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23 February 2016

Try-it Tuesday: Kindle Unlimited

TheOccasionalGenealogist.com Try-it Tuesday For this Try-it Tuesday, I want to suggest Kindle Unlimited. Initially, this was a general post about any Kindle genealogy books, but it turns out to be a massive topic if I include links to some of the best and cheapest Kindle books (yes, this is about "Kindle" books, not just any ebook). So, I'm splitting this topic up. Today I'll tell you about Kindle Unlimited (what it is, what it costs) and give you a few links to the top genealogy books available for free through Kindle Unlimited. In a later post, I'll provide a more general "Kindle for Genealogy" overview and links to cheap or free books. Note: This post contains affiliate links (click the link---you pay the same, I make a commission).
Do you have a home genealogy library? If you had one (or a larger one) would it make it easier for you to research? If you're an Occasional Genealogist (OG), it probably would.

A Home Genealogy Library?

Have you ever had to move your home genealogy library? If not, let me assure you, you don't want to. When we moved from Virginia to Georgia a few years ago, one of the major categories of items that didn't make it was books. Almost all of my fiction books were donated so I could move my genealogy books. Most of these are not available as ebooks but I'm finding more and more genealogy titles I'm interested in, are. I've also discovered there are a lot of genealogy books I wouldn't be willing to buy that I can read for free as a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.
If you aren't familiar with Kindle Unlimited, I'll tell you a little about it. There are probably a lot of genealogists out there who would like this service because I know a lot of genealogists that like books. Kindle Unlimited is a paid subscription. Currently, it's $9.99 per month (it's been that price for a while). As you'd guess by the name, for the price you get unlimited reading. That isn't to say you can get every Kindle book for free, but it's a pretty impressive selection.

A Home Library?

I treat my subscription like a very convenient library. I get cookbooks, children's books for my daughter, classic novels, and occasionally genealogy books. I'm not a big reader of "best sellers" so I can't tell you how robust that selection is. Also, I wouldn't tell you to get this just for the genealogy books. If you like the ease of Kindle books (I find them much easier to access than other types of ebooks) and you buy $10 worth of books a month, on average, you should consider it.

Narrated Books

In addition to the Kindle books, you get unlimited listening to books with narration. Now that I work from home, this isn't a huge draw for me. This would have been a huge benefit when I used to commute, both by car and train. I could read a book on the DC Metro but I almost missed my stop several times and of course, you can only read while on the train, not while walking to your final destination. I did a lot more reading when I rode Metro. As an OG, you might find the books with narration a huge benefit.


Household Sharing?

The one aspect of Kindle Unlimited I'm not clear on is the household sharing. We have Amazon Prime and part of that is setting up a "household." It appears we can share Kindle Unlimited with our household, but I can't find anything on Amazon's website that says this ($10 per month for the whole household is a great deal, but I don't want to sell you on that since I don't know the specifics).

No Kindle Needed!

Also, you don't have to have a Kindle device to use this service. I usually get my Kindle books on my iPad, but I've accessed them on my Android phone, my laptop, and desktop computer---as well as my Kindle.

The official FAQs are here.

The Free Trial

If you aren't sure if the selection of books is worth the monthly cost, you can sign-up for a free 30-day trial. Go crazy and try all kinds of books during your free 30-days. I have a small Kindle library of business books for various software programs and general business "self-help" guides, even writing aids. Try out cookbooks, crochet books, the classics you always meant to read; anything you can think of. Here's the link again, Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Search and Browse

Make sure you search for books you might be interested in and try browsing the selection of Kindle Unlimited titles. I find different books browsing because I see titles I wouldn't have searched for. Some books you might consider "genealogy" may not be listed under genealogy, as well.

Use Common Sense

Lastly, remember, many ebooks are self-published. Genealogists have always needed to analyze the skill of abstractors and transcribers. We mostly trust works published by major publishing companies because they received professional editing, though (think of the genealogy section at your local Barnes and Noble). Buying an ebook is often similar to the self-published books in a genealogy collection, not the big name printed books at B&N. Use common sense.

A Sampling of Genealogy Titles

Here is a very short list of genealogy titles available for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers. "Genealogy" is found under "Education & Reference" when you want to browse the category.
The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy (3rd ed.) by Kimberly Powell
Family Photo Detective by Maureen A. Taylor
The Family Tree [Magazine] Historical Maps Book -- U.S. or Europe
assorted titles from the series "A Genealogists Guide to Discovering Your Ancestors" including Irish, German, Scottish
more titles from the editors of Family Tree Magazine

There are pages and pages of "genealogy" books free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers. This is just an idea of some of the books you might be interested in. There are also abstracted records and more specific guides. Try-it, it's free (for thirty days, at least).

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