Amazon Moves to Own More of the Ebook Market with Kindle Unlimited

Amazon officially announced its Kindle Unlimited ebook and audio book subscription service on Friday, and in the process reaffirmed its plan to own as much of the book market as it can. Kindle Unlimited is a US$9.99 a month subscription that gives users unlimited access to 600,000 ebooks and several thousand audio books on their Kindle, or in the Kindle app for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Amazon intros Kindle Unlimited ebook subscription serviceAmazon intros Kindle Unlimited ebook subscription service

The deal sounds like a no-brainer for avid readers because they can get access to as many ebooks as they can read for less than the typical price of a single title. Amazon is hoping to draw in subscribers with well known books such as Life of Pi, the Harry Potter series, J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

That $9.99 a month subscription gives readers access to a subset of's audio book selection. For an additional $14.95 a month, subscribers get access to the complete library.

Kindle Unlimited will be a tough for competitors, including Apple's iBookstore, to compete against because Amazon is offering what amounts to an unlimited number of books every month for about the price of a single title. Amazon is essentially giving away books its competitors need to sell if they plan on bringing in revenue.

The program is also bad news for traditional book retailers who can't afford to lose money of every sale just to draw customers into their stores. For Amazon, however, selling at a loss has proven to be a powerful tool for controlling the book market and that will likely pay off with Kindle Unlimited, too.