Books · Editorials/Opinion Pieces

Kindle unlimited Closing Thoughts After Canceling the Service

So I decided to cancel my Kindle Unlimited subscription this month.  I wanted to cancel it for a few months now, but I kept on forgetting and then it would get renewed, so I figured just keep it for another month.  But there came a point where I just wasn’t using it as much as I initially was, and made the decision to cancel the subscription.  Since I made a post when I first had joined Kindle Unlimited, I figured I’d close out my subscription with a final thoughts article, and how I feel about the overall service as a whole.

 

My biggest thing with cancelling was, the lack of variety in the genres I liked to read.  I read fantasy pretty much exclusively, and while there are some fantastic books you can read on the service, I found myself getting less and less interested in titles I downloaded.  I’d try to start reading something with an interesting synopses, only to find it was boring or cliché within the first few chapters and it went that way for a long time.  I enjoy fairy tale retellings as much as the next fairy tale fan, but the amount of retellings that are not only available on Kindle Unlimited, but that bleed into each other get a little ridiculous.  I mean, how many Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and Snow White retellings can you read?  I enjoyed the ones I read, but that’s just an example of the lack of variety in the fantasy genre after a certain amount of avid reading.

 

The last thing I enjoyed reading, I wound up purchasing myself.  The free titles are massive on Kindle Unlimited, but at the end of the day it wasn’t what I wanted to read because I had read things similar in the genre.  Not saying purchased books are innocent of bleeding together with their plots, but I just felt like I’d be better off putting my $9.99 towards a book I actually wanted to read.  Which, there are a few titles I was putting off reading because I had access to  so many freebies, so I wanted to focus on reading those even if the price point on most of them is the price of the full subscription itself.

 

The recommendation system eventually wasn’t super helpful either.  Like, I went through a span of just getting recommended fairy tale retellings because I had read about 3 of them.  I would have liked for Kindle unlimited to be a bit more expansive with their filtering for me – fantasy, romance, adventure, etc etc.  I had a hard time looking for things I’d like to read because I got flooded with recommendations of things I wasn’t in the mood to read, and it got a bit frustrating.

 

At the end of the day, I got major mileage out of Kindle Unlimited.  I’m not saying it’s a bad service by any means:  I found a ton of my new favorite series’ through using the service.  But at the end of the day, looking at the price point of some books in the service made me realize I could just buy those books I want to read, and not pay monthly for the service.

 

I initially got Kindle Unlimited free for 3 months around Black Friday.  There was a sale for half off for the entire year around that time, but I hadn’t tried the service yet so I didn’t give it a go.  After using it for half a year, I’d say if that sale happened again I’d just buy the whole year, because I do like the service for what it is: a place full of reads to varying quality, that is good to hunt for hidden gems.  When I had nothing to read, I’d always go to Kindle unlimited and browse for a good popcorn read and sometimes be surprised with how good something was.  It’s a good service if you like being able to do that and are an avid reader, but as the year went on I just found myself using the service less and less, and wanted to invest my money in reads I knew I’d prefer, with a bit higher quality.

 

All of that being said, my exact closing thoughts on Kindle unlimited?  At the end of the day, I enjoyed the service.  Like I said, if I could get a half off sale on a full year, I’d go ahead and do it.  As far as it at full price, I think it needs to get more desirable reads to be worth the money.  You’d probably be better off with a Scribbed or Audible subscription, and get far more bang for your buck because with those services, it’s quality over quantity.  For Kindle Unlimited, it’s the opposite, and after a while that shows.  I’ve found some books I’ve loved, rolled my eyes at, and done a bit of both with over my subscription period and for that alone I think the price point should just be a teeny bit lower than it is.

 

I hope this helped you if you  were debating trying Kindle unlimited.  It’s honestly all a matter of preference and the genres you read, and how flexible your taste threshold is.  I can be entertained by anything if the premise and characters grip me, so I found more things I liked than disliked on the service.  However if you really are a picky reader, this service wouldn’t be for you.

 

Have you tried Kindle Unlimited?  Weigh in in the comments below!

Editorials/Opinion Pieces

Kindle PC App Accessibility Review

I stumbled upon this information a while ago.  I did so because I was looking into getting a Kindle tablet, and in my research, I was linked podcasts talking about Kindle accessibility.  I’m not sure how long ago this happened, but the Kindle for PC app works seamlessly with the NVDA screen reader – a free screen reader for PC, and the one I’ve used for years.  This was super refreshing, so I figured I’d download it and give it a go.  There’ve been too many times where something has been said to be accessible, and it was a lot harder to get working after actually trying it.  I’m all for trying new things, but it does get frustrating when you think something will be just out of the box accessible, and it’s harder to use than originally stated.  Sometimes I try anyway, sometimes I give up – but the fact that that’s even a problem in itself gets a little annoying a lot of the time.  Just a fact of being blind, but hopefully it changes in the future with companies like Amazon and Apple putting their best feet forward.

 

Now, how does Kindle for PC work with NVDA?  Why, seamlessly!  I honestly was pleasantly surprised to find that after I figured out I was trying a non-text to speech enabled book, and got one that was text to speech enabled, that it indeed worked just like you were browsing a webpage.  Kindle had a basic accessibility feature before, but in order to read you had to use this really annoying Windows Narrator voice to do so.  I couldn’t bare it, never tried to use it to read a book after just not being able to take the voice.

 

With the Kindle for PC and NVDA accessibility however, you’re using the voice you’re accustomed to using while doing everything else on the computer.  I read fanfics with this voice, so needless to say it was so nice to be able to read books with the voice I’m used to, at my own pace.

 

While I like Audible Books, sometimes, the narrator of a book makes me not want to read the book.  Nothing against the narrator, but some voices just don’t gel with me like other voices.  Audio books are a lot more expensive also, so unless you want to subscribe to Audible monthly, you’d be spending upwards of 20 to 30 dollars per book.  On Audible’s PC app, you can’t speed up the book, so you’re stuck reading at whatever pace the book is set.

I like my audio books, don’t get me wrong, but it is nice to have the option of reading an ebook if I don’t feel like having the audio version.  I can read Kindle books at my own pace – I find myself clearing 5 chapters in 1 hour, as opposed to 1 chapter for 1 hour or more – and the problem of possibly not liking the narrator is voided because of the screen reader.  If it’s not a book I’m really anticipating in audio book format, I’d rather just get the Kindle Book and read with the screen reader, so this accessibility is great.  I tested this with the books I’m reading right now, and I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to read the audio book because the narrator isn’t what I pictured for the book, so Kindle is already paying off.  That, plus I’ve spent 30 dollars on 3 books, instead of 1.  It makes me want to read more, and since I used to love reading when I had more vision, I’m really grateful to Amazon for taking the time to make Kindle accessible in a widely available way for the blind.  No overpriced add on, no overpriced devices – just two free pieces you can download to enjoy your books.  Never thought it’d be possible, but it is.

 

If you’re worried about a book not being text to speech enabled (they have to be to work with the NVDA accessibility) you can download a free sample of the book, and see if it works.  You also can just see if you’d be interested in the book, so I’ve totally been using this feature for every book I’ve downloaded.  Other than the 2nd and 3rd books in a series.  I find the free sample feature super useful, both to double check accessibility, and as a consumer, to see if I’d want the book.

 

I bring this up because like I said earlier, the first thing I downloaded worked with the old crappy accessibility, but it said it was text to speech enabled.  That only happened with one book I tried, mind you, but it’s something to mention if you’re worried about dropping money on a book, and it not being accessible.  Free sample is the way to go regardless for me, but testing accessibility with this as a work around to do so is just a little trick I figured I’d pass along.  The only hrmm thing about Kindle is that every book may not be accurate in its text to speech enabled status, so like I said I’d just get the free sample and double check to be sure.

 

The search functions, notes, highlighting, and dictionary all work as well.  Just Hit the applications key on a word, the definition pops up.  Shift and arrow to select a passage, right click and you can highlight.  Search, and the search function shows you possible results – like legit, everything is accessible, and it’s so great.  A lot of the time only half an application gets accessible, so once again, bravo Amazon.

 

If you can’t tell, I’m so happy with Kindle for PC, and it’s accessibility.  I heard Kindle tablets have a built in screen reader, and that’s why I researched into purchasing one, but I haven’t gotten one yet so can’t talk on how good or bad the screen reader is on that device.  The Kindle accessibility makes me want to buy a Kindle tablet more than ever however, so to me that means Amazon is going in the right direction with their accessibility.

 

I didn’t know this existed until recently, so even though it’s been out for a while, I wanted to make this post for anyone like me, who may not have known about Kindle for PC app accessibility, and would like to be able to have access to ebooks like everyone else.  It’s really good to use, and since it’s free, I’d say give it a try!