Amazon is to expand its lending library service with Amazon Unlimited, a subscription service that will give you access to thousands of audiobooks and hundreds of thousands of ebooks.
A promo banner for Amazon Unlimited has popped-up on the US Amazon site, confirming the existence of the next big news in the ebook world.
It’s a pay-monthly service for use with Kindle ereaders and the various Kindle apps that will give you access to thousands of audiobooks and 600,000 regular books for $9.99 a month, in the US at least.
As is common with Amazon’s big tech developments, there’s no sign of it coming to the UK, and we may be in for a long wait before it gets here.
However, for the start at least it doesn’t look like we’ll be missing out on something too critical.
The service’s rumoured 638,416-strong library lacks titles from most of the biggest publishers and – predictably – the books in the current Kindle Lending Library are present and correct.
It could be great news for audiobook fans, though. Commercial audiobooks are generally sold at quite a premium, and the most famous repository of audiobooks, the Amazon-owned Audible, only gives you access to one audiobook a month for your £7.99 subscription.
Of course, as Amazon doesn’t want to drown its own pet, it seems highly unlikely Amazon Unlimited will get anything like the library of Audible, which has over 100,000 titles,
We already have a good idea of the range of books that will be available, as Amazon offers a selection of 7000-odd Whispersync audiobooks, which let you read and listen to a book, with Kindle keeping track of where you are.
There are a couple of these book subscription sites in the US, Oyster and Scribd being the most well-known, but neither has made a UK launch yet. They’re based on a similar notion, though.
Oyster charges $9.95 a month, Scribd $9 a month, and both give you access to hundreds of thousands of books.
We’ll be keeping an eye out of an official Kindle Unlimited announcement, but given the UK delay involved in the launch of the Kindle Fire range and Amazon Kindle Owners Lending Library, it seems unlikely it’ll come to the UK this year.