Amazon eyeing unlimited book subscriptions for $9.99 a month

A website that's since been taken down points to a service called Kindle Unlimited with unlimited access to e-books and audiobooks.

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Is Amazon ready to roll out a new subscription service? Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Amazon may be prepping a new subscription service in the US that would offer all-you-can-eat e-books and audiobooks to the tune of $9.99 per month.

Webpages highlighting this potential service were spotted Wednesday by users of Kboards, a Kindle-based discussion forum unaffiliated with Amazon. Amazon has since taken down most of the associated pages, according to GigaOm. But thanks to Google's always helpful cache, the initial home page from earlier Wednesday can still be seen.

As displayed in Google's cache, the Kindle Unlimited service would offer unlimited access to more than 600,000 e-books and thousands of audiobooks on any device for just $9.99 a month. The home page for the service displays a few titles categorized by popularity, fiction, short reads, and author spotlight. The page highlights such popular series as "The Hunger Games," "The Lord of the Rings," and "Harry Potter."

Amazon already offers a lending library to its Prime subscribers with more than 500,000 e-book titles. But there are two catches. You can borrow only one book per month, and you can only read the book on a Kindle or a device that has the Kindle app. By offering an unlimited subscription option, Amazon would compete directly with such services as Oyster and Scribd. Oyster costs $9.95 a month, while Scribd runs $8.99. Both services offer apps for iOS devices. Oyster recently introduced apps for Android, the Kindle Fire, and the Nook HD, while Scribd also provides an Android app and a Kindle app.

Some of the links on the Kindle Unlimited cached page still point to live pages at this point. One live page, called KU Test, lists several e-books from the Kindle Store with a familiar search feature on the left so you can narrow down the results by category, customer review, and Whispersync for Voice support. Another live page displays e-books enabled with narration so you can listen to them as well as read them.

The home page also displays links to Learn More and to watch a video. However, both of those pages appear to have been removed from Amazon's live site. Otherwise, the cached and live pages don't reveal much else in the way of detail, such as the current stage of this service, when might it debut, and how might it play out for Amazon Prime subscribers.

CNET contacted Amazon for comment and will update the story with any further information.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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