So I signed up with Kindle’s Unlimited program this week, and I have to say that I am very disappointed. The premise is that you pay a monthly fee ($10) and you get unlimited access to borrow ebooks and audio books. You can have any 10 out at any time.
What they don’t explain up front this that you have to pay more to add the audio narration to most of the books offered. Ok, that could still be a savings over buying the audio books from the standard audio sites, but the additional costs could add up quickly if you use it much. Also the ‘Unlimited’ library of books is much smaller than they led me to believe. I didn’t find much in the way of ‘current’ works available either.
Ok, so maybe that could still work out depending on what you are looking for. There are still a LOT of great books out that that were written/recorded years ago after all. But when I searched for older works that I knew to be exceptional and plentiful, I found nothing available to me in the program. When I searched for authors or narrators that I like, I found the books available for purchase, but NOT available on Kindle Unlimited. Not cool!
I’m always trying to look at the bright side of things, so I figure surely I can still find good authors and narrators. But, I found the narration setup very awkward and difficult to work with too. I DO like that the narration is complemented on the ebook with a read-along highlighting feature. If you are the type of person who likes to follow along in the book as the narration plays, you might really like this setup. And I’m ok with that part. I can take it or leave it. Sometimes I followed along in the book, and other times I just listened to the narration.
What I found most annoying was the way the narration kept skipping back, multiple chapters at times. I would be listening along, and I would think ‘we already went over that part’. So I would take a look and sure enough the book had skipped back again. This happened multiple times to me, and even at times when the device I was using (my phone for this first one) was totally hands free. So it’s not like I could have touched a button or something.
I’m really disappointed in the mis-representation of the service, and especially in the difficulties experienced using it. I’m sure if you are really into reading ebooks and they don’t have to be current releases, you could find this service perfect for your needs. It’s still reasonable in pricing if you read a lot, and don’t want to keep your books as this is a borrowing service. You don’t get to keep the books.
I’m not finding it works very well for my needs. I still have 3 weeks on my ‘trial’ period, but I’m not sure that I will make it that far. It’s just more hassle than I think I have the time to mess with. I will amend this review if I find my first representation to have been an anomaly.
If you are a member of any audio book services (Audible excluded as I am already a member, also the Public Library as I am a total fan and patron there), that you find either very economical, easy to use, exceptional on availability, quality, etc. Anything that you would like to give a shout-out or a high-five about, please note it in the comments below. Thank you.
And as always, Happy Listening!
Update on Kindle Unlimited – So I realized that the audio side of the ebooks on the Unlimited program get saved to the Audible app as well as the Kindle app. If you listen to the audio on the Audible app, it works fine. If you listen to it on the Kindle app, it has problems.
I still think the ‘Unlimited’ title is very misleading, especially since the number of new/current books offered is very ‘limited’ indeed. There should be more current releases available for this program to live up to it’s name.
However, since I now have a good working audio platform, I will continue with the program a while longer to see if I can still find value enough to keep the subscription.
If you have questions or comments, please let me know.
Thank you, and Happy Listening!