Recently, I dropped my Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet, shattering the screen. I didn't hesitate to replace it with a newer Fire, because my model was a good product at a good price (I purchased it for $94.99, without ads, in 2018). The device itself had all of the features of tablets that cost much more, and I was particularly impressed with its durability (I did drop it from chest height squarely onto a hard tile floor). Yes, I understand that selling the device at below market rates is a ploy to pull you into Amazon's digital content realm, but I figured that I could avoid that trap.
My new Fire is an updated model, the HD 8 Plus. It's faster than the old one and was $99.99, ad free. The new Fire also came with a 3-month free subscription to Kindle Unlimited, Amazon's vast collection of digital books, audiobooks, and magazines. Since I use the Fire mainly for reading, it seemed worth looking into.
Before proceeding, here's a short primer on related but easily confused Amazon products:
* Amazon Prime, with an annual fee of $119, offers price and delivery advantages for many Amazon departments.
* Prime Reading is a collection of about 1,000 ebooks that are free to Prime members.
* Kindle Newsstand is a subscription service to digital periodicals.
* The Kindle Owners' Lending Library was a free lending program. It was discontinued in early 2021.
THE KINDLE UNLIMITED SYSTEM
Amazon describes Kindle Unlimited as containing more than 2 million digital books, audiobooks, and magazines. There is a monthly $9.99 subscription fee, and all items can be checked out at no extra charge. Checkout times are unlimited, but only 10 items can be checked out at once. Kindle Unlimited must be used with an existing Amazon account.
Fire tablets come with the Kindle app, which Android and iOS users can easily download and install for free. The app is intuitive and efficient, and it replicates the Kindle experience very well. The...