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Amazon Tests Unlimited EBook-Audiobook Subscription Service

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Amazon is testing an ebook-audiobook subscription service that will grant readers unlimited access to the Kindle ebook library for a monthly fee, a model that described as Spotify for books.

Dubbed as Kindle Unlimited, the subscription service allows subscribers to "enjoy unlimited access to over 600,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks for just $9.99 month," according to a page that was briefly posted on Amazon's US site.

The page has since been taken down, but users were quick to take and share screen shots of the page.

A leaked promotional video said subscribers can enjoy "unlimited reading and listening on any device" with a free 30-day trial.

The upcoming launch of Kindle Unlimited is seen as Amazon's move against competitors in the ebook industry, but some believe that the new service is not as huge as expected.

"While you'd think anyone else wouldn't stand a chance against Amazon it appears that only 638,416 titles were available, in testing at least. None of the big 5 publishers were taking part, yet," Yahoo! contributor Luke Edwards said.

There is no detail yet when Amazon will roll out Kindle Unlimited, but it expected that the service will be launched exclusively first in the US before expanding to the UK and other markets.

While ebooks sales have been increasing for years, even resulting in the decline of physical book sales, audiobooks have also been picking up lately.

According to the Audio Publishers Association, audiobooks have ballooned into a $1.2-billion industry, up from $480 million in sales in 1997. Unit sales of downloaded audio books have also steadily grown through the years.

Audiobook sales have improved drastically since 2008, from just 80.85 million to 272.82 million in 2013. Access to audiobook has been made easier through various applications available for smartphones and tablets such as cross-platform spoken word service Audioboo.

Audioboo, which is owned by the London-based Audioboom Group PLC (BOOM.L), offers audiobooks from some of the big audiobook publishers that include BBC AudioGO (formerly BBC Audiobooks) and HarperAudio of HarperCollins.

New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler, who is also an avid podcaster, also has his own Audiboo channel where he shares his stories on a per-episode basis.

Audioboo aspires to be the Youtube of audio as it now has 2,000 content channels ranging from audiobooks to sports commentaries and weekly home podcasts.

Unlike other one-way audiobook providers, the service allows users to record or upload audio content directly to their customized channels. In a way, Audioboo presents an emerging alternative to the subscription model as it creates space for users to be publishers as well.