Kindle Unlimited Rolled Out in Canada a short time ago, and I have been contemplating trying it out. There is a free trial option, but this does not make the decision as straightforward as it might seem because in order to avail myself of the free trial, I would have to convert my Amazon.com account over to the Canadian portal, and I’m worried about doing that.
So, some pros and cons. Maybe those of you who have tried this service can tell me what you think?
– There seems to be a decent selection of books. I know people have complained they don’t have many best-sellers, but I can get those from the library. With my Kindle reading, I tend to go on topic jags and download tons of samples. For awhile, it was presidents. Now, I am interested in comics and comic books. I checked the Kindle Unlimited listings and they had over 400 comics-themed titles—and I could read whole books, not just samples.
– There are at least a few books I have wishlisted already which are available. That would be enough to make at least the free month worth it. If I do run out of content, it seems easy enough to cancel.
– Price. It’s not a lot per month, but it’s more than I typically spend on books when aggregated over the course of a year. It may be cheaper to continue getting library books and rounding that out with just the Kindle books I want.
– Variety. I am worried I will limit myself because I’ll want to make sure I get my money’s worth. So I may neglect my other reading sources and wind up wasting my time reading stuff I am not as interested in.
– I would have to convert my .com account to a .ca. This is my biggest worry. I am planning to start publishing some stuff on the Kindle store this year (I have a lot of teaching stuff I have created in my work) so this may be a moot point; I may have to convert my account anyway before I start doing that. But the .ca prices are higher, there are fewer deals, and I have some concerns about changing everything over.
So…worth it, or not?
I live in Mexico and I have the same conundrum. I don’t want to lose my wishlists (friends use to it for birthdays and Christmas gifts to me and I for them), and moreover, there is no Wishlist in Mexico’s Amazon, so I can’t add books that I want to read but not buy right now. I don’t know in Canada’s Amazon, but in the Mexican store I can only buy ebooks, and even if I mostly read on my Kindle/iPad, I plan to buy a hardback from time to time from certain authors.
So for me, thanks but no thanks, Mexican Amazon Unlimited
If you go to the Canadian side, the biggest and most noticeable difference is any periodicals/subscriptions you may have will go down the drain.
No, you should be a responsible reader and support authors by spending your money in ways that ensure that authors are compensated as well as possible.
In general, when you buy the ebooks you read from a good source, you can do so in a way in which you can be certain that 70% of what you pay will go to the author.
Use KU and who knows what pittance Amazon will pay them. A number of authors have already complained about how little KU pays in comparison to their lost sales. So don’t join KU and cheat authors who may have labored for a year or more on that book.
Also, before you buy, look at the price. If an ebook or collection of ebooks is selling for less that $2.99 or more than $9.99, ALWAYS buy it from someone other than Amazon—meaning retailers such as Apple, B&N, Kobo, or Smashwords. They pay authors from 65% to 80% of the retail price. Outside that narrow $7 window from $2.99 to $9.99, Amazon only pays a miserly 35%. Keep in mind that a full-service publisher who has edited, formatted and promoted an ebook typically pays the author 25%. Amazon is doing nothing, grabbing 65%, and paying the author only 10%. Do you want to support that?
Even within that $7 window Amazon never pays 70%. It always charges a misnamed “download” fee that, megabyte for megabyte is 100 times what Amazon charges for downloads through its AWS service. It’s such a enormous rip-off, Amazon should be facing federal prosecution for false labeling. it’s clearly not a fee to recoup costs. It’s a deception to take another 5-10% of an author’s royalty.
As best I can tell from research, Amazon’s price-linked royalties and its inflated download fee means that is simply no circumstance in which Amazon’s royalties aren’t less than those of any other major ebook retailer. In many cases—particularly textbooks—Amazon is both driving up prices (with that 35% royalty) and pocketing the great bulk of the retail price. As a result, they’re burdening students with costs and debts. Amazon is most emphatically not the student’s friend.
For instance, imagine someone who’s attempting to get a nursing degree, covering all the costs herself by waiting tables. Imagine a required textbook that’s priced at $30, which less than most. This is how that retail price would be divided:
Author/publisher: $30 x 0.35 = $10.50
Amazon: $30 x 0.65 = $19.50
In short, Amazon is getting almost twice as much as the author for no more than a credit card transaction and file download that costs it pennies. Amazon is being a jerk.
Contrast Amazon with Apple. You can find comparable figures from other retailers:
Author/publisher: $30 x 0.70 = $21.00
Apple: $30 x 0.30 = $9.00
The math is obvious. Apple is paying the author twice as much as Amazon. And don’t think I’m being an Apple fanboy. Given the declining cost of hosting web services, I believe that Apple should be paying 80% to all content creators—apps, music and ebooks. But 70% is a heck of a lot better than 35%.
To answer your question, if you care about the authors whose books you read and believe they should be fairly compensated for their labors, you won’t sign up for KU and whenever possible you’ll buy that ebook from a retailer other than Amazon.
In short, if you care about books, care about their authors and let that drive your spending. Don’t niggle over pennies when it comes to paying an author who has spent hundreds of often grueling hours writing the book you’re reading.
To answer your question about whether to subscribe, I have been almost since it started. I like it, and have discovered some new authors, and found a new genre to get into. That being said, I think I’m opting out after this month for some of the reasons Michael Perry stated. Anyway, the selection isn’t perfect, but there’s more than enough to read. Good luck.
I suppose you can set up a new account in amazon.ca?
R- nope! I have a separate Amazon.ca account already for physical books. If I want to use it for Kindle purchases, I have to move my existing Kindle over to that account, and when I do that, it will merge the two accounts and I will lose the .com account. That is why I am so wary about doing it. BUT…I think that if I do try to publish on the Kindle store,which is a goal I am working toward, I will have to.
You can still have two accounts.
Just purchase a broken Kindle, so you have a serial number to register at the store to your .cn account. Then you can install a [very strictly un-official] Calibre Plugin from Apprentice Alf that will strip DRM for your own consumption.
It is possible to liberate books without having a physical Kindle, but more difficult. At least it was last time I looked into the matter.
Stay with Amazon.com and subscribe instead to Scribd. It is a great service with ebooks, audiobooks and comics. And, they have authors like Italo Calvino available to Canadians that aren’t available anywhere else. Great service. Well worth the price.
Could you get a second email address and open a second Amazon account? You might need separate credit cards for that, though. I’m not sure if the same card can be on more than one account.
I have KU and love it. I don’t read many best sellers and I particularly like reading books from lesser known authors. But the greatest thing for me about KU is the audible books. Oftentimes audio books are quite expensive. I have a 45 min commute to work each morning so I listen to an audiobook and it makes the time fly.