Why I Cancelled My Kindle Unlimited Subscription

Terrible selection.

March 11, 2015
I just canceled my Kindle Unlimited $9.99 monthly subscription. Are you a Kindle Unlimited subscriber? Why or why not?
It would be impossible to overstate how excited I was when Amazon announced the Kindle Unlimited program this past summer. 10 bucks a month to browse e-books seemed like a great deal.  The fact that Amazon promised to include audiobooks, and audiobooks that synced up with the Kindle books, made Kindle Unlimited even more appealing.
The reality of Kindle Unlimited ended up being wildly divergent from all the hype.  
While Amazon promises 700,000 e-books (and thousands of audiobooks), almost none of these books were ones I actually want to read. The selection on Kindle Unlimited is shockingly bad.  Amazon seems to have been completely unable to persuade authors or publishers to join the program.
The other problem with Kindle Unlimited is that it is difficult to discover books that qualify. There is no easy way to see which books in your Amazon or Audible Wish Lists are Unlimited eligible.  Amazon does nothing to match the books that I’ve previously purchased or have put in my Wish list with books available through Kindle Unlimited. There is no Kindle Unlimited recommendation engine.  
The mistake that Amazon seems to be making is that they structure the Kindle Unlimited program at the low-end of the book buying market. It seems that they wanted to keep the monthly price below $10, and have therefore decided to compensate publishers and authors at a low rate. Each Kindle Unlimited borrow pays an author about $1.40
What would of the payment had to have been to attract almost every author and publisher?  
The opportunity to sample every Kindle and Audible book would be enormously appealing. I would happily pay $1 a day for unlimited access to digital books.  
My guess is that there are lots of other big readers out there who would also be willing to pay a buck a day for this service.  
Why didn’t Amazon go after the hard core reading public with a high quality and higher priced service?   
Are you a Kindle Unlimited subscriber?  
How much would you pay for an all-you-can eat digital book subscription service?
To illustrate just how bad the selection in Kindle Unlimited is, I’ve copied the first screen of my Kindle Wish List. As far as I can tell, none of these books is in the Kindle Unlimited program.  (I'm also curious if we share any books on our Wish Lists). 
The Sellout: A Novel
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town
H is for Hawk
Rust: The Longest War
Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It
The Life and Times of the Stopwatch Gang (Kindle Single)
Anticipating 2025:
Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges
The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age
Rare: The High-Stakes Race to Satisfy Our Need for the Scarcest Metals on Earth
The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World
The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future
Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup
College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education
Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival
World 3.0: Global Prosperity and How to Achieve It
Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline
The End of Country: Dispatches from the Frack Zone
Satin Island: A novel
After Birth
We Are Pirates
The Italians
Citizens of the Green Room: Profiles in Courage and Self-Delusion
The Big Seven (Faux Mystery)
The Great Leader (Faux Mystery)
The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity from Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs
Single, Carefree, Mellow: Stories
Hush Hush: A Tess Monaghan Novel
The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940
The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere
Funny Girl: A Novel
Big Little Lies
This Explains Everything: 150 Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works 
Locus of Authority: The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education
Transforming Students
The Magician's Lie: A Novel
The Resilience Dividend: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong
Boom, Bust, Exodus: The Rust Belt, the Maquilas, and a Tale of Two Cities
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
On Such a Full Sea: A Novel
The Forgers
Imagining the University (New Studies in Critical Realism and Education)
This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage
Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse (Coming Collapse)
Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate
Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism
Building Organizational Capacity
Leading Change, With a New Preface by the Author
College and University Budgeting: An Introduction for Faculty and Academic Administrators
The Organization of Higher Education: Managing Colleges for a New Era
A History of American Higher Education
American Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century
Organization and Administration in Higher Education
Organizational Theory in Higher Education (Core Concepts in Higher Education)
How Colleges Change: Understanding, Leading, and Enacting Change
The King of Sports: Football's Impact on America
One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer
The History of American Higher Education: Learning and Culture from the Founding to World War II
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden
How to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life
Do or Die: Reluctant Heroes
The American Mission
The Distance: A Thriller
The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Book 2)
The Fever: A Novel
The Perfect Score Project: Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT
Lightning Rods
Teaching Machines (Tech.edu: A Hopkins Series on Education and Technology)
Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change
Leadership Without Easy Answers
How Great Leaders Think: The Art of Reframing
The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible
Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia
Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?
Paying for the Party
The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football
Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love
The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food
The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere (TED Books)
Risk Wise: Nine Everyday Adventures
The Setup: A True Story of Dirty Cops, Soccer Moms, and Reality TV
How The World Was Won: The Americanizatio​n of Everywhere
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Capitalism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Faster, Higher, Stronger:
Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose (Voices That Matter)
Revival: A Novel
Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
Well-Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love
The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance
Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States
My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey
The Fear Project: 
The Intercept (Jeremy Fisk Novels Book 1)
Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined
The Next Best Thing: A Novel
Masters of the Word: How Media Shaped History
Down the Up Escalator: How the 99 Percent Live in the Great Recession
Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter's Journey Through a Country's Descent into Darkness
Two Nations Indivisible: Mexico, the United States, and the Road Ahead
Managers As Mentors: Building Partnerships for Learning
Leadership and the Art of Struggle: How Great Leaders Grow Through Challenge and Adversity
Why Teach?: In Defense of a Real Education
The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery
Beautiful Ruins
The Newlyweds
Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Erro​r for Business, Politics, and Society
My American Revolution: A Modern Expedition Through History's Forgotten Battlegrounds
The Coming Jobs War
By Blood: A Novel
Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind
The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation
Darwin: Portrait of a Genius
The Leading Indicators
Dead Stars: A Novel
Ministers of Fire: A Novel
Retail Hell: How I Sold My Soul to the Store
Concierge Confidential: The Gloves Come Off---and the Secrets Come Out! Tales from the Man Who Serves Millionaires, Moguls, and Madmen
Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
Detroit City Is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an American Metropolis
The Good Son: The Life of Ray ',Boom Boom', Mancini
The Expats: A Novel
Models. Behaving. Badly.: Why Confusing Illusion with Reality Can Lead to Disaster, on Wall Street and in Life
Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain
The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life
Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives
Against Thrift: Why Consumer Culture is Good for the Economy, the Environment, and Your Soul
Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States
Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man
The Assumptions Economists Make
The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do about It
The Age of Equality: The Twentieth Century in Economic Perspective
Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding--An​d How We Can Improve the World Even More
Fifteen Digits
And When She Was Good
Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West
Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep
The End of Men: And the Rise of Women
Jet Age: The Comet, the 707, and the Race to Shrink the World
Townie: A Memoir
Our Kind of Traitor: A Novel
Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World
County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital
Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It (Discovering America)
My Hollywood (Vintage Contemporaries​)
Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity
Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory
Panicology: Two Statisticians Explain What's Worth Worrying About (and What's Not) in the 21st Century
Cleopatra: A Life
Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery
Wrong: Why experts* keep failing us--and how to know when not to trust them *Scientists, finance wizards, doctors, relationship gurus, celebrity CEOs, ... consultants, health officials and more
Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life
Poorer Richard's America: What Would Ben Say?
The Five-Year Party: How Colleges Have Given Up on Educating Your Child and What You Can Do About It
Merchant Kings: When Companies Ruled the World, 1600--1900
Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product
The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream
Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It's Good for Everyone
Portfolios of the Poor: How the World's Poor Live on $2 a Day
Punching Out: One Year in a Closing Auto Plant
Lost Detroit: Stories Behind the Motor City's Majestic Ruins
The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation Is Rocking the Workplace
The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves
Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools
The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work
Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences
The Killer (Victor the Assassin Book 1)
The Gun
Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places
Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get
The Future of Management
The Science of Liberty: Democracy, Reason, and the Laws of Nature
Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probabilities and Statistics on Everything You Do
Power Trip
The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives
Hartsburg, USA: A Novel
The Lunatic Express: Discovering the World . . . via Its Most Dangerous Buses, Boats, Trains, and Planes
The Social Atom: Why the Rich Get Richer, Cheaters Get Caught, and Your Neighbor Usually Looks Like You
The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy
Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life
The Overflowing Brain: Information Overload and the Limits of Working Memory
Repeat Until Rich: A Professional Card Counter's Chronicle of the Blackjack Wars
Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things
Death with Interruptions
Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid
Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town
The Taste of Conquest: The Rise and Fall of the Three Great Cities of Spice


Back to Top