Online retailer Amazon launched a Kindle subscription service for books on Friday that will work much like Spotify or Netflix, but for books. Kindle Unlimited is available now in the US and costs $9.99 (about £6) per month.
Wired.co.uk asked Amazon when we could expect to see Kindle Unlimited land in the UK, but could get no more information than the following statement: “Kindle Unlimited is only available in the US right now, but please stay tuned.”
Unfortunately Amazon does not have a track record of quickly delivering products it launches in the US. When Amazon launched Autorip — the service that entitles anyone who buys a CD or vinyl to a free digital version — in the US in January 2013, it took six months to bring it to the UK. The Kindle Fire tablet took almost a year to reach British shores and Amazon is still yet to announce a date for launching the Fire TV in the UK, and wasn’t prepared to give anything away when Wired.co.uk questioned a UK-based Amazon Prime Video executive recently.
As it stands though, Kindle Unlimited might prove a rather underwhelming service anyway. Amazon boasts that Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Life of Pi will all be available, but the big five publishers — Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan — have all declined to make their titles available on Kindle Unlimited. The big five are far from the be-all and end-all of publishing, but not being able to make their titles available to Kindle Unlimited customers means that the service will lack many old favourites and much-anticipated new books.
If they can get the those 5 publishers onboard than that will point to subscription services really being the way of the future just like music subscriptions services.