Amazon Launches Netflix-Like 'Unlimited E-Book' Service In UK

Sep 24, 2014

Amazon has finally launched Kindle Unlimited, a Netflix-style ebook subscription service for the UK, following its successful July debut in America this year.

For a fee of £7.99 a month, subscribers to Kindle Unlimited can enjoy unlimited access to a catalogue of more than 650,000 ebooks, as well as more than 2,000 audiobooks from Audibible.

Those familiar with Spotify or Netflix will understand the service's basic premise: a new way to access literary entertainment on an "unlimited" scale, where you pay for access to an electronic library rather than buying each book individually.

Amazon is marketing Kindle Unlimited with the bestsellers in mind. It's aiming to entice customers to the scheme by highlighting popular titles such as J.K Rowling's Harry Potter series (previously unpublished on Kindle) and Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy that will be available to all subscribers.

The online retail behemoth is also pitching Kindle Unlimited as a means of literary experimentation. The service, says Amazon, can be used to take risks and discover books that customers may not normally have paid money for otherwise.

"Our US customers have shown us how much they love the opportunity to discover new authors and genres, and now we're delighted to offer the same freedom to our customers in the UK," said Jorrit Van der Meulen, Amazon's vice president of Kindle EU in a statement.

UK bookworms wishing to get involved can do so immediately, and those that are unsure can also take advantage of Amazon's 30-day free trial that will aim to hook new business.

Authors Not Happy

Still, the launch comes as the dust settles on a tumultuous dispute between Amazon and high profile authors including Stephen King and Donna Tartt. Joining forces under the banner "Authors United," the writers branded the company as greedy and negligent in protecting the very people who create the books it sells.

"Amazon is undermining the ability of authors to support their families, pay their mortgages, and provide for their kids' college educations," read the letter that the authors wrote to Amazon's board members. "Amazon has other negotiating tools at its disposal; it does not need to inflict harm on the very authors who helped it become one of the largest retailers in the world."

So what does Kindle Unlimited mean for those same authors when similar services like Spotify have famously struggled to establish royalty rights for content creators? Amazon claims that authors will be paid each time someone reads more than 10% of one of their books, though that payment figure will vary depending on each writer's individual deal with their publishers and Amazon.

Author: Alysia Judge
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