(Prime Reading) Amazon continue to take over the world

The slow eventual descent into a world where there is no such thing as a middleman/shop but everything is simply traded via Amazon continues. This week it’s Prime Reading that has arrived. Basically a middle tier between buying digital books and their premium (pay separately) Unlimited rental service. It also acts as the Prime tier under ComiXology Unlimited (as comics on Kindle are now integrated with ComiXology).

I expect the deals for content are often region-limited but where I am there are about 1100 books in the rental library, of which 120 are volumes of a graphic novel (usually vol 1 of a series so the first 6-12 issue arc). So this is now the 3rd book subscription system from Amazon:

  • Kindle Lending Library (1 rental at a time, once a month) [For Kindle & Fire device owners]
  • Kindle First (Prime freebie new release from a selection of 6 each month)
  • Prime Reading (10 rentals at a time, no monthly limit)

It seems decent enough but it really depends if there’s much good to read in that limited library and how quickly books cycle into and out of the selection. There’s also a monthly rotation of ~40 (again, at least where I am - most of them are regional offerings so YMMV) magazines you can read. Seems to be implied that the selection will change every month so it’s not going to replace a digital subscription but if you just want something to flick through then there’s something to read (and it’s a Kindle version so on a tablet you get the proper magazine pages but can tap to get the Kindle text-only version of articles).

Anyone else given the catalogue a glance? Anything cool to read stand out in the selection?

I never understood renting digital books.

I’ve never taken advantage of the Kindle options enough under vanilla Prime, so I’ll need to check this out! I am bigger on the music side of the Amazon house but was never 100% sold on going all the way to Music Unlimited, though.

Same on the music, it’s not Spotify etc on the Prime tier but there’s a lot of music there so if I want some background music then I can always find something to put on (without it being such a large library that I could randomly pick an album and be close to guaranteed it was available).

We (where I live) also have a war between Netflix and Amazon going on for streaming rights to several US shows so Prime Video is the place to go for a few shows that aren’t anywhere else even if they’re not actually made by Amazon Studios (American Gods may be a Starz show in the US but it’s billed as an Amazon Original here; same for Halt and Catch Fire, Lucifer, Preacher, and a host more). Better Call Saul is a Netflix show here, airing the day after it airs in the US. Same with that new Star Trek series. Interesting times for international TV distribution (when normally we waited months before getting a show imported and having any legal way to join conversations with US people).

As an Open University student in the UK, I love them. I find it’s a lot easier to concentrate on reading my course books on my Fire HD than it is in the physical books. Plus, bookmarking, highlighting, copy-paste… so handy. For actual books, YMMV. For comics, also great.

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I honestly quite like renting films digitally, so I can definitely see renting e-books as something I would do. Given the DRM and platform-survival reliance attached to Amazon or iTunes products, I don’t really care about having only a few days access to it. Plus, having a rental period really puts some vim into my schedule, preventing me from slacking on it. I guess it’s the same argument as any old rental.

With that said, I’m not really interested in doubling down with more Amazon products and I’m not really an ebook-first person with my pleasure reading, so I’m probably going to give Prime Reading a dodge.