Kindle Unlimited Take Two

screenshot_71During the Amazon Prime Day sale last week I decided to take another run at Kindle Unlimited. There was a six month subscription to Kindle Unlimited for $45, which seemed like a fairly good deal.

In the week that I have used it again, I have decided that there are two related main problems with Kindle Unlimited and one good point. (My previous thoughts on Kindle Unlimited)

The Bad

Amazon is lousy at usability. Whether it is the Kindle Fire, their website or their apps, Amazon really needs to invest in designers. Amazon is successful because of low prices, free shipping and the ability to get pretty much anything. But for things like Kindle Unlimited, where the usage is really based on the ability to find the material you want to consume, Amazon’s lack of focus on usability is a serious issue. The biggest problem with the usability is actually finding the books you want to read. Kindle Unlimited is mostly self published books. There is plenty of content that is worth reading if you can find it. But there is a lot of work required to find good books. (Same problem with Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Music)

I created a list of about 70 books I wanted to read last time I was a Kindle Unlimited subscriber. But when I went through the list again, there were only 15 of that list of 70 that were still a part of the program. The Wayward Pines books (with audiobooks) are on the list. And the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. (But I own all of those already.) All of the Open Media books (which were a big portion of the books from my previous list) are gone.

Finding new books is really hit or miss. I can’t sort my wishlist to find books I want to read on Kindle Unlimited. I can’t really drill down in categories to find what I like to read because for some reason only the top level categories are supported when looking for audiobooks.

If for no other reason, this is a reason to not use Kindle Unlimited.

The second problem with Kindle Unlimited is the huge amount of junk. There is good stuff there, but there is so much junk that finding anything is hard (especially since their usability is so bad.)

The Good

Really it comes down to price. I have six months of unlimited books for $45. So for less than $8 a month I can read unlimited number of books or audiobooks. There are 1.3 million ebooks and about 16,000 audiobooks. I think I need to read about 1 book a week to really make sense of the subscription.

tl:dr

If Amazon can figure out how to help me sort out the junk, it might be worth continuing the subscription past the six months I purchased. But it is going to take Amazon investing in some real design upgrades.

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