What Is Amazon Prime Reading and How Does It Compare to Kindle Unlimited?


If you’re a book lover with an Amazon Prime membership, don’t overlook Prime Reading. Unlike Kindle Unlimited, which is Amazon’s other reading program, Prime Reading is included in your membership fee ($139 per year or $14.99 per month).

Review our Prime Reading guide to make sure you’re getting the most out of your Prime membership — then clear your calendar to find your next read.

What is Amazon Prime Reading?

Amazon Prime Reading is a service for Prime members that provides access to a digital collection of books, audiobooks, magazines, comic books and other content. The collection is ever-changing, with titles rolling on and off the digital shelves.

You can borrow up to 10 items at a time with Prime Reading. You’ll be notified once you reach your limit and will need to return an item before downloading something new. You can find a list of the titles you’ve borrowed on the Prime Reading homepage.

Every month, Prime Reading users also get one pre-release from the editors’ lists for free as part of the First Reads program.

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How do I access Prime Reading?

To access Prime Reading in the Amazon app, simply type “prime reading” into the search bar and select the blue Prime Reading logo that appears at the top of the search results. This will take you to the hub page where you can browse titles and see your downloads.

If you’re using a web browser instead of the app, go directly to the Prime Reading homepage, which includes the current catalog and a link to manage the items you’ve borrowed. Make sure you’re logged in to your Prime account so you’ll have full access to the library.

How do I borrow an item from Prime Reading?

Anything you borrow can be accessed from the free Kindle app, which is compatible with Apple and Android devices. Here’s how to borrow a title:

From the Amazon app or a mobile browser: Tap the item on your screen and select either “Read Now” or “Add to Library.” If you select “Read Now,” the Kindle app will automatically open and the title will appear in your library.

From a desktop browser: Hover over the image and select either “Read Now” or “Add to Library.”

Is Amazon Prime Reading the same as Kindle Unlimited?

Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited are two separate services with some major differences, starting with cost. Prime Reading is free with a Prime membership, but Kindle Unlimited costs $11.99 per month — even if you’re a Prime Member.

The next difference is the size of the lending library. Prime Reading has a smaller library of roughly 3,000 titles that are constantly changing, whereas the Kindle Unlimited library is more robust with over four million titles. The number of items you can borrow at once is also a distinguishing feature: Prime Reading offers 10 downloads, while it’s 20 for Kindle Unlimited users. If you’re a member of both programs, your borrowing maximum is 20 items across both Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited.

Digital magazines are part of both programs. Prime Reading allows users to borrow a single magazine at a time, and they count against your borrowing limit of 10 items. Alternatively, Kindle Unlimited allows users to subscribe to magazines, which are automatically delivered to their account each month — and they don’t count as one of the 20 items users can borrow at once.

Prime Reading vs. Kindle Unlimited

More than 4 million titles.

20 items at a time (does not include magazines).

Free with Prime membership.

Free with Kindle app or web browser.

Free with Kindle app or web browser.

Included with Prime membership

What happens if I cancel my Prime Membership?

If you cancel your Prime membership, you lose access to all of the content you borrowed. All items will be returned automatically.

Is Prime Reading worth it for you?

If you’re already a Prime member, Prime Reading is a cost-free way to explore new authors and genres. Consider Prime Reading as a counterpart to your local library, but with a smaller selection and fewer well-known titles. Pairing Prime Reading with your library could save you from long waitlists or from buying the book, which could impact your budget.

If you’re not a Prime member but find yourself purchasing lots of digital content on Amazon, Prime Reading could be a selling point for a Prime membership. The average cost of a Kindle book is anywhere from $3.99 to $12.99. Buying one Kindle e-book every month for $12.99 would more than pay for an annual Prime membership. With that membership, you could get access to other cost-saving features — like free shipping, discounts on frequently purchased household items through the Subscribe and Save program, and free TV, movie and music streaming.

There are a few downsides to Prime Reading, and the limited selection tops the list. It could be frustrating for users to search for an item only to find that it’s not available. The other drawbacks are perhaps more personal. The interface is fine but might not beat the feeling of meandering through your local bookstore — and certainly local bookstores have felt pressure from Amazon, a global giant that started as a virtual bookstore.

There are some services you might be willing to pay more for if they mean something to you or your community. Purchasing a book from your local bookstore rather than getting it from Amazon is one way to keep these community hubs intact. If that’s important to you, make sure your budget reflects those priorities.

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