Kindle Unlimited vs Prime Reading: Which is Best?

Take look at your bookshelf.

It’s probably organized to your little quirks. Maybe it’s arranged alphabetically by author title? Or simply book height. Or it’s like mine… Disorganized as all get out.

Seriously. My shelf starts with the I Ching and ends with Stephen King’s memoir on the craft (On Writing, seriously a good read.) with a few comic book omnibuses peppered throughout. But I do have a few set-aside.

The ones I haven’t read.

We all have those books that we are just gonna get to later. But what happens when we don’t?

If you’re a voracious reader such as myself this can pose a problem. However, it doesn’t have to be.

Thanks to the world of online communications and eBooks, a literary universe lies just beneath your fingertips. And there’s one major player.


Along with their ever-growing assortment of goods and services, they have two specific items of interest to us “Bookaphiles”.

Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime 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.

Kindle Unlimited

Could you imagine holding the keys to one of the greatest libraries ever amassed? That wonder and imagination is now a concrete reality.

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

And for less than your daily cup of coffee, you can indulge in this literary heaven. For a monthly subscription, you pay just $9.99!

That’s insane. Like seriously. I have paid overdue library fines bigger than that. (Don’t judge me. The Brothers Karamazov can become a lot longer of a read than expected.) But really, that’s a hell of a price.

They do offer prepaid packages in 6, 12, and 24-month increments which make for great gifts for other like-minded individuals.

Still on the fence though? Amazon provides a free one month trial for those interested. So… there’s no need to hesitate.

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.)

I hope you were able to catch that sarcasm coming through the font. But other than that there are a few points of concern you should look at.

Kindle Unlimited is lacking in what some like to call the Big 5 of Publishing.


Penguin Random House
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!

This leads to the next major pitfall of Kindle Unlimited.

Most indie titles cost under $5. So if you aren’t as hungry of a reader, maybe Kindle Unlimited isn’t for you. But instead our other option…

Amazon Prime Reading

So let me preface this by saying that in order to utilize Amazon Prime Reading, you must first be a subscriber to Amazon Prime. And if you do anything at all on Amazon on a semi-regular basis… You should be on Amazon Prime. Nuff said.

Now. Amazon Prime gives you unlimited access to a rotating selection of top Kindle books, magazines, comics, and audible options.

When pit against Kindle Unlimited, the amount of books available pales in comparison. But… the books are much different. As stated above, Kindle Unlimited is missing the Big Five and focuses primarily on Indie authors.

That restriction does not apply to Amazon Prime Reading. With Prime Reading, you get full access to Kindle top-selling items. So, if you’re one to gravitate to New York Times bestsellers… this might be a better platform for you.

Just as with Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Prime (thus Prime Reading) comes with a 30-day free trial.

Sounds great huh? But there is no such thing as perfection. (Unless we count my Granny’s peanut butter cookies. But I digress…)

Amazon Prime Reading can only be used by those based in the US. So for all you international readers… I’m sorry. But Kindle Unlimited has overseas locations. But you will be limited to selections from your particular location.

What’s Best for You?

Given this information, what’s the best platform for you?

There are definite perks and pitfalls to each. So, only you can make that choice. What I can tell you is this. Having one or the other is a wonderful way to not only enhance your library but your reading life as well.

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