Amazon launches Kindle Unlimited subscription service

Image credit: Amazon

In today's open source roundup: Amazon launches a Netflix for ebooks subscription service. Plus: A KDE skeptic likes the Plasma 5 desktop, and what's the best Linux distro for game development?

A couple of days ago test pages for Amazon's Kindle Unlimited leaked onto the web and the media pounced like a cat on a hapless mouse. Images and links to the test pages were all over the web. Now Amazon has actually launched the Kindle Unlimited subscription service. The cost of the service is $9.99 per month and it offers access to more than 600,000 books.

According to Amazon:

Kindle Unlimited is a subscription that offers you unlimited access to over 600,000 Kindle books and over 2,000 audiobooks with Whispersync for Voice. You can keep up to ten books at a time and there are no due dates. Read your Kindle Unlimited books on any Kindle device or free Kindle reading apps.

If you haven't tried Kindle Unlimited before you can sign up for a free 30-day trial. At the end of your free trial, you will be automatically upgraded to a paid membership plan. To learn more about plans and pricing, visit the Kindle Unlimited page.

Kindle Unlimited also includes a free Audible membership for up to three months. To redeem your Audible benefit click on the link in your welcome email or sign in to your Amazon account and visit the Audible Kindle Unlimited Gift page.

More at Amazon

I'm a Kindle junkie so I was very happy when I heard that Amazon was launching a Netflix for ebooks subscription service. However, I did not expect it to launch this soon! I was pleasantly surprised when I found out about it this morning. Between Kindle Unlimited and Netflix, I have more reading, TV shows and movies than I have time to read or watch!

I've already signed up for my 30-day free trial and was sorely tempted to plop down on my couch and start reading right away. However, duty called and I had to get some work done today before I can grab some new books from Kindle Unlimited. The selection I saw on the Kindle Unlimited site looked very good and I'm looking forward to delving into what's available as soon as I can.

If you own a Kindle Paperwhite you'll find the Kindle Unlimited link listed right in the Featured section of the Kindle store page. Just click the shopping cart at the top of your Paperwhite's screen to get there. I imagine that the Kindle apps for iOS and Android will be updated very soon as well to make Kindle Unlimited books available for those platforms.

While some might be skeptical about Kindle Unlimited, I think it's a great idea for book lovers. The price seems just right for access to so many ebooks and audiobooks, and I'm sure additional publishers will come on board once the service has been available for a while.

The fact that you can read Kindle Unlimited books on any device is also bound to please a lot of potential subscribers. You aren't stuck reading on any particular vendor's hardware, and you can easily switch back and forth between devices.

The real losers here might be the existing ebook subscription services such as Oyster and Scribd. Amazon's entry into that market could really hurt them since the company is such a powerhouse in the ebook market. But then again competition is a good thing for consumers so hopefully the Kindle Unlimited service will help bring out the best from all of these companies.

I don't know about you guys, but I know how I'll be spending a lot of my weekend.

A KDE skeptic looks at the Plasma 5 desktop

TechRepublic has an article about the Plasma 5 desktop written by a KDE skeptic and guess what? He came away impressed with its speed.

According to TechRepublic:

Recently, I bashed KDE and proclaimed them irrelevant on the Linux desktop. It was my opinion that they had planted themselves firmly in the early 2000's and refused to step into modern times. KDE was nothing more than the Linux version of Windows XP and 7. While other Linux desktop environments had taken on a more modern look and feel, KDE was simply trapped in an old-school world.

What is KDE Plasma 5? The major change in KDE is that it's now built on QT5. Why is this a big deal? By using QT5, KDE gets a serious bump in speed (and I do mean serious). Even though KDE Plasma 5 is in pre-release form, it's still amazingly fast. That's all QT5. When using KDE Plasma 5, you'd swear you were working with a lightweight desktop, such as XFCE... it's that fast.

No really, it's impressive.

More at TechRepublic

I haven't had a chance to sit down with KDE Plasma 5 and put it through its paces. But most of what I've read about it seems to indicate that the KDE developers have done a pretty good job with this release.

If you want to take it for a test spin, grab the ISO file from KDE.org and see if you like it. Please do post your thoughts about it in the comments below, I'm very curious to see how well it performs for people and if they like the changes in it.

Best Linux distribution for creating games?

The GameDev forum has an interesting discussion about which Linux distribution is best suitable for creating games.

According to GameDev:

Something we are noticing is the increasing use of the Linux OS, attracting developers and users alike who wants to be part of this.

I am looking that more and more engines, programs and tools among others, are making their services available to Linux.

As a new game developer, I want to know what is the "best" (or more used, has te best features, good performance, etc) Linux Distribution to start using all this tools and making my games?

More at GameDev

I'm not a developer so I can't make a recommendation, but I was quite happy to see the question asked. I particularly liked how the first sentence noted an "increased use of the Linux OS," it's another sign that Linux is really making inroads into the gaming space. We've come a long way since the bad old days when nobody took Linux gaming seriously.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.

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