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November 26, 2014
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Brace yourself: Amazon rolls out ‘Netflix-for-books’ style service

By Mae Anderson
AP business writer (*)
NEW YORK — Amazon is rolling out a new subscription service that will allow unlimited access to thousands of electronic books and audiobooks for US$9.99 a month in the online giant’s latest effort to expand its services to attract more users.

The company said that the Kindle Unlimited service will give users the ability to read as much as they want from more than 600,000 Kindle titles such as The Hunger Games and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. They can also listen as much as they want to thousands of Audible audiobooks, including Water for Elephants.

About 2,000 audiobooks from Audible with Whispersync for Voice, which lets users switch between reading and listening to books, will be available through the service. Subscribers will get a free three-month membership to the broader Audible service, which has 150,000 titles.

Amazon is offering a free 30-day trial to entice users to try the service. The move is a switch from Amazon’s latest efforts, which have all been about adding services to its Prime loyalty programme. The company has recently launched a video streaming box and grocery delivery service, unveiled plans for a smartphone and expanded its Sunday delivery service, all for members of Prime. But Kindle Unlimited is for anyone with a Kindle device or app who wants to subscribe.

The move comes at an uneasy time for Amazon and its relationship with publishers.

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