kindle unlimitedOne of the concerns when people sign up for subscription services like Kindle Unlimited is “will I use it enough to make it worth the cost?” Hugh Howey likens it to gym memberships where you sign up for auto-renewal and then never use it. I’ve seen lots of people note that you have to read 4-5 books a month, every month. to make it worth your while because so many inexpensive self-published books are in the service.

All good points ,but if you’re willing to do a bit of prep work, Amazon actually makes it easy to be cost effective, assuming you can read at least 5 books in a month.

Set up an “Unlimited” Collection on your Kindle or Kindle app. As you browse Amazon and discover Unlimited eligible books, download a sample to that Collection. Once you’ve accumulated a month’s worth of reading (for me, that would be 8-10 books), sign up for Unlimited and set a reminder to cancel it in 30 days.

For that month, work through your Unlimited Collection. By the end of the month, you’ve probably finished all or most of your accumulated books, and you’ll cancel your subscription. Then start accumulating samples again. If you’re a Prime member, you can use your once a month borrow to extend the time between Unlimited subscriptions, and I bet you’ll be able to get by with subscribing no more than once a quarter or so. If you’re a slower reader or too busy to read, save your accumulated books for vacation or summer, when presumably you have more time.

That’s a pretty cost-effective way to use Unlimited, don’t you think? It’s what I plan to do.


  1. Yes, cost-effective, but also also very management intensive. Save samples, sign-up, read like someone possessed, quit and then repeat. Even thinking about that leaves me dizzy.

    I prefer to get classics for free, particularly audiobooks. I’ve been doing that at the site below for about a year and have yet to make a noticeable dent in their collection. The readers are volunteers for Librivox, but most are quite good.

    The audiobooks come in multiple formats, so they’re easy to use.

    If you like sailing and political thrillers, try this:

    And for great humor, it’s hard to beat Wodehouse’s Jeeves:

    Wodehouse even did a fun romance novel:

    For scifi/fantasy try this first in a classic series:

    Being public domain, you can take as little or as long as you like. I do my listening on walks or just before going to sleep. It’s also great while showering, but tends to mean that I stay too long.


  2. @Juli- I’m trying the same sort of thing by setting up a KU wish list. That’s also what I do for my KOLL borrow. I’m one that now considers samples to be clutter (I didn’t use to, I’m not sure when I changed my mind). There may be others that think the same so the wish list might be a better way for them. Regardless, I think either way should work to help keep KU cost effective.

    I can be quite a binge reader at times and I can see months where I’m in the mood to read nothing but mysteries from Open Road but at some time I’ll look up and wonder what I’m missing.

  3. Could I find 4 to 5 books per month on Unlimited? Probably yes, at least for a few months, but there are books that I’d prefer that aren’t included, so I’d be exchanging preference for a little savings. I think it is better to just pony up a few more bucks for the books I really want.

    I also have doubts as to how long I continue finding books as I don’t like self publishing – and that’s the a big bulk of Unlimited.

  4. @Anne, I use samples like other people use the Wishlist, but yes, that works just as well.

    OMG! I forgot Open Road books were included. They are in Scribd too, but I prefer reading on my Paperwhite. Hmm. Okay, that changes things. I might need to subscribe every other month instead of just quarterly. 🙂 All the John Jakes books are published by Open Road, and I’ve been wanting to re-read them for years.

    @Greg M, the beauty of Unlimited is that you just subscribe as often or as long as you want. If you run through everything you’re interested in, just unsubscribe.

    But there’s lots of good sci-fi from Open Road media if you haven’t already purchased them and don’t mind only reading them once.

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