On the Subject of Kindle Unlimited

Dec 28, 2014 | The Publishing Industry

So… I’ve been debating Kindle Unlimited, and my biggest concern is whether it’s useful to readers. There’s already been a million words spilled on whether it’s good for authors, which is… neither here nor there, as my mother would say. The strength of it really depends on whether readers use it.

Trying to actually get info on the opinions of readers, though, is far more tricky than I thought it would be. My Google-fu is pretty strong, and I still struggled to get some basic articles written by readers or bloggers – not authors – on how much they got out of KU for the prince of $10 a month. So for what it’s worth, this is what I found – what readers think about KU.

It’s not without issues, more or less. The selection isn’t great. It can’t be, seeing as not all authors are on board with it. Then there’s the cost vs. payoff, and it depends on how many books you read. So it’s good for prolific readers, and a waste of money for lighter readers. That’s interesting to me.

So here’s what I said, way back when I listed my thoughts on what traditional publishers could do to save their business:

Hire programmers. Hire them out of Google or Microsoft if you have to. Have them build a Netflix-style service for books, tailored to an individual’s reading speed, that automatically sends new recommended books to them, with a skip function if they don’t like the blurb. But seriously, anything that Amazon can’t offer is what you need to look at.

Well… this isn’t quite what KU is. I imagined a service like this that would be priced at the number of books a person expects to read per month with a build-in discount, not a flat rate for everything. I kinda feel that that would be more in line with what readers want, and what authors would accept. I wish I could build such a thing.

Hell, I wish I could subscribe to such a thing.

Leave your thoughts in the comments.