Will Amazon offer an unlimited e-book and audiobook service?

Some Amazon users spotted an ad for a Kindle Unlimited service, which would let users access as many e-book and audio titles as they wanted (within a certain library) for $9.99 a month.

Mark Lennihan/AP
Amazon's Kindle Fire device is displayed.

Amazon is reportedly testing a subscription service that would let users read as many e-books and audiobooks as they want for $9.99 a month.

An advertisement for the new program apparently popped up on the Amazon website and was seen by users, who posted about it in a Kindle forum, before the web page was taken down. The advertisement called the program Kindle Unlimited and read: “Enjoy unlimited access to over 600,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks on any device for just $9.99 a month.”

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment by The Los Angeles Times. According to Los Angeles Times writer Andrea Chang, those who were interested in what Kindle Unlimited can offer were able at one point to search Amazon’s books with a filter of “KU Unlimited,” a search which brought up more than 600,000 titles.

However, as noted by Gigaom writer Laura Hazard Owen, while the available titles included such blockbuster books as the “Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins and the “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling, those from major publishers like Hachette (which is apparently still involved in negotiations with Amazon), Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, and HarperCollins were absent for now. Titles from publishers like Bloomsbury, Algonquin, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and others were available, however, as well as titles published by Amazon, as one might imagine.

Amazon Prime members have the option of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which some, like Gizmodo writer Kate Knibbs, are noting seems to have a similar selection to the Kindle Unlimited. However, the Kindle Owners' Lending Library only lets users access one e-book per month.

If more than 600,000 titles are available, Kindle Unlimited would top Scribd, which offers access to more than 400,000 books for $8.99, and Oyster, which lets users in on more than 500,000 books for $9.95. There is, of course, the question of which service would have the most popular titles available (Scribd and Oyster both work with Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins).

In addition, if Kindle Unlimited does offer audiobooks, that would give the service an edge over Scribd and Oyster, neither of which have audio options for customers. 

A promotional video obtained by Gigaom showed the service being used on not only a Kindle e-reader but on an iPad and an iPhone as well.

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