Recently, one of my former teachers self-published a novel on Amazon, and my friend asked me if I would be able to read it in an accessible format. Luckily, I discovered that the title was available on the Kindle Unlimited subscription service, so I would be able to read the book using the Kindle app and its accessibility features. Here are my tips for reading independent titles in an accessible format using Kindle Unlimited, and my Kindle Unlimited review.
What is Kindle Unlimited?
Kindle Unlimited is a paid subscription service that allows subscribers to access over one million titles and thousands of audiobooks for one flat monthly fee of $9.99 a month.
Types of books
There are many popular book series available, however a bulk of the titles are from self-published authors who make their books available for subscribers of the service, in addition to having their book for sale. Users can filter available titles by genre, but at this time there is no way to filter out adult content.
Kindle Unlimited subscribers can check out up to ten titles at a time with no time limit. Users can try out the service with a free 30-day trial, and then will be charged $9.99 a month afterwards. I tested this service with the free trial and did not receive any additional compensation.
What makes Kindle Unlimited different from other services?
Prime Reading is a free service for Amazon Prime subscribers that gives users access to thousands of books, magazines, and audiobooks. Users can check out one book a month and read it at their own pace using the Kindle apps.
Amazon Rapids is a free service that allows Amazon Prime subscribers to access over 100 original children's books through the Amazon Rapids app. The original stories are told in a chat-style format with colorful illustrations and animations.
Audible is an audiobook service that starts at $14.95 a month for one audiobook that is professionally narrated. While many Amazon services use Audible narration for their Kindle books, Audible specifically provides audiobooks that can be accessed using Audible apps.
What about Bookshare?
Bookshare is an online accessible library service that gives approved users access to over half a million titles in a variety of different file types for users with print disabilities. Bookshare has lots of popular titles, including New York Times bestsellers, though it doesn't have very many independently published titles. I would say that almost all of my books on my eReader come from Bookshare, which is awesome, but there are times where I can't find the book I want.
Kindle Unlimited interface
Browsing for a title on Kindle Unlimited is just like browsing for any other title on Amazon, just with a search filter for Kindle Unlimited titles. To check out a book with Kindle Unlimited, follow these instructions:
- Click on the title of the book you wish to check out
- On the right side of the screen, there will be a selection box that says "read for free with Kindle Unlimited"
- Click the box that says read for free
- The book will automatically download to your Kindle Device or library
- Once you finish reading the book, you can return it in the Kindle app by long-pressing the book cover and selecting "return book," or you can return titles online by navigating to the "My Kindle Unlimited subscription" page
Kindle Unlimited accessibility features
As mentioned before, Kindle Unlimited features books in accessible formats, but what exactly does this mean? Here are the accessibility features and settings I use when reading books on Kindle Unlimited:
- Large print, which can be adjusted in book options
- Choosing print-disability friendly fonts
- Changing text layout- I prefer a one-column centered page
- Change page color
- Enable continuous scrolling so users can swipe up and down instead of left to right
- Text can be read by VoiceOver or read out loud by Amazon Alexa
- My Eight Favorite Free Fonts for Print Disabilities
- Colored Paper and the Readability of Text
- How To Use VoiceOver for Beginners
- How Amazon Alexa Can Help You Read
How can I find interesting books?
I highly recommend browsing through social media sites such as Twitter to find interesting titles to read, as lots of independent authors are very active on social media. This is how my friend finds a lot of the books they read, because there are lots of different genre communities on social media. Users can also check out Goodreads, which is a website dedicated to books and book recommendations.
Should I get Kindle Unlimited?
I had a lot of fun with the 30-day trial of Kindle Unlimited, but I will not be continuing my subscription at this time because of my hectic college class schedule. However, I love the idea of being able to read books from independently published authors that I wouldn't otherwise find in my local library (or anywhere else) for a flat monthly fee. For fans of independent authors or for those looking to support people who self-publish books, I highly recommend checking out the Kindle Unlimited subscription service.