Amazon cracked open a new ebook reading — and listening — service today, offering customers unlimited access to more than 600,000 ebooks each month for $9.99. Dubbed Kindle Unlimited, the service lets you read ebooks on any device — Kindles as well as via Kindle apps on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and other PCs, tablets, and phones.

Plus, you can seamlessly read and then listen to thousands of audiobooks from Audible, too, switching back and forth as you make your way through the book.

The big question for readers, of course, is if Kindle Unlimited will also include blockbuster titles from bestselling authors. The answer? Some. But as near as I can, most bestselling authors are not part of the 600,000 books offering — though some are. For instance, the popular Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings series are both available, as well as Kindle Singles from authors as well known as Stephen King — or old-school James Bond spy awesomeness written by Ian Fleming. If you wanted to take a summer and burn through a series like Fleming’s James bond, Kindle Unlimited would pay for itself pretty quickly.

For voracious readers and people who commute or want easy audio options, Kindle Unlimited looks like a fantastic deal.

Taking the Leap with New Writers

To me, the most important element of Kindle Unlimited is nailed by Russ Grandinetti, senior vice president of Amazon Kindle:

“With Kindle Unlimited, you won’t have to think twice before you try a new author or genre–you can just start reading and listening,” he says.

That’s an important point because trying out an unknown author (like me) requires both a willingness to invest your time as well as your money, even if it is only $.99. Kindle Unlimited lets a reader dive right in — and if the reader isn’t hooked, no worries, there’s always another option ready to roll.

Nice.

Amazon is offering a free 30-day trial to give you a chance to check out the service — and, of course, the 600,000 titles available.

Oh, and more more thing: Check out the video teaser — the animation made from folded pages is gorgeous, and, ironically, makes you want to read, even if the service is all digital.

About the author

Chris Maxcer

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I've been writing about the tech industry since the birth of the email newsletter, and I still remember the clacking Mac keyboards from high school -- Apple's seed-planting strategy at work. I'm a big fan of elegant gear and sublime tech, but there's something to be said for turning it all off -- or most of it -- to go outside. Online I like to call out cool stuff on Wicked Cool Bite, share Apple-focused opinions on TechNewsWorld, and blog with my buddies at Man Makes Fire. For something different, check out If They Mistake the Moon for the Sun. To catch me, take a "firstnamelastname" guess at the url of this site.