Amazon has officially launched its Kindle Unlimited all-you-can-download e-book service. Though Amazon may have tried to keep the service a secret until its release, screenshots and other information about the service appeared online just days before.
Seattle-based Amazon wants to break into the subscription e-book market. Others who previously operated in that space included Oyster, Scribd and AllYouCanBooks.
The service was discovered days before its official launch, according to reports. The service includes more than 600,000 e-books available to download completely free using the $10 per month service. Also included are several thousand more books available to listen to from Audible, another Amazon service.
Several popular titles have been mentioned to be available through Kindle Unlimited in reports, including "The Hunger Games" and "Lord of the Rings". These books do not have to be paid for as individual items anymore for users who opt into the e-book subscription, dubbed by one reporter as a sort of "Netlix for e-books." Other titles mentioned include "Harry Potter," "Life of Pi," "The Handmaids Tale," "Water for Elephants" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."
The original leak had appeared on an Amazon website and was discovered through user boards for Kindle. Amazon had removed the information related to Kindle Unlimited shortly after, but online news reports spread the information like wildfire.
According to one report, Amazon will throw in a free three-month membership to Audible upon signing up for the Kindle Unlimited e-book subscription service. A 30-day user trial is also available, similar to most Amazon Prime accounts.
Amazon and others in the digital media space are seeking to take advantage of the popularity of on-demand digital services. Obvious expmples of this business model can be found in the music and television industries with services like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora and Grooveshark. Users seem to be more apt to pay for convenience of access to titles that are immediately available. Amazon, like Oyster will attempt to model its e-book business after this strategy.
Amazon's major competitors for digital content delivery are Google and Apple. However, Kindle Unlimited will be available on its mobile apps for iOS, Android and other platforms.
Analysts at Piper Jaffray reportedly said that the company could be making more than $1 billion from the e-book business alone. As more users adopt digital books, the potential for more revenue will also increase and Amazon is likely testing Kindle Unlimited to see just how much the service can generate in profits for the company.