Amazon Kindle Unlimited is an all you can read platform for a low monthly price. Five months after its launch in the United States, the Amazon platform has expanded to France.
The Unlimited program currently has 20,000 French language titles, which is fairly paltry compared to the 200,000 Amazon currently sells. This goes to show that for the most part, publishers are wary of giving their content away with low returns. In addition, there are 700,000 English eBooks.
Amazon is hyping a number of bestsellers included in Unlimited, such as the Harry Potter saga, the series I stop by Eyrolles, Rush by Maya Banks, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Grandma in Nettles by Aurélie Valognes. English include The Hunger Games and Life of Pi.
Until January French customers can try out the Unlimited program for €1 and after the promotional period is over, it will cost €10 a month.
I don’t think e-Book subscription systems, like Kindle Unlimited is sustainable, except as loss-leaders. Oyster and Scribd rely on venture funding in order to keep their businesses afloat. Their losses today can only be turned into profits tomorrow if they pay publishers and authors less per “read” (which on average is $2) or if they substantially increase their monthly fee to their users or they maintain a high number of subscribers who don’t use their services much.