Amazon launches Kindle Unlimited subscription service

In today's open source roundup: Amazon launches a Netflix for ebooks subscription service. Plus: A KDE skeptic likes the Plasma 5 desktop, and what's the best Linux distro for game development?

A couple of days ago test pages for Amazon's Kindle Unlimited leaked onto the web and the media pounced like a cat on a hapless mouse. Images and links to the test pages were all over the web. Now Amazon has actually launched the Kindle Unlimited subscription service. The cost of the service is $9.99 per month and it offers access to more than 600,000 books.

According to Amazon:

Kindle Unlimited is a subscription that offers you unlimited access to over 600,000 Kindle books and over 2,000 audiobooks with Whispersync for Voice. You can keep up to ten books at a time and there are no due dates. Read your Kindle Unlimited books on any Kindle device or free Kindle reading apps.

If you haven't tried Kindle Unlimited before you can sign up for a free 30-day trial. At the end of your free trial, you will be automatically upgraded to a paid membership plan. To learn more about plans and pricing, visit the Kindle Unlimited page.

Kindle Unlimited also includes a free Audible membership for up to three months. To redeem your Audible benefit click on the link in your welcome email or sign in to your Amazon account and visit the Audible Kindle Unlimited Gift page.

More at Amazon

I'm a Kindle junkie so I was very happy when I heard that Amazon was launching a Netflix for ebooks subscription service. However, I did not expect it to launch this soon! I was pleasantly surprised when I found out about it this morning. Between Kindle Unlimited and Netflix, I have more reading, TV shows and movies than I have time to read or watch!

I've already signed up for my 30-day free trial and was sorely tempted to plop down on my couch and start reading right away. However, duty called and I had to get some work done today before I can grab some new books from Kindle Unlimited. The selection I saw on the Kindle Unlimited site looked very good and I'm looking forward to delving into what's available as soon as I can.

If you own a Kindle Paperwhite you'll find the Kindle Unlimited link listed right in the Featured section of the Kindle store page. Just click the shopping cart at the top of your Paperwhite's screen to get there. I imagine that the Kindle apps for iOS and Android will be updated very soon as well to make Kindle Unlimited books available for those platforms.

While some might be skeptical about Kindle Unlimited, I think it's a great idea for book lovers. The price seems just right for access to so many ebooks and audiobooks, and I'm sure additional publishers will come on board once the service has been available for a while.

The fact that you can read Kindle Unlimited books on any device is also bound to please a lot of potential subscribers. You aren't stuck reading on any particular vendor's hardware, and you can easily switch back and forth between devices.

The real losers here might be the existing ebook subscription services such as Oyster and Scribd. Amazon's entry into that market could really hurt them since the company is such a powerhouse in the ebook market. But then again competition is a good thing for consumers so hopefully the Kindle Unlimited service will help bring out the best from all of these companies.

I don't know about you guys, but I know how I'll be spending a lot of my weekend.

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