Amazon Launches Prime Reading

Posted on October 5, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud with 12 Comments

Amazon Launches Prime Reading

Amazon today announced a new service for its Kindle and Prime customers called Prime Reading. Now, Prime subscribers in the United States can enjoy unlimited reading from a rotating selection of books, magazines, comics and other Kindle-based content at no additional cost.

“Prime is the best deal in the history of shopping and today it got even better,” Amazon vice president Greg Greeley said in a prepared statement. “Prime members can now enjoy an awesome selection of books including The Hobbit, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, The Man in the High Castle, plus magazines and more with Prime Reading, all for free on any device.”

Even those who pay close attention to Amazon’s always-growing list of Prime services and the many, many ways in which you can acquire reading content for Kindle must be having trouble keeping this all straight. I know I am. And the biggest question I have is why Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited both exist.

As I understand it, Kindle Unlimited is a paid subscription service that provides customers with access to over 1 million books and thousands of audiobooks. It costs $10 per month and is not tied in any way to Prime.

Prime Reading, meanwhile, is a perk of the Prime service. Amazon isn’t providing any numbers per se, just that it includes access to “a diverse selection” of books. But of course it also includes magazines, exclusive short content, and other reading content. But not audiobooks.

So, yes, it’s confusing. And it seems like one service that you could get free with Prime or just pay for separately would make more sense. I don’t understand the licensing issues, naturally.

Anyway, if you are a Prime subscriber, be sure to check this out. You’ll probably spend more time reading about all the various Kindle-related services than reading actual books, but what the heck.


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  1. 0 | Reply
    wright_is Alpha Member #1319 - 3 months ago

    My wife is a heavy reader (6 - 7 books a month) and it was costing a fortune, but Kindle Unlimited was a godsend, at first. The selection of books, at least here in Germany is fairly limited. The books are mainly self-published and fairly short. There are some gems in there, but you have to search through the dregs to find them.

    The number of "best sellers" in there is fairly limited. Only a couple of the authors I read regularly are in there.

    Maybe Prime Reading will bring something else to the mix... If it ever gets here. The Echo is finally being launched here next month.

    1. 0 | Reply
      mebby Alpha Member #219 - 3 months ago
      In reply to wright_is:

      Though, the books available via Prime Reading seems to be a subset of what is available through Unlimited. Seems like it - based on my initial look.

  2. 0 | Reply
    WFJOD Alpha Member #1394 - 3 months ago

    Great idea but useless for a microsoft guy.  Can not view on your Windows desktop, laptop or phone.

    1. 0 | Reply
      Corbey Alpha Member #236 - 3 months ago
      In reply to WFJOD:
      Not useless, you can read Kindle books in a web broswer. There's also a Kindle app in the store.


  3. 0 | Reply
    idgilbert Alpha Member #1740 - 3 months ago

    I agree with you Paul on the complexity. I just spent the last half hour navigating Amazon trying to decipher the different benefits of Kindle First, Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Prime Reading. Talk about brand extensions gone wild!!

    Anyway, the new Prime Reading is not all it seems. If you "borrow" a book, magazine or comic it does not seem to be shared in your Household Library along with your other content. However Kindle First books are availabe to everyone in the Household.

    In my opinion Amazon need to reign this stuff in. It's just too difficult to get your head around.