Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Prime Reading is included with a Prime membership. It has a relatively small library (around 1,000-3,000 titles) that rotates and allows borrowing 10 titles at a time.
  • Kindle Unlimited is a separate monthly subscription service ($11.99) with a much larger library (over 4 million titles) and allows borrowing 20 titles at a time.
  • The best choice depends on how much you read. Kindle Unlimited is better for heavy readers, while Prime Reading with a library card is good for light readers.

If you’re trying to decide between Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited, there are some key differences to know about. Both of these Amazon services will give you access to free eBooks, audiobooks, comics, and magazines, but size does matter, and you may already subscribe to one of them.

What is Prime Reading?

Prime Reading logo on e-ink screen.

As you might expect from the name, Prime Reading is a service that’s included for free with an Amazon Prime subscription. It’s one of the many perks that Amazon throws in alongside free shipping, but not as well known as Prime Video or Amazon Music Prime.

With Prime Reading, you can borrow up to 10 eBooks, comics, magazine issues, and audiobooks at a time. You can access these titles from the Kindle app on iPhone, iPad, Android, Fire tablets, and on Kindle eReaders. Amazon doesn’t share the exact number of titles included in Prime Reading, but it’s estimated to be around 1,000-3,000, and titles are rotated in and out periodically.

What Is Kindle Unlimited?

Kindle Unlimited logo on e-ink screen.

Kindle Unlimited is a monthly subscription service that essentially gives you a library pass to the Kindle Store. For $11.99 per month, you get access to more than 4 million eBooks, audiobooks, comics, magazine issues, and magazine subscriptions. You do not need a Prime membership to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.

Like Prime Reading, Kindle Unlimited titles can be accessed from the Kindle app on iPhone, iPad, Android, Fire tablets, and on Kindle eReaders. You can borrow up to 20 titles at a time. Some see that as a restrictive limitation, but it’s important to understand it’s not 20 titles per month; it’s 20 titles at a time. Once you return something you’ve finished, you can check out a new title.

Do Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited Work the Same?

Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading lables in Kindle app.

Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited essentially wok the same. Prime Reading is a benefit of having a Prime membership, whereas Kindle Unlimited is a specialized service for Kindle users. However, using each service is exactly the same.

Whether you’re a Prime member or you pay for Kindle Unlimited, the titles included can be accessed through the Kindle app on iPhone, iPad, Android, Fire tablets, and on Kindle eReaders. Look for the “Prime Reading” or “Kindle Unlimited” labels to know whether you can grab a title.

Here’s a rundown of what’s included in both services.

Prime Reading

Kindle Unlimited

Library Size


Over 4 million

Magazine Subscriptions


Single issues only

Borrow Limit

10 at a time

20 at a time







Prime Membership




$11.99 per month

Included with Prime

How Much is Kindle Unlimited?

Kindle Unlimited costs $11.99 per month. There is a free 30-day trial available, and Amazon also often offers a deal to get two months at just $4.99 per month. Kindle Unlimited is completely separate from Amazon Prime. You do not need to be a Prime member to sign up for Kindle Unlimited.

Which is the Better Deal?

Unsurprisingly, there’s not a clear winner hereā€”it depends on how much you read. If you’re looking for an “all-you-can-eat buffet” type experience for reading, Kindle Unlimited is your best bet. 20 titles at a time is a lot, and you can easily read more than that if you fly through books and audiobooks.

Prime Reading has a much, much smaller library, but no one is signing up for a Prime membership to get it. You already have Prime, and the free books are a nice little bonus. For light readers, Prime Reading and a library card with the Libby app would offer a great selection of free books and audiobooks.

That being said, Kindle Unlimited is a pretty great deal if you read even just a few books per month. An eBook from the Kindle Store will typically run from $1 to $12, so it would not take much at all to get $11.99 worth of books each month. Get out there and read!

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By John P.

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