Tech
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos demonstrates the Kindle Paperwhite during Amazon Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos demonstrates the Kindle Paperwhite during Amazon's Kindle Fire event in Santa Monica, California Sept. 6, 2012. (REUTERS/Gus Ruelas)  

Amazon Announces Ebook Subscription Service

Amazon officially unveiled its new Kindle Unlimited service, which allows limitless reading for a monthly fee, on Friday morning.

For $9.99 per month, users can subscribe to a service that TechCrunch describes as a “Netflix for Books.” Subscribers will have access to a collection of over 600,000 books, including several major titles such as the “Harry Potter” series and “Water for Elephants,” as well as a number of Kindle exclusives. Kindle Unlimited also provides access to thousands of audiobooks through Audible.

Kindle Unlimited users will also be able to take advantage of Whispersync for Voice, which allows users to switch between reading and listening to a book without losing their place.

However, The Verge notes that Amazon may struggle to apply the wildly successful Netflix template to books. The average 25- to 34-year-old spends an average of six minutes reading per day, compared to 2.8 hours watching television. As a result, the $9.99 per month price tag simply will not be worth it for the average person, although the more dedicated Kindle user base is more likely to have reading habits that would make the service worthwhile.

Kindle Unlimited may also find its selection limited by its current dispute with Hachette, one of the five main publishers. HarperCollins, another of the big five, also told CNN that it is currently not participating in the program.

The service was accidentally revealed on Wednesday when Gigaom uncovered several test pages advertising Kindle Unlimited that were quickly taken down, but it is now available on all Kindles and Kindle-enabled devices.

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