Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited program on November 2014.  This is a Netflix-style subscription plan for books.

Netflix-style subscription plan for books! For those of you who are unfamiliar with what Netflix is, and what it stands for, you can think in this way: Kindle Unlimited is a kind of library subscription, costs USD 9.99 per month and allows you to access to over 600,000 ( now over 1 Million) ebooks on your kindle.

I would like to call it the modernized, and digitized Library of Alexandria. Except that this libray exists everywhere, on the cloud, and can’t be destroyed by mere fire. It’s more robust, more available than the brick and mortar library.


Before you get too excited, let me emphasize that the parallel between Kindle Unlimited and Library of Alexandria can only get this far.

For one thing, Library of Alexandria had between 40,000– 400,000 scrolls; it represented the sum of all knowledge at that time. Amazon’s kindle unlimited collection easily surpasses this number with 700,000 books! But bear in mind that we are living in the age whereby information grows exponentially going day by day. And Amazon itself has at least 32.8 million books on sale… So the 700k just represents 2% of the total amount of books Amazon has.

The books in Amazon Kindle Unlimited program are completely digitized, whereas the tomes in Library of Alexandria were  papyrus bound. One can easily imagine how accessible were the tomes in the old library compared to the books in Kindle Unlimited, thanks to modern technology!

The question now is, should we hop on this kindle unlimited program? Or to put it the other way, should we rent a  monthly subscription, or should we buy kindle ebooks as we go along?

The answer is, it depends.

If you are intended to own books, then Kindle Unlimited is probably not the way to go, because once you stop subscribing to the service, you will lost access to all the books.  So all your bookmarks, highlights that you accumulate in the past will no longer be accessible.

If you want to read the latest blockbusters from Dan Brown, or the New York Times bestsellers,  and you hope that somehow Amazon will make them free via this program, then sorry to say that this is not a realistic expectation. Amazon is not gracious enough to put the most hot selling items on a flat-fee subscription program. Yes, Amazon would want to you buy books, because it knows you will.


If you want to let your kids or yourself indulge in book ( as opposed to, say, video games), then Kindle Unlimited is the way to go. You and your kids can spend as much time as you can, read as many books as you will ( within the limits of 700,000, of course) without worrying about bursting your credit card limits.

In this sense, Kindle Unlimited is really a library. A library much bigger than any physical library imaginable. It is a place where you can truly broaden your horizon.


One million dollar question:

OK, I like this service! Can you tell me how can I subscribe to it as a Malaysian?

Yes, check out this post!


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