Amazon Offers Unlimited Reading, Audiobook Service -- 2nd Update

By Dow Jones Business News, 
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By Joshua Jamerson

Amazon.com Inc. said it would offer an unlimited reading and audiobook listening service for $9.99 a month, a move Wall Street anticipates to spur as much as $1 billion in top-line growth for the company.

The service, known as Kindle Unlimited, allows readers to read as much as they want--picking from over 600,000 Kindle books--and listen to as many audiobooks, of which Amazon said thousands are available.

The service is available for Kindle and non-Amazon mobile devices, including those powered by Apple Inc.'s iOS and Google Inc.'s Android operating systems, via the Amazon Kindle app. Amazon said it would offer a 30-day free trial for the service.

The subscription e-book service was accidentally leaked on Amazon's website earlier this week, and the company later took the information down.

Piper Jaffray noted that Amazon would need to attract some bigger-name publishers for the service to truly gain traction, as many books advertised weren't from large publishing houses. The company also faces pressure from startups that could undercut its new offering.

Amazon, for its part, noted Friday that best-sellers such as the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games series and The Lord of the Rings trilogy are included in the service.

"With Kindle Unlimited, you won't have to think twice before you try a new author or genre--you can just start reading and listening," said Amazon's Russ Grandinetti, senior vice president for Kindle.

Amazon, which has reported skimpy profits in recent quarters, also recently launched its Fire TV set-top box and struck a deal with to stream many HBO shows though its Prime Instant Video service.

Write to Joshua Jamerson at Joshua.Jamerson@dowjones.com

Corrections & Amplifications

An earlier version of this story mischaracterized the service in the headline.

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