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The Literary Rants: Amazon Prime Book Selection

December 16, 2016
(image via wikimedia)

(image via wikimedia)

Maybe a rant shouldn’t start with a positive comment, but Amazon Prime is a great name for a service.  Everybody should want to be a member of something Prime.  Amazon Prime is even a better name than Kindle Unlimited.  I mean, Unlimited is a pretty cool word, but in this case “unlimited” is limited to the Kindle, and that’s not truly Unlimited.  If I’m part of Amazon Prime, that means I’m Prime on everything on Amazon, not just the kindle.

Everybody who has Amazon Prime wants deals.  We get deals on sales, deals on shipping, and we get limited music and video streaming for free.  If you use all of the services, Amazon Prime can be worth the money.

If you’re a member of Amazon Prime, you even get a small selection of ebooks to read for free on the Kindle.  The only problem is that Amazon’s book selection for Amazon Prime is limited.  For one thing, only ebooks are available for free on Amazon Prime.  I have no problem with that.  It wouldn’t make financial sense to send out actual books for free.  That would cost Amazon a lot of money.

Right now, one of the ebooks available is Guns by Stephen King.  Are you serious?  Out of all the books that Stephen King has written, THAT’S the free ebook?  If I remember correctly, Guns was only 99 cents when it came out.  Plus, it’s the one book by Stephen King that I really don’t want to read.  I’m not a gun advocate, but I don’t like to read what celebrities (or famous authors) have to say about political issues.  They don’t care what I think, so I don’t want to listen to them either.  If Amazon wants to give us free Stephen King, give us some of the old stuff that’s available cheap anyway.  Different Seasons would be awesome for free.  The Shining would be pretty cool too.

I understand why Amazon doesn’t want to put its best stuff on Prime, and I wouldn’t expect them to.  But every year I think about discontinuing my Amazon Prime.  I take advantage of shipping, and videos, and music, but all of those services get offered by other venues now.  Amazon is still convenient, but their competition is getting better too.

What I’d like to see are more books by popular authors.  If Amazon offered maybe one ebook each from popular authors, I’d read that one book, and maybe be willing to pay for the next one by the same authors.  Then again, books take a long time to read.  If Amazon gave away too many books, then a reader like me could find a way to never pay for another book again.  But I’m paying for Prime, so Amazon would still be getting my money.

I understand that Amazon Prime has to be careful about its free book selection because it can’t compete too much with Kindle Unlimited.  If too many books are offered for free on Prime, then Unlimited users might get ticked off and drop that service.  I understand that, but still…

How’s that for an argument?  “But still…” rarely works, but I keep going back to it.

As far as problems go, limited free book selection on Amazon Prime isn’t the most worrisome.  I don’t lose any sleep over it.  Amazon prides itself, however, on getting things right for its customers, so it would be nice when I click on Amazon Prime to see a better selection of best-sellers and award-winners and other kinds of books that are in demand.

Even though this is a rant, I’m not trying to insult Amazon.  I like Amazon.  I’m merely offering a humble suggestion how to improve a service that I already kind of like.  I just want Amazon Prime to live up to its name.


I also don’t want to criticize Amazon too much because it’s the only place where you can find my ebook .

  1. Have you tried Local Library Prime? It’s free, and you get a much better selection of free books than Amazon does.

  2. Ugh I joined the Kindle Prime last month and the selections were awful. I cancelled as quick as I could for that reason. I check out my books from the library through Kindle and it’s totally free and I can read pretty much anything I want.

  3. Out of curiousity, whom do you recommend as a good alternative to Amazon? They’re not all that good locally.

  4. H.A. Lynn permalink

    I love Amazon Prime.. but I agree with you mostly.
    Though, most of the books I buy are pretty cheap anyway. I usually go for the indie authors, who normally price their books between Free and $1.99. I mean, I pay more for a cup of coffee, so why wouldn’t I help them out a little bit lol.
    Anddd for the books that are recommended for me from authors, or friends, I normally don’t mind paying more, especially if the audio versions are amazing.
    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss was one recommended that I ended up paying more for just so I could have the audio, and I wasn’t disappointed at all.

    Kindle and Amazon are so hit or miss with Free books, but I’m not going to complain either. Love my Prime shipping ❤

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