Monday, February 22, 2016

The Frugal Retiree does Kindle Unlmited

I'm a book worm. I read many, many books a month. In fact, my heart almost stopped when I recently looked at how many dollars I had spent on Kindle books in the 2015. Holey Moley, people!!! As someone who has pretty much completely gone over to the dark side of E-book reading, I realized I had to get my proverbial act together.

I've promised myself I will check out my libraries (I have access to three systems: two counties and my town library), and put myself on the waiting list for kindle books (while hoping that figuring out the downloads is not beyond my modern technology skills). Plus, I already subscribe to three different sites that share with me the specially free kindle books on any given day. 

Last but not least (as though as I wasn't invested in Amazon enough through Prime) decided to check out the Amazon Kindle Unlimited program. A subscription program that costs nine bucks a months, this is the kindle version of an "all you can eat buffet". You can read as many books as you want with no limit, as the title says, with a limit of ten books on your device at any time. 

Of course, as with all things, it wasn't quite as simple as it seemed.  First of all, you have to be someone who would normally buy at least one kindle book a month. If you never buy a kindle book, and only use the library or access free items, then it's definitely not a deal. For me, this was a case of knowing thyself. Even with using the library and all the free book links, I WILL get at least a book a month from the kindle store. It's who I am-when I decide to read a book there are times when I simply will not wait. 

Another issue I soon realized was that (unsurprisingly) not all Amazon books are Kindle Unlimited eligible. I have a master wish list of about five pages of items I want to buy/read eventually (not all are books). About one third of those books were eligible for Kindle Unlimited. New books, and mysteries and popular fiction by the big publishing houses are usually not going to be in this program. The current John Sanford mystery, or most items on the best seller lists were not on Kindle Unlimited. Available on Kindle, yes. 

So if you ONLY read current best selling fiction and non-fiction, Kindle Unlimited may not be a good idea. In my case I read almost anything. I'm trying to read a classic book every month or so. I'm looking for new authors and often the first one of two of a mystery series may be free or on Kindle Unlimited. There are lots of non fiction books, and there are books published by Amazon. There are also new authors who offer books through KU in order so that people can check out the books and "spread the word".

For example, after reading Tom's blog post, I downloaded this book, shown below, which was written by Kathy over at Smart Living 365. While I haven't had a chance to look at yet, I appreciate the fact that she has it in the subscriber system. More than that, because I'm reading it for free, I'll be leaving a review on Amazon which hopefully will help her sell more of those $2.99 regular Kindle books.

Right now, I have ten books from KU on my tablet (a few of which are shown in this blog post). I have two mysteries (not brand new but both with a pile of ratings and at least four stars). I have a book on how to use my serging machine, a drawing book, and a book on how to spend 24 hours in Salt Lake City (for my train trip). All of them for as long as I want, and all with no turn in date. 

So, is KU worth it for me?  For now, yes!  Who knows, that may change, and if so, I'll just cancel that ole subscription deal (KU is monthly, where Prime is an annual fee).

To be fair, KU is not the only knife in the drawer. You can read books through companies like Scribd or other books subscription companies. Kindle Unlimited works for me because I'm already on Amazon with Prime. I have a wish list, and of course once you read one KU book, trusty Amazon has another ten or so recommendations for you. I also like the fact that if I want to (as in when I'm traveling), I can get audio narration on many of my kindle books for a small fee, without necessarily subscribing to something like

And there you have it. While KU is a reasonable and frugal cost for me, your mileage may vary!! 


  1. I did Kindle Unlimited for awhile but I got annoyed with so many books not being on it and dropped it. Another good choice is to sign up for the bookbub newsletter. It notified you each day of free or heavily discounted Kindle books. Often the free ones are just for that day so you have to check on it each day. The discounted ones are usually $.99 or $1.99. I've gotten lots of great books from this.

  2. I read about 50 books a year -- probably 30 from the library, 10 from amazon and 10 as gifts or the $1 sale bin somewhere. So much entertainment for so little money!

  3. Yes, Tom, reading is well worth it. I've come late to the idea that I can read for free on my Kindle, but I'm getting there. I generally read a minimum of a two books a week, so I go through an awful lot books also

  4. That was great thinking on your part. I am still addicted to Books on CD so haven't invested in a Kindle but when I do, I certainly will join the Unlimited Group.

  5. Hey Barbara! I thought I subscribed to your blog and then realized I hadn't gotten anything from you so just started going through your posts tonight. And there was my book. I don't know if you've had a chance to read it yet but I appreciate you letting others know it is available. I think it is fits nicely into many of the things you write about on a regular basis and chances are good much of your life is already "rightsized!" ~Kathy


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