Kindle Unlimited vs Prime Reading: Which is Best?

Welcome to this comparison article of Prime Reading vs Kindle Unlimited: two services provided by Amazon, the behemoth of digital reading.

Awesome, huh? But you might just be thinking…”But why two? Surely, one would suffice. What’s really the difference?”

Trust me. Before I got into it, I was asking the same questions. However, a close examination concludes that each of these two services has their own merits.

Let’s take a closer look into each of them and find out which option is the best one for you.

What is the difference between Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited?

The main difference between Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime Reading is that Amazon Prime Reading is a service automatically connected with its Amazon Prime subscription service, whereas Kindle Unlimited is a separate subscription program just for reading books.

Amazon Prime Reading is only part of the overall Amazon Prime package, which also includes things like Amazon Prime Video and Free Shipping.

Kindle Unlimited, on the other hand, has a larger library, a different pricing strategy, and a slight difference in library selection.

See my other article on the Kindle Unlimited pros and cons.

Is Kindle Unlimited included with Prime?

No, Kindle Unlimited is not included in Amazon Prime. It is a separate subscription, with a different library of books, for the most part, when compared to what you get with Amazon Prime. It is designed specifically for voracious readers like me who easily break the bank by buying books individually.

Amazon Prime Reading vs Kindle Unlimited comparison chart

FeatureKindle UnlimitedPrime Reading
Subscription-basedYesYes (but included in Amazon Prime)
# of Titles1,400,0001,000
Book TypesKindle, Comics, MagazinesKindle, Comics, Magazines
Number of books you can keep at once1010
Return DatesNoneNone
Devices and Apps
  • Kindle Ereaders
  • Fire Tablets
  • Kindle for iOS
  • Kindle for Android
  • Kindle Ereaders
  • Fire Tablets
  • Kindle for iOS
  • Kindle for Android
Free trial30 days30 days
Monthly Subscription$9.99$14.99
Annual SubscriptionN/A$139

Kindle Unlimited vs Prime Reading pricing

On the surface, Amazon Prime Reading may seem more expensive, since it comes in at $14.99 a month.

Kindle Unlimited, on the other hand, only costs $9.99 a month, and has a much bigger library.

Seems like Kindle Unlimited is the clear winner, correct?

Not so fast.

Because Amazon Prime Reading is only part of the overall Amazon Prime package, that is why it is worth more. You get a lot more than just books for that price. Kindle Unlimited is a subscription just for reading, and nothing else.

There are no yearly subscription models for Kindle Unlimited, whereas Amazon Prime Reading does have them. Kindle Unlimited does allow you to buy prepaid packages of 6, 12, and 24-month portions, but there is no discount for buying them at this rate.

That said, since Kindle Unlimited is the cheaper of the two, I’m giving this point to them.

Winner: Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited vs Prime Reading free versions

There are no free versions of Kindle Unlimited or Amazon prime reading, but there are 30-day free trials for both.

That way, if you’re unsure, you can try them both out and see if you like them.

Beware, though, you might find yourself falling down a reading rabbit hole like I did, because there is just SO MUCH to read.

If you are somehow no longer eligible for the 30 day trials, watch out for deals. You can often find them around Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Amazon’s own Prime Day.

Winner: Tie

Kindle Prime Reading library vs Kindle Unlimited library

This is the one area where Kindle Unlimited shines. Kindle Unlimited provides you access to over ONE MILLION different titles and options! This not only includes ebooks but cookbooks and magazines as well.

Now, I should point out that the vast majority of Kindle Unlimited books come from self-published authors. That’s not to mean that these books are no good, because there are thousands of them that are, but if you are looking for a book by one of the big five publishers, you might be out of luck.

Who are the big five publishers? They are:

  • Hachette
  • Macmillan
  • Penguin Random House
  • HarperCollins
  • Simon and Schuster

If you have a favorite author, there is a good chance that they are not available on Kindle Unlimited. But if your appetite for reading extends to independent authors and self-publishers, this is an awesome resource!

Amazon Prime Reading doesn’t have as wide a variety of books, but it does have more books from the big five publishers, so if you are looking for a mainstream read, you are more likely to find it with Amazon Prime. That said, their library is MINISCULE in comparison to Kindle Unlimited, so I am giving this point to the latter.

Winner: Kindle Unlimited

Compatible Devices

Whether you read your books through Kindle Unlimited, or you get them through Amazon Prime Reading, or even if you buy them, you will be able to read them in all the same places. These include:

  • Kindle e-readers
  • Fire tablets
  • The Kindle app for iOS
  • The Kindle app for Android

It all goes to the same place, which is a nice touch. You don’t have to have separate apps for everything.

Winner: Tie

Document Support

But what about comic books, or magazines? Do you find more of those on Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime Reading?

Answer: yes! You can find all sorts of comic books and magazines in both libraries. As I said before, Kindle Unlimited does have a better selection of books, but there are a number of mainstream comic books, for example, that you are more likely to find on Amazon Prime Reading.

Which one you choose will depend on the solution, but you can definitely read both comic books and magazines on both services.

Winner: Tie

Customer support

In my own experience, Amazon doesn’t always have the best customer support. That’s what happens when you get to be as big as they are.

However, they tend to be nicer to readers than they are two authors, and in my experience that is the case. Overall, if you’re having a technical issue with your Kindle, or with the Kindle app, they will be prompt to respond and give you the help you need.

However, I wouldn’t really say Kindle Unlimited is better than Amazon Prime Reading or vice versa, therefore I’m not awarding a point for this one.

Winner: None

Returning Books

When you get a book through Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime Reading, it is called a “borrow.” So it doesn’t really count as a purchase.

However, you can keep these books for as long as you stay subscribe to the service.

Right now, you’re probably saying to yourself… “Yeah yeah, what’s the catch? There’s got to be some kind of limit.”

And you’re not wrong. You can only check out a measly 10 books at a time. (Although that time is unlimited.) This is true for both services, so I don’t really see an advantage to either one in this arena.

Winner: Tie

Cancellation Terms

For both services, when you decide to cancel your subscription, you will only have access to the books you have borrowed until the end of that billing date.

That means that, once your subscription expires, you will not be able to read those books that you have borrowed. This is a standard practice, and so I’m calling this one a tie.

Winner: Tie

Which is better, Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime Reading? My conclusion

Overall, there are advantages and disadvantages to both services. And in many ways, they appear the same.

Kindle Unlimited and its massive library of over a million books, along with its cheaper price point, makes it the clear winner for me.

However, if you are already subscribe to Amazon Prime anyway, then Amazon Prime Reading is a bonus. Plus, Amazon prime reading has one advantage in having more books from the big five publishers. That said, it doesn’t have a lot of these books, and it lacks significantly with independently published books, which is where Kindle Unlimited shines.

In other words, get Kindle Unlimited.

FAQs

Is Prime reading the same as Kindle Unlimited?

No, Prime Reading is not the same as Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Unlimited is a separate subscription service that includes more books than Prime Reading, but is not included in the Amazon Prime. Therefore, if you are already subscribe to Amazon Prime, Prime Reading may be your best bet.

Is Kindle Unlimited free for Prime members?

No, Kindle Unlimited is a separate subscription service from Amazon Prime, and therefore is not included for free. However, Amazon Prime does include Amazon Prime Reading, which is a more limited service that is included at no extra cost. However, it does not include as many titles as Kindle Unlimited.

Can you get Kindle Unlimited without Prime?

Yes! If you are not subscribed to Amazon, you can still subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. This is a great way to cut costs if all you are interested in is the books. If you don’t need free shipping, Prime Video, or of those other features, Kindle Unlimited alone is worth its own price.

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