Kindle Unlimited

I have a kindle, and I enjoy it. I haven’t always had a Kindle, I started as a Sony reader fan, and then an iPad user, but I succumbed to inevitability, and bought a Kindle.

I like it. I do prefer a eInk reader to a tablet, and today, you have to work really hard to live in this space and not use a Kindle.

I buy lots of books. Most are just throw-away pulpy fiction that I enjoy reading. Like the Doc Savage series (modern), or The Destroyer series. Mostly they are a couple of bucks, I enjoy them and delete them from my Kindle.

I have also borrowed a couple books via the Prime lending library. I wish I had something to say about that, but really, it is trivial to borrow, read, and “return“. Very uneventful.

Now I am struggling with joining Kindle Unlimited. Looking at the books included, much of the pulpy fiction things are there. So it would probably save me a few bucks (but not much, and I rarely spend more than $10 a month on those throw-aways.

But the convenience of Unlimited is tempting. Grab a book or 5, and try them. If they suck, you aren’t out any money.

The ethical qualm is how little of that $10 goes to authors. You have to read some percentage of the book for them to get any money, and the fee paid to them is low. Why should I care?

Good question. Unlike the average Slashdot user, I don’t subscribe that the near zero marginal cost of an e-book means I should pay pennies for it. I know how much effort it is to write, edit, and package even an e-book. I believe that the written words are the value, not the paper, ink and distribution costs.

Herein lies the problem. Kindle Unlimited appears to be a bad deal for authors. They are pressured to participate, but, like Spotify, the amount of subscriber or advertiser money that trickles to them is minuscule.

I prefer to spend the few bucks, have more of that go to the authors, and hopefully, they will continue to write things I want to read.

So, while Kindle Unlimited seems awesome, and a great deal, I will continue buying books, as I believe that will help the authors make a living, and thus not have to go back to a day job to put food on the table.


Yes, I still use Spotify. However, I have bought many albums based on things I have found there. I find that if I really enjoy (read: replay songs) an artist, I will buy their album(s) to help support them.

e-Reader – Beginning to Cave

I am an avid reader. I started in high school, voraciously reading science fiction. I can get through 3 or more Sci Fi novels in a week.

I used to be a frequent visitor to the used book stores.

E Readers, FTW!
E Readers, FTW!

The advent of eBooks was a godsend. Instead of raiding the used book stores, and carrying 6 or 7 books when I go on business trips, I use a reader.

My first reader was a Sony. I got it before the launch of the Kindle, so it was the only real choice. I loved that thing. I could carry as many books as I wanted to carry, and always had fresh material.

A couple years later, my Sony got stolen, and I replaced it. This was probably 2010 or so.

In the mean time, the Amazon Kindle launched and pretty much took over the market. But I had a pretty large investment in ePub books, and they are not compatible with the Kindle. So the kindle was never a really an option.

Fast forward to today. My sony has been through 3 batteries, and is feeling its age. I still have a shitload of ePub books (with and without DRM), and I read mostly on one of my tablets. Yes, it isn’t as satisfying as a good e-ink display in bright light, but it is convenient.

But the tablet is not an ideal platform. The temptation to just drop to email, or do a quick check on Facebook is too great, and interrupts my reading.

Kindle makes an appearance

I was browsing Amazon a few weeks ago, and one of their free kindle books was tempting. I had known that there was an app for my iphone/ipad and android tablet. So I grabbed the free book, and the app and started reading. I reall liked it.

The Kindle ecosystem has some great attributes:

  • The store is very well set up. It is easy to find what you are interested in. Plus, since I have been buying books and media from Amazon for 14 years or more, they know what I like. So their recommendations are on target.
  • The buying process is easy. No, I am not using whispernet, but it is real easy to buy a title and have it sent to one of my devices.
  • The selection on the store is amazing. Amazon truly does have the widest selection, and the prices are good. I mostly bought before from the Sony store, or the Google Play store. Rarely from the Apple itunes store.

So, I am once again in the market for a dedicated reader. While the tablets are nice, and very servicable, a dedicated reader has some benefits, including the higher resolution e-ink screen, and vastly longer battery life.

I could go back to Sony, but the quality and features have really degraded. Or rather they haven’t kept up. Kobo is another choice, but again, it is a distant 3rd place.

Thus, it looks like I will be opening my wallet to buy a kindle. Probably a Paperwhite Wifi unit.

I can use Calibre to convert my ePub library to kindle format. So I will be able to move over most of my collection seamlessly.

I have held out against the Kindle for a long time. Early kindles seemed toylike and cheaply built, but it is clear that it has won the e-reader market.