Amazon Inc. launched its Kindle Unlimited service in Canada on Thursday, adding e-books to the forms of digital content that Canadians can subscribe to access in unlimited amounts.
Kindle Unlimited allows customers using a Kindle device, or Kindle app on a smartphone or tablet to download as many books as they like from a selection of 750,000 in Amazon’s library. Users will just have to look for the Kindle Unlimited logo to know if a book is covered by their subscription or not. Amazon says popular books like the Harry Potter series and the Hunger Games trilogy are included in the unlimited service, which costs $9.99 per month.
If you were the type to place a wager, and you were betting on whether Amazon’s unlimited service will take off in Canada or not, the odds are pretty good that it will. When it comes to digital content, Canadians seem to love the all-you-can-eat buffet approach.
Consider Google Play Music, the streaming service Google offers to Android users. The service that allows streaming from the library available on Google Play, instead of paying to download each song, was introduced in Canada in March 2014. By December, Google said Canada was already one of its top performing markets for the service. Google didn’t release the specific number of subscribers to its service, but mention results from a survey it conducted where 46 per cent of Canadians say streaming music helped them discover new music and 30 per cent said what they love most about streaming music is the extensive library.
2014 also saw the launch of Spotify in Canada, a competing music streaming service offering a catalogue of 20 million songs. Songza and Rdio are other services competing in the Canadian market.
Then there’s Netflix. A poll conducted by Media Technology Monitor in July 2014 of 2,002 Canadians found that 32 per cent were Netflix users. There’s plenty of television shows and movies available, and we’re all familiar by now with the efforts that some make to access even more Netflix content by using a VPN service to bypass geographic blocks.
All of these services seem to be priced at about $10 per month, with Netflix offering its HD streaming service for a little less at $8.99 per month. Amazon is doing the same with Kindle Unlimited with the rate of $9.99 per month.
Will Canadians be as eager to consumer e-books in an unlimited way the same as they do other types of media? You can bet other e-book selling competitors will be paying close attention.