Amazon Announces Prime Reading – Unlimited Reading from a Rotating Selection of Books, Magazines, Comics and Other E-publications

This isn’t directly genealogy related although I do know that genealogists often are avid readers. I plan to use this new service a lot and thought I would share the information here.


Amazon Prime members in the United States now have free access to selected books, magazines and more. The selection within Amazon Prime Reading includes more than 1,000 popular books, access to premium magazines, exclusive short content and all of customers’ favorite Kindle features. The list of available e-publications includes The Hobbit, as well as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but the magazine selection actually sounds potentially more appealing with titles including National Geographic Traveler, People, Sports Illustrated, Popular Mechanics and more. I didn’t see any genealogy publications on the list, however.

While these publications are available in a Kindle format, a Kindle device is not needed. Like all Kindle-formatted publications, the books, magazines, and more can be read on an Apple iPad or iPhone, Macintosh, Windows, Android, or other devices by downloading and installing a free Kindle app. If your device is not on the list of available devices, simply open a web browser and read the publication in the Kindle Cloud Reader.

For more information, see my earlier article, How to Read Kindle eBooks on non-Kindle Devices. 

If you are an Amazon Prime customer, this is simply one more free service for you. If you are thinking about signing up for Amazon Prime, this might be the thing that nudges you into doing so.

I read the online version of Motor Trend magazine this morning on my iPad and the process seemed to work well. I may become less productive now that I have all these things to read!

See for details about Amazon Prime Reading.

NOTE: For $9.99 a month, Amazon also offers a higher-level service, called Kindle Unlimited, which includes more than one million books, magazines and audio books. Kindle Unlimited also includes audio books. Details about Kindle Unlimited may be found at


Can you use this service on a Chromebook?


I give up. Not only can I not obtain a book, I cannot figure out how to look for a magazine. Maybe the system is down/overloaded? I do appreciate you bringing the service to my attention though!


    —> Not only can I not obtain a book, I cannot figure out how to look for a magazine.

    Before writing the article, I went to

    Once there, I saw dozens of books and magazines listed plus there was a search box to search for still others. I clicked on Motor Trend magazine as that is one magazine I read often. It displayed a message saying it was downloading to my iPad, the device I use for reading all Kindle-format books and magazines.

    I then switched to the iPad, turned it on, and opened the Kindle app. Motor Trend magazine was downloading. I waited a few seconds for the download to finish, then clicked on the Motor Trend magazine icon and started reading.


    I had similar problems. I found the link Dick gave you but does not appear to be working correctly this morning (Friday) – at least not on my iPad. I found the magazines by downloading the Kindle app to my iPad. From there I went to Prime Magazines. Next problem was, of the 8 in Prime Magazines out of the 40-45 available that I looked at, none was currently available “to borrow”! Wonder if they are having system problems.

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    —> Next problem was, of the 8 in Prime Magazines out of the 40-45 available that I looked at, none was currently available “to borrow”! Wonder if they are having system problems.

    Uh, you ARE an Amazon Prime customer, right? And you are logged into Amazon with your user name and password, right?

    As stated in the announcement, the new service is for Amazon Prime customers. I would assume you have to be logged into Amazon so that the service knows that you are an authorized Amazon Prime customer.

    If you are not an Amazon Prime member or if you are not presently logged into Amazon Prime, I would expect the results you described.

    I am an Amazon Prime customer and I was logged into Amazon with my user name and password when I tested the system. I had no problems finding books and magazines and downloading them to my iPad.

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Still not able to access the Prime Reading. After a long online chat I’ve now been on the phone for 25 minutes and they’re still working on the problem. I’m only mentioning it here because it’s a “Prime” example of the joys of technology. When it works it can do amazing things but when it doesn’t it eats up our time and frustrates us to no end. Enjoy it but don’t rely on it too much. And backup everything just like Dick says!!
PS Amazon acknowledges I’m a Prime member but the website doesn’t. (on any device)

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I am not an Amazon Prime customer and I would like to see the list of magazines and books available before I signed up. Do you know if Consumer Reports is available?
I previously tried Kindle unlimited and was underwelmed by the selection.

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    The entire catalog is available at

    HOWEVER, I was signed in when I was looking at that catalog. I don’t know if you first need to be signed in to view the catalog or not.

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    If you can’t access Consumer Reports thru Amazon, try your local public library. My library has a subscription to the online version that library cardholders can access from home computers. Call the reference librarian for info. Our tax dollars at some useful work.

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It’ll be interesting to see if the Amazon Prime reading will include their genealogy books. There’s lots of good stuff on Amazon for genealogists!

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I have been a Prime member for years because we live in an area where it is difficult to shop and we have a LOT of things delivered to our home. I went to the link you listed and did not see anything about “unlimited Prime” and I thought I would clarify some things not mentioned in your blog.

#1 Being a Prime member involves a yearly fee–I believe it is about $50.
#2 Unless some rule has changed VERY recently you are limited to borrowing books etc to 10 items at a time.
#3 Not ALL publications offer Prime Unlimited reading–not all books are offered this way either. Some authors will offer many of their older books through Prime while most authors will offer one or 2 hoping to get you to order their pay books OR sign up for a pre-order for their new book. You CAN, however set up a system with many local libraries to borrow books via kindle from the library–I have not tried that yet.

On Amazon Prime —

While you CAN choose from various categories and the list of choices in categories seems very large–there is at least ONE category I have not found there and that is historical novels–I prefer to read my history in novel format BUT that is not an option —and you won’t find historical novels under History—usually they are in the Romance department and then you have to scour through about the topics—nearly all historical novels I have found DO include a bit of Romance…BUT “you can’t tell a book by it’s cover” —-some are more romance than history–in fact MOST are more romance than historical…so if you prefer your history in novel format it will be hard to find those books.

So unless you order a lot of things through Amazon by mail (being a Prime member gives you free shipping which adds up if you order a lot of household things through Amazon as I do) –Prime might not really save you a LOT of many unless you are like me and read several books a month and also order a lot of things by mail.

you MIGHT be better off using the library function where you can borrow books from the library–BUT the catch with that is I believe you only have 2 weeks to read a book whereas with the Kindle Prime unlimited you can keep borrowed books as long as you like–

I LOVE my kindle and am an avid reader, but your blog post did not explain all the ins and outs of this program-so I hope I have explained it a bit more for folks.


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At first, it was very hard to find the available Prime free books, but Amazon seems to have improved that now. I have both Prime and Kindle Unlimited. Today, browsing the Prime books and magazines, every one I saw was also Kindle Unlimited. I think Prime has value for other benefits, but the Books feature may not add new material if you have KU.

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