I love e-books, and manage to go through four or five per week, mostly nonfiction. How do I go through so many books in a week? As I explain in more detail here, I use my Kindle’s text-to-speech function, cranked up to two or three times the normal speed (no, there is no chipmunk quality), and listen to books whenever I am commuting, showering, dressing, etc.
The truth is, especially when you read multiple books on the same topic, even a really good book may offer only ten or twenty really good, new to you takeaways. As I’m listening to an e-book at warp speed, I can easily absorb the broad concepts, and if a really good takeaway pops up, I can slow it down and repeat, or have Siri send whatever I want to remember to Evernote.
(Did you know you can have Siri on your iPhone add notes to your Evernote account? Here’s how. Of course you can dictate directly into Evernote, but the Siri method allows you to do it hands free. No distracted driving for you! The next version of iOS will make this even better, because Siri will obey your commands without you even having to push that one button to get her attention. And if you’ve seen that episode of The Big Bang Theory, you know that Siri is a real woman answering your questions in real time.)
But feeding my brain is not without cost. Even though we live in wonderful times where e-books can be had for a fraction of the price of their printed brethren, going through four or five books per week can still be a costly addiction.
Enter Kindle Unlimited
Now comes Kindle Unlimited. Like other “Netflix for books” plans, Kindle Unlimited allows you to read an unlimited number of e-books for just $9.99 per month. The current catalog includes over 600,000 titles, and 8,000 audiobooks. The couple of reviews I’ve read about Kindle Unlimited have made the inevitable comparisons to Scribd and Oyster, who offer similar services for the same price, but from my perspective there is no comparison and they are utterly missing the point.
Authors who publish through Amazon have the option of joining a program called KDP Select. It’s a marketing system that allows the authors to market their books in certain ways and earn higher commissions. It also offers the books worldwide. It’s a great program. My book, How to Create a Big, Fat Pipeline of New Clients for Your Law Firm in Just 10 Days, is in the KDP Select program. The price an author pays for being in KDP Select is that he or she must agree to sell exclusively through Amazon for no less than 90 days.
When Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited, without so much as asking “pretty please may I?”, it made the entire library of KDP Select books available to anyone subscribing to Kindle Unlimited. Amazon did announce, however, that authors with books in KDP Select did not have to wait until the 90 day commitment had run, and could immediately opt out if they did not want their books offered for “free” in KDP Select.
“So do you get a royalty when a Kindle Unlimited subscriber downloads a “free” copy of Big, Fat Pipeline?”, you ask. Thank you so much for your concern. That means a lot to me.
The answer is, heck if I know. You are probably familiar with Amazon Prime. You pay $100 per year for free shipping and a bunch of other goodies like free movies. Amazon Prime members also get to borrow one book per month for free, and can lend books they bought to others. Amazon creates a “fund” for all those freebies, and I still get a royalty when my book is borrowed or loaned. Thus far, those royalties have been about the same 70% I get for a regular e-book sale, and under Kindle Unlimited it’s supposed to work the same way. If true, then Kindle Unlimited could be great for authors, because any buying resistance is removed since the books are now “free”. Why hesitate to buy a book and take the time to carefully read all the reviews if it is free? Might as well download it and take a look. And if there are two similar books on the same subject – one that can be downloaded for free via Kindle Unlimited and another that the reader would have to pay for – which one is the reader likely to get? The program should get Big, Fat Pipeline onto a lot more Kindles. I’ll just have to wait and see if the royalties keep pace.
I thought you might appreciate that little primer on Amazon in case you are thinking of publishing, but let’s get to the point.
Kindle Unlimited Review
As a reader, Kindle Unlimited is AMAZING. The reason that comparing Kindle Unlimited to Scribd and Oyster is apples to oranges is because the latter two do not have access to the KDP Select library. That offers a HUGE repository of nonfiction books that you can draw upon to gain expertise on just about any imaginable subject. And don’t forget the 8,000 audiobooks being offered. I love audiobooks, but they are pricey.
Don’t quote me on it, but the average price of an e-book on Amazon (at least the ones I buy) is about $5. (Incidentally, for another peek behind the curtains, e-book authors usually price their books between $2.99 and $9.99 on Amazon because Amazon pays a 70% royalty for e-books selling in that price range. Any more or less, and the royalty drops to just 35%.) My five e-book per week habit was running me about $25 per week, or more than $100 per month.
The day I signed up for Kindle Unlimited, I immediately downloaded ten books that I wanted to read, all for free. Ten books is the maximum you can “check out” at one time, but it is kind of a distinction without a difference, because if you try to borrow number 11, Amazon just asks you which book you want to return. You can just swap out a book and then swap it back in later when you finish one of the ten.
My e-book habit.
The amount of information now available to you for just $9.99 per month is truly staggering. So, click here to try Kindle Unlimited free for 30 days, and become a genius on your chosen topics for a lot less money, whether they be your practice areas and/or law firm marketing. Since my book, How to Create a Big, Fat Pipeline of New Clients for Your Law Firm in Just 10 Days is available on Kindle Unlimited, you can help yourself to a free copy. You do not have to have a Kindle to read the e-books you download, but for the text-to-speech feature, you do.
To give you just a tiny infinitesimal sampling of the sort of nonfiction books you can download on Kindle Unlimited, here are the e-books I downloaded that I will be absorbing this week. Click on any of the covers for more information.
I was listening to a podcast (on podcasting) and the host interviewed Nick Loper, the author of this book. It sounded great, so checked it out, and sure enough it was available on Kindle Unlimited.
Same basic story as above, only this time I was reading a blog post. The article wasn’t even about StumbleUpon, but the author mentioned parenthetically (see, I’m not the only one) that blog authors are crazy is they aren’t using StumbleUpon. I know NOTHING about StumbleUpon, so I went on Amazon and searched for books on the topic. There were several, but this one was available on Kindle Unlimited. It is normally $9.99, and for that price I previously would not have bought the e-book just to find out if I might be interested in giving StumbleUpon a try. Now, it’s mine!
Saw it. “Bought” it. Has several five star reviews.
This is one that Amazon always pushes at me as a recommended book, but even though it’s only $2.99, I’ve never read it because it has only one review and that review is one star. But now that it’s “free” on Kindle Unlimited, I can give it a look and form my own opinion.
This is another one that lists for $9.99, and it has a bunch of five star reviews. I’m not opposed to paying ten bucks for a good book, but there are so many $5 e-books I want to read, and my reading habit is already so costly, that ten dollar books usually got a pass. No more!