I really want from NetGalley, or for free with all the ebook credits I get from shopping at Amazon and choosing no rush shipping. I still have about 15 books on my tbr shelf that I won and need to read plus there are a lot of free reads on Amazon. So at least for me, KU just doesn’t make sense for me to pay for. And it bothers me too when I see an author say Free on KU…it’s not free.

    • Shari Delighted Read

      I read between 7-12 books a month, so really I think I need to cancel my KU subscription. I get what I want from NetGalley, I buy a few every once and a while and my TBR pile is overflowing from when I used to have to buy all of my books. So I am talking myself out of KU every day.

  • I am part of a author group and regularly hear authors talking about KU, but besides that I don’t not a lot about it. As I have a kobo e-reader and a ipad I am sorry to see so many authors go amazon exclusive as that means I rely fully on review copies and amazon gift cards to get those books as else I can’t buy anything at amazon because I don’t have a credit card.
    On the other hand from an author point of view I get it. I hear quite some authors who make good money from KU and often make more from borrows than buys, so I understand why authors sign-up.

    I have the feeling more and more authors put their books in KU so I hope that means the quality will go up as well. I am sorry to hear you haven’t had to best experience with KU. It seems that 9.99$ a month is still a lot if you have other sources to get your books from as well. If you only get KU books you get that money out of it, but else it seems amazon is going to make money off you indeed.

    And yes the slogan get for free on KU is a bit misleading, although you don’t have to pay for that book specifically you do pay for the subscription, just like at the library (here libraries cost money at least). I am skeptical every time I hear a book is free or discounted as half of the time it’s US only or KU or amazon only or something else. So I always double check first, it’s still a bit disappointing though. So yeah from a reader point of view I am not so sure about KU, but I heard some good things from authors who put their books in KU.

    • Shari Delighted Read

      Sorry to hear you can’t get many books on Amazon. I understand Kobo is the only choice for quite a few people. I got my first Kindle when I was on bedrest with my son. So I built up quite a library on my Kindle.

      I have heard authors complain about what they make on KU, but there are a ton of books on it so someone is making money.

      One thing I guess I should have mention in the article is with KU I haven’t really searched their library much lately. I get FB ads that have me checking out books. To the point where I have had to ban certain authors I know write crap books. I usually don’t bash authors and I am not in this case, just I don’t want to waste their money on FB ads when I will never get their books again. I am currently going through my KU library and getting them read or checked back in. So far I haven’t finished but one book as the others are all DNF.

      So I need to think about what I want to do. KU is becoming an expensive library I don’t think provides me with quality books any more.

  • JenM

    My TBR pile of books I’ve already purchased is huge, so I don’t have KU but I can borrow one book a month under Amazon Prime. An author I would highly recommend whose books are in KU is Susannah Sandlin. She writes the Sentinels of New Orleans UF series under the name of Suzanne Johnson for Macmillan, but she also has several series with Montlake that are available through KU including a PNR series, the Penton Vampire Legacy, and two romantic suspense series, The Collectors, and Wilds of the Bayou (starring Louisiana Fish and Game Wardens). All of her books are very good and definitely worth borrowing.

    Another author I’ve found and really enjoyed is Staci Hart. I’m reading my way slowly through her Bad Habits series (starts with the book With a Twist). I also tried JT Geissinger’s rock star series (also called the Bad Habit series LOL) and enjoyed it. A couple of others published by Montlake that I’ve tried and that are very good are Teri Osborn, Barbara Longley, Katie Graykowski and Maggie Fenton. I’ve thought about signing up for KU for a couple of months just to catch up on these and a few others, but then I look at my TBR mountain and decide I’d better not do that…..

    • Shari Delighted Read

      Mine TBR is huge as well. I have so many books I can’t even download them all. I used to borrow one book a month but have totally forgotten about that lately. I will have to check out that series if I don’t cancel my KU subscription.

      Staci Hart looks good. JT Geissinger – I read her Sweet as Sin book and had so many mixed emotions. First the books started off great and then it felt like another author took over to write the second half. I found out she had a death in the family and it affected her writing. So I am leery about trying another one.

      I will have to check out some of your suggestions and see if I can get back on track with the KU. I mostly use it as filler between ARCs to cleanse the palette sometimes.

      • JenM

        Another book that I just found out is currently in KU is Showmance by LH Cosway. I love her books and this is her newest release. I think she puts her books in KU for just a few months and then pulls them out. Luckily I hadn’t done my Prime loan for July yet so I immediately snagged it. It’s going right to the top of the TBR mountain LOL.

      • I am on J.T. Geissinger’s street team. If you didn’t care for her rockers, you definitely should try her Night Prowler series. So, so good and one of my all time favorite series! Paranormal and leopard shifters with an intricate world building.

  • I’ve seen some books that I want to read that are on Kindle Unlimited. I’ve never paid for the service. I don’t think I would get my money out of it.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • Shari Delighted Read

      I know I am not getting my money’s worth lately.

  • Julia Traver

    I occasionally do enjoy really awful books. Looks around corner. However, I do not want them on a permanent basis. I view this as renting. However, I have found a few keepers as well. You just never know.

    • Shari Delighted Read

      I have a few keepers, but in general all I have gotten is pretty bad ones. Sometimes you need a bad one to appreciate the good ones, but not 10 in a row.

  • I personally don’t subscribe to it because it would benefit Amazon more than me. I can’t see paying that much when there are other cheaper, and sometimes free, options. I’m satisfied with where and how I get my books now and don’t see any use for it at this time.

    • Shari Delighted Read

      I can agree. I get enough books through NetGalley and my TBR pile, but I still look for deals. This isn’t one.

  • Debbie Haupt

    I’m not a subscriber and often wondered what it was all about so thanks for clarifying it for me Shari. It wouldn’t be a service that I would use for several reasons. Sometimes I’m too booked with contract reviews to be able to read anything for pleasure and when I do want a pleasure read I have so many that are sent to me by publishers, publicists and authors in all the available edition. Thanks for the informative post!

  • I am not a subscriber but have wondered about it. Your post just confirms what I thought in the first place. I get Netflix and I can go months without watching anything. So I know exactly what would happen if I had this! Interesting post!