The “I want to own my content” argument about Kindle Unlimited
I recently saw someone saying that they didn’t want to join
because they wanted to own their content.
With KU, you don’t own the books. You pay $9.99 a month (but you can get a first month free) to get access to well over a million books.
Certainly, there are arguments in favor of owning books…I think I own over 10,000 paper books (and several thousand e-books).
For books, owning them has pretty much been the option in the past…outside of the public library or borrowing from friends and family.
That may be why many people don’t like the idea that if you leave KU, you no longer have access to books you’ve borrowed from there (you can keep a book as along as you like…until you stop being a member).
However, I think that just about everybody pays for access to content without owning it.
One obvious example: going to the movies.
When I go see a movie in a movie theatre, I don’t own that movie. I still enjoy it, and I understand that I paid for the experience of the movie…not for ownership.
Of course, when it comes out later on home video (a DVD, a digital download, and so on), I can buy it if I want.
The same is true with KU.
If you want to buy a book you’ve read through KU, you can do that.
I think people also have the sense that when they are KU members, that $9.99 should cover all of their reading…that’s not my case, and there is no reason it should be.
I own DVDs…and I go to the movies.
We pay for cable (and Netflix and Hulu)…and as above, we have DVDs. 🙂
I think many people nowadays are more comfortable with paying for access than with ownership. That’s supposedly more true with Millenials (born roughly from 1981 to 1997) than with Baby Boomers (born roughly between 1946 and 1964, but these dates are pretty fluid). I don’t know if that’s the case. I suspect that many older people are becoming very comfortable with paying for access. That can come with smaller living spaces, or with a sense or less stability.
I also wonder if people are less concerned with inheritance. When our now adult kid gets my p-books (paperbooks), I know that some of that will be a burden (although our kid prefers p-books to e-books, they aren’t going to want all of these!).
Obviously, you don’t have the same logistical issue dealing with e-books that are owned that you do with p-books, but I think there may be a mental shift going on about building up an estate.
Do I think everybody should be KU members?
No…if you only read a couple of books a year, it’s not worth it.
If you read at least a few books a month, though, I’d consider it.
I maintain a KU Wish List at Amazon, so I can easily find things to read from there. Just to give you an idea, here are five books on it:
- The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis (inspiration for the David Bowie movie)
- Live and Let Die (James Bond) by Ian Fleming (this is the second book…I’ve already read the first one through KU)
- A Night to Remember by Walter Lord (famous account of the Titanic)
- The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron
- The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks
Those are all books I would certainly have considered buying at some point…perhaps if I had seen them used.
My list also has books on it like
Tarzan Meets Kong by Owen Leonard
I don’t expect that to be of the same quality as the above books (although I’m open to the possibility)…but it might be a fun enough read to get it as part of the ten books we can have at once.
What do you think? Is owning your content important to you? What’s the difference between going to a movie, or reading a KU book? If KU means you are reading books you wouldn’t have bought, what’s the difference? What makes a book borrowable, but not ownable? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.
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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.