AMAZON HAS UNWRAPPED one of its worst kept secrets, unveiling an all you can eat digital bookstore.
The service, to be known as "Amazon Kindle Unlimited" was leaked earlier in week after the website was inadvertently set live and screengrabbed before disappearing as quickly as it had arrived.
Kindle Unlimited, which is initially available only in the US, is priced at $9.99 per month and includes over 600,000 books and a range of Audiobooks from Amazon's Audible service included for the first three months. The service falls short of every book ever printed, but at over half a million it should keep even the most ardant bookworm busy.
The Whispersync service that allows users to pick up from where they left off across devices has been extended to Audible, meaning that users can switch from reading to listening from exactly the same point, and then switch back.
"With Kindle Unlimited, you won't have to think twice before you try a new author or genre - you can just start reading and listening," said Kindle SVP Russ Grandinetti. "In addition to offering over 600,000 eBooks, Kindle Unlimited is also by far the most cost-effective way to enjoy audiobooks and eBooks together."
The Kindle Unlimited service has had a difficult gestation with companies arguing about the royalties that they will receive from the service. This echoes conflicts surrounding music streaming services such as Spotify, which has been criticised for the miniscule cut it gives to musicians.
At the moment, the Amazon website advises that punters should check back "when" the service reaches their country rather than "if". We've contacted Amazon to ask when that might happen.
With Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime Instant Video in place, that only leaves an unlimited audio service to rival Spotify and Google Play Music. Rumours have circulated about such a service but no announcements have been made so far. µ