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Prime Reading Vs. Kindle Limited: Which Program is Better?

Amazon is an ever-expanding platform and its features, services, and pricing plans can be a bit flummoxing. You hear terms like Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Prime, FreeTime Unlimited, Prime Video, Audible Channels, Amazon Music Unlimited, Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and you’re thinking what are all these?

Some of these terms represent simple standalone subscriptions while others are complex membership programs but they are all aimed at expanding your pool of choices and giving you a service that you really need.

But all these services all in one place, their features, cancellation terms, supported platforms, eligible books, and offered deals can all be confusing.

I need a manual!

Yes, all these terms might need some explaining. So I’m creating a couple of posts on these topics and on this post, I’m serving some ‘lowdown’ on prime reading and kindle limited.

What are these services? How good are they? And in what way are they different?  

Let’s start by defining each of the two services.

prime reading vs. kindle limited which program is better

Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited is a standalone subscription-based service that lets you access over 1 million ebooks, audiobooks, comic books, magazines, and digital newspapers.

Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s main reading subscription service and it gives its subscribers easy access to a large number of books on demand.

This large pool of publications—from romance, to finance and science—has attracted comparisons with other online subscriptions services; it’s called the Netflix and Spotify of books.

So, what type of service does Amazon Kindle Unlimited offer?

kindle unlimited

Kindle Unlimited offers the following:

  • Exclusive Kindle Store titles
  • 1 000 000+ popular fiction and non-fiction eBooks
  • Thousands of audiobooks
  • 500 public domain titles
  • Comic books
  • Digital magazines

Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited also get to enjoy its magazine services. When you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you are allowed to select up to three magazine subscriptions every month, and you don’t pay an extra penny.

Moreover, the best-selling books on Amazon are priced much lower than those sold exclusively by big traditional publishers and are substantially lower if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member.

The list of the bestsellers that you can find Kindle Unlimited library includes:

  • Harry Potter series
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Animal Farm
  • Mary Poppins series
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Hunger Games series
  • Skip Langdon series
  • The Complete Novels of Jane Austen
kindle bestsellers

What Content Does Kindle Unlimited Offer?

Kindle Unlimited offers a library with over 1 million books to its subscribers. Although not all of the books in the Kindle Store are available here, there is a sufficiently broad selection of titles from a wide range of genres.

Exclusive Kindle Store titles, Comic Books, and Magazines

Kindle Unlimited has over 2 million titles to choose from, and you’ll definitely find books worth your time amongst this huge repository.

To safeguard their publishing dominance, major publishers (i.e., Penguin/Random House, Harper Collins, Macmillan, etc.) don’t have their books on Kindle unlimited. That can leave you frustrated if you joined thinking that you’ll have unlimited access to books from such publishers.

However, Kindle unlimited is replete with best-selling books and allows you up to three magazine subscriptions every month, which does not require any extra payment. Just like Amazon Prime Reading, you are allowed to borrow up to 10 at a time and you can keep them for as long as you have your Kindle subscription.

Audiobooks

Apart from the regular eBooks, Kindle Unlimited gives you access to a few thousand audiobooks. As a writer and avid reader, I don’t think that listening to audiobooks can be as exciting as reading books but for the casual reader, they offer an excellent alternative. And if you’re one of them, then Kindle Unlimited offers you such a sweet deal because instead of forking out the $14.95 that you pay for Audible, you pay just $9.99 for Kindle unlimited. I have noted though, that the Kindle Unlimited audiobook library is lighter than that of audible, hence it may not be sufficient for some people.

Public Domain Books

The Kindle Unlimited subscription comes with about 500 curated public domain books that you can read, as well as listen to.

You’re paying for this service, so it’s alright to feel robbed here.

Hey! I gave you about ten George Washingtons, why are you giving me things I can get for free?

Well, look at it this way, since you get access to over 1 million books and 1000 audiobooks with Kindle Unlimited, the public domain should just come as a complimentary pack.


Amazon Prime Reading

prime reading

Unlike Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Prime Reading is not a standalone subscription and is part of Amazon Prime. With Prime Reading, you get access to a rotating selection of around 1,000—from ebooks, children’s books, comics, to popular magazines and others.

Prime members are given access to about 1,000 different books using the “Prime Reading” tab of their accounts and these books are available for download. Members can then read these downloaded books using a Kindle e-reader, Fire tablet, or Kindle apps (on iOS and Android).

Prime Reading offers a good variety of publications and the menu includes:

  • Popular fiction and non-fiction titles
  • Literary classics
  • Children’s books
  • Comic books
  • Magazines
  • Selected audiobooks

Prime Reading allows its subscribers to download a maximum of 10 titles at a time. Just like a real-life library, Amazon Prime reading lets you read more titles but you’ll have to return one of the books you’ve already borrowed for you to download a new one.

But unlike a real-life library, Prime reading doesn’t have deadlines or due dates, so you don’t have to worry about hastily going through a book in fear of a deadline.

In a VIP-style type of preferential treatment, Prime Reading gives its members the First Reads service. The Amazon First Reads lets the Prime members choose and download up to six soon-to-be-released titles. This means that you enjoy the privilege of reading the books on this service before their official public release.

Awesome! 


What is the difference between Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime Reading?

There are many differences between the two, most of which I’m going to cover in the succeeding sections, but there are two things that really separate Kindle unlimited from Prime Reading.

amazon prime reading

The first difference has to do with subscription plans. Prime Reading comes as one of the many benefits of Amazon Prime. You don’t pay for the service on its own; rather, you get it after acquiring an Amazon Prime membership. On the other hand, Kindle Unlimited is a standalone subscription service, which means you have it purchased on its own. These differences in subscription imply that the standalone service, Amazon Kindle Unlimited, is—deservedly—a bit pricier than Prime Reading (since Prime Reading comes as a bouquet). If we were to break Amazon Prime’s subscription fees per service offered, Prime Reading can be shown to be cheaper compared to Kindle Unlimited but Kindle Unlimited offers more content.

The second and more relevant difference between Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading is the size and the quality of the content available on each service. Kindle Unlimited gives you access to 1,000,000+ titles, the majority of which are self-published by new writers and authors. Prime Reading, on the other hand, gives you access to 1,000+ titles, which are a subset of the content available on Kindle Unlimited and are handpicked by the editors. The list of titles on Prime Reading includes best-sellers and popular books from big publishing houses.

These two differences are vital and you need to get a taste of the two services to make an informed decision. Luckily for you, there are trials for both Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited, so you can always give both services some test runs before deciding which is right for you.

Both Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading are subscription-based services, but there is one substantial difference between them:

Prime Reading vs. Kindle Limited: Pricing

At what price do you get to enjoy each of the two services?

As I already pointed out, Kindle Unlimited is a separate subscription service, while Prime Reading comes with an Amazon Prime subscription.

So, comparing the pricing plans of these two services one-to-one is a bit unfair. Anyway, as of now, Kindle Unlimited costs $9.99 per month, and an Amazon Prime membership, which is the mother bouquet for Prime Reading, costs $12.99 per month. Amazon Prime membership offers a variety of benefits, including:

  • You get unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping on eligible items with Amazon Prime, with no minimum spend.
  • Free same-day delivery in selected areas
  • Unlimited movie and TV show streaming as part of the Prime Instant Video service.
  • Unlimited access to millions of songs and playlists in the Prime Music Service.

The $12.99 per month price for Amazon Prime isn’t really influenced by Prime Reading but the free two-day shipping and video streaming services, so I wouldn’t say that Prime Reading is amongst the most common reasons people opt to subscribe to Amazon Prime.

Prime Reading vs. Kindle Limited: Supported Platforms

The platforms from which you can access the two services are the same. To access Prime Reading or Kindle Unlimited, use the following:

  • Kindle e-reader
  • Fire tablet
  • Kindle app
a kindle tablet

You can also use your web browser to go through the catalogs of the two services.

Prime Reading vs. Kindle Limited: Verdict

I can’t tell you which service is better, it depends on the type of reader you are. But what I can tell you is that Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited were made for two different people.

Kindle Unlimited was designed with an avid reader in mind. Amazon Prime Reading, on the other hand, is for someone who likes to read a page once in a while and slot a ton of movies and music in between their reads.

Which one are you?

I don’t think anyone buys an Amazon Prime subscription, primarily focusing on Prime Reading’s benefits. My guess is, almost everyone subscribes to Amazon Prime because of the quick delivery and the streaming services.

amazon prime
Prime Reading is not a stand-alone service; it is one of the many perks of Amazon Prime.

I’m not saying that people don’t think about Prime Reading when subscribing to Prime, but I don’t think that it’s a deal-breaker when it comes to Amazon Prime. I have to admit though, they have some impressive selections at times and you can find some very good reads over there.

But if you’re a bookworm, Kindle Unlimited is what I recommend. Close your eyes, authorize that payment, and enjoy the best eBook subscription service on the planet.

kindle unlimited vast collection of books

No, the best eBook subscription service in the galaxy. In the cosmos!

However, you’re likely not going to find the hottest new bestsellers publishing by big traditional publishers on either of the two services. They legally want to monopolize the distribution of their new bestselling books, and most of them don’t want these books on these platforms.

Prime Reading and Kindle Limited FAQs

Does Amazon Prime include Kindle Unlimited?

No, Amazon Prime doesn’t include Kindle Unlimited. These services are different and are subscribed to separately. The best you can get is a discounted bundle of the two and I don’t even know if Amazon offers such a payment option, but you never know what the marketing guys can pull out of their hats.

What is included in Kindle Unlimited?

A Kindle Unlimited subscription gives you access to over one million titles in the Kindle store.

You can browse through e-books, audiobooks, magazines, etc. And, you get to keep up to ten titles at one time.

What is the difference between Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime?

Well, for starters, Prime Reading comes as part of the Amazon Prime package, while Kindle Unlimited is a standalone subscription.

Another notable difference is the number of titles available for each of these programs. Prime Reading gives access to around 1,000 titles—which are rotated in and out—and Kindle Unlimited gives you access to over one million titles.

Can you keep the books on Kindle Unlimited after canceling?

No. Both Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited let you keep the books when you cancel the subscription, but only up to the next billing date.

After that date, your subscription is gone and the borrowed books are removed from your device or app. However, you get to keep all the notes and highlights you’ve made.

Is Kindle Unlimited free for Prime members?

No. Kindle Unlimited is not free for Amazon Prime members. Even as an Amazon Prime, you still have to fork out an extra $9.99 to have Kindle Unlimited for a month.

How do you get Kindle Unlimited for free?

You can use Kindle unlimited for free for a month using the free trial. Before you fork out the $9.99 fee, Amazon gives you the option of trying out Kindle Unlimited for a whole month to see if you’re going to like the service.

Final Words

There are some things we can disagree on Prime Reading vs. Kindle Unlimited, but one thing we can all agree on is that Amazon has made it harder for us readers to run away from their platforms.

The people over there are geniuses! I tip my hat.

They’ve created a pile of services among which an individual always finds at least one they like. It’s the same thing with Kindle Unlimited, Audible, and Prime Reading because they know that depending on your reading habits, you’re going to love what of these services.

In Amazon Prime, Amazon created a service suitable for people who like to mix their reading with a couple of movies or video series. And, they made Kindle Unlimited for the avid reader who likes to go through mounds of titles to find a couple they like and binge on them.

I think I have clarified the difference between the two services and it is up to you to decide which one suits you.

About Jessica Majewski

Jessica started off as an avid book reader. After reading one too many romance novels (really... is it ever really enough?), she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories.

She now shares what she has learned (the good and the not so good) here at When You Write, hoping she can inspire more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world.