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Kindle Unlimited in India – 7 Things You Should Know Before You Subscribe

The Amazon Kindle Unlimited program is finally here in India, but before you hit that subscribe button here are a few things you should know…


What is the Kindle Unlimited program?

Kindle Unlimited works like a library program that offers you options to borrow ebooks. There is no time limit for how long you can keep a book, unlike conventional paper libraries. However the books stays with you only until your subscription is valid.

Amazon is charging Rs.199/month, but for a limited time they are offering a discount – Rs.99 for 1 month, Rs.999 for 6 months and Rs.1,799 for a year’s subscription. They also as of now are NOT offering audio versions of the books.

India is the first country in Asia and the 10th country worldwide that Amazon has launched Unlimited in.


Is it truly unlimited? Can I hoard?

The program isn’t unlimited – neither in the number of books you can borrow nor in the number of books on offer. At any point in time you can only keep 10 books. If you want to borrow an 11th book, you will have to release 1 of the 10 books you have before you can get the next book.

Though you can’t hoard, 10 books at one time is still a biggie. That’s a fair number of books to read at the same time. It is important to note that you never own a book, every book taken through the Unlimited program is borrowed and has to be returned at some point.

If you made noted or highlights while reading, these will get stored but will not be accessible after returning the book unless you borrow or buy the book again.


How many books can I read per month?

One of the visitors to the site, Patrick Rvs, decided to test the limits. He found that after you go through 1,000 books in a month ‘you get a mysterious “system error” that appears on screen’.


What kind of books can I expect?

Currently Amazon is offering a million titles in the Unlimited program, but (and that’s a BIG BUT), most of these are books that have been published by Amazon or it’s imprints. There are other publishers too but most big names in the publishing industry are missing. And there don’t seem to be any bestsellers on the list either.

That said, the selection isn’t all bad. There are some interesting authors and books I came across both in the global and the India sections. There was also a lot on offer in the comics section, with a lot of Amar Chitra Katha’s to read.


What devices can be used to read? Do you have to own a kindle?

Books borrowed in the Kindle Unlimited program can be read on all Kindle devices and Kindle Apps. This is one of the best features of the program as you are not limited to any device.


What other options do I have in India?

Being an avid reader I’m always on the look-out for ways to get more books. A couple of years ago I had taken up a membership with Just Books clc. They offer an excellent collection of paper books and the price isn’t all that high (way higher than Unlimited though) but the biggest drawback is that there isn’t always a library near you. Here’s a list of their prices –

There are also others like MyOnlineLibrary and EasyLib, who operate in the same price range.

Apart from these physical book libraries, there are no e-book lending libraries currently in India. However there are global e-book lending libraries like Oyster Books – $9.95/month, Scribd – $8.99/month and Bookmate – $8.99 but their price itself is daunting and not all books they offer are available in India.


Is it value for money?

In all enthusiasm I tried to subscribe yesterday as soon as I saw the program, but lucky or not, the Amazon system threw up errors and after about 10 tries and 2 customer service calls I gave up. It bought me some time to investigate the program and make a more informed decision.

As a lending/borrowing library, the Unlimited program seems great and is probably the best available for its price right now in India. It’s true it doesn’t have all the books you may want to read, but if you aren’t really looking only for those bestsellers that everyone one is raging about, this program may just work for you.

At Rs.1,799 for the first year, the Kindle Unlimited program is definitely worth giving a try to and I’ve decided to give it a roll.

What do you plan to do? Are you going to join? What is it that puts you off Kindle Unlimited? Where do you source most of your ebooks?


Kindle Unlimited – more useful links

Here are a few more useful articles/resources to help you understand Kindle Unlimited before you sign up.

What is Kindle Unlimited and how does it work?

Kindle Unlimited ebook subscription – 9 things to know

Amazon Kindle Unlimited vs. Scribd vs. Oyster

Image Credits: Images have been taken from the Amazon Unlimited section and Just Books website.

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