Kindle Books Expire? (Without Kindle Unlimited, Stay Time)

Since the introduction of the Kindle ebook reader in 2007, the demand for ebooks shifted, with some users switching to this option, accessing thousands of titles and authors from their devices. Kindle has an advantage over other ebook readers because of its integration with the Amazon store. However, a common concern among readers is whether kindle books expire.

So, do Kindle books expire, or can you keep them forever? Kindle books will expire and return to your library automatically when your lending period ends. If you complete your reading, you can also return the book before the due date. The expired Kindle books will pop on your reading app or Kindle device, but you cannot open them.

With Kindle becoming popular among users, concerns arise about its effectiveness and the subscription options. With Kindle and Amazon’s integration, users can easily buy books from the Amazon Store or access free copies depending on their subscriptions.

Some readers will be satisfied with one reading, while others may want to keep the book copies for future reading. Read on to know whether these books expire or if you can keep them forever.

Your Kindle books will expire and go to your library at the end of your lending period. You may also choose to return the books before they expire. Expired books will remain on your Kindle app or device, but you cannot open them to read.

Like other streaming services, Amazon library content depends on the publisher’s licenses. The Kindle content depends on the Amazon library. This means that when you buy a Kindle book, you purchase the license to own and access the file for an unspecified period. You can read the book anytime if you meet the seller and owner’s terms and conditions.

With the above said, several things can threaten your Kindle book ownership. For instance, if the author decides to stop their book circulation, they can ask the publishers to remove them from wherever they are.

While this is impossible with physical books, it is possible on Kindle. A simple sync or update will remove the book and refund your account depending on the circumstances they pulled.

Kindle Books library removal reasons

A publisher may also stop selling the book title for their reasons. While you may have bought the book and at some point, deleted it from your Kindle, such that you can access it from the cloud, if need be, the book will be unavailable should this happen. Unfortunately, there will be no refunds on this, and the best way to stay safe is to make a copy of such books.

Violating the terms and conditions of the seller or publisher could also cost you a book. For instance, you can lie about your location and end up accessing the books while in a location where the publisher does not want their books circulated. Over time, Amazon will establish this and empty your library. You will also face other consequences like account cancellation with no refunds.

Besides the above, you can also permanently delete your books from Kindle. To achieve this, navigate Amazon’s website and visit the Manage Your Content and Devices page. On the Your Content list, check the boxes next to the books you want to delete and click Delete.

Confirm your selection by tapping Yes, delete permanently on the pop-up. This action will delete the books from your Amazon account, and the next time you sync your Kindle app, the books will equally disappear.

Kindle Without Kindle Unlimited

The Kindle reader enables you to browse, buy, download and read magazines, newspapers, and ebooks. This app has two popular subscription services, prime reading, and Kindle unlimited. The latter boasts wide access to books, and it is no wonder readers are uncertain whether they can use Kindle without Kindle Unlimited.

You can use Kindle without Kindle unlimited through the app’s free version. Hence, buying and using Kindle does not require further purchases from Amazon. The Kindle Unlimited subscription is entirely optional.

Most users prefer to purchase the individual books they want to access rather than subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, as these purchases are one-time transactions that do not require subscriptions.

Prime Reading

An alternative to Kindle Unlimited is Prime Reading. This feature is available as a free trial to Amazon Prime members with 1000 books, comics, magazines, and audiobooks. As a prime member, you have a limit of up to ten books at a time, after which you can return to access the next batch.

Hence, while you may not have all the ten books at any given time, you are free to read as many titles within the 1,000 books curated for your library. These books change over time as Amazon adds more books and removes others. Hence, you will not read from a specific batch of 1,000 books at any time.

The Amazon Prime reading is free if you are already an Amazon Prime member. To join this membership, you will pay 12.99 dollars per month or 119 dollars a year. As a member, there are no additional costs to access your library. Even better, you can access the Prime Reading Books with the 30-day Prime trial, with students enjoying up to 6months of free trials.

Subscribing to Amazon Prime Reading requires you to sign up for Amazon Prime. If you are a member, log in to your account and check that your membership is current; then, you can enjoy the book titles available. If you are new and uncertain about navigating the Prime reading, visit the Prime reading page, click the Prime checkbox or use the Kindle app to read your books.

Visiting the Prime Reading page is the easiest way to find your Amazon Prime free books.  Once on this page, scroll through the list of the titles available and once you find your interest, click the Read for Free tab to preview the book. The book’s title will be available on all your devices with the Kindle app.

Kindle Store

The second alternative to finding your Amazon Prime kindle books is searching them on the Kindle Store. This method requires you to select the Kindle Store through the drop-down on the left of the search bar. 

You will see a Prime Reading Eligible Checkbox, which will filter your results and show your Prime Reading free books upon clicking. Once this list pops up, you can open the product page, click the Read for Free button, and your title will be available on all your devices with the Kindle app.

Kindle App

Third, you can access Prime Reading through the Kindle App on your Android or iOS device.  To do this, open the app on your device and go to the Store tab. You will see multiple links below the search bar, one of which is Prime Reading. Click on this link and start browsing the titles. Once on your desired title, click Read for Free, and your titles will be available on all your devices having the Kindle app.

Now that it is possible to use Kindle without the Kindle Unlimited, another concern will be whether this option is worth the hassle and the book limitations on the alternatives. If you are already considering this option, start by checking the titles available before signing up, keeping in mind that these titles will change over time.

The Prime Reading is worth your try as; besides the titles, you will also enjoy free two-day shipping, exclusive saving, Prime Video and Music, and saving your budget on other apps like Spotify and Netflix.

The Kindle Unlimited also remains the best choice for voracious readers who can read five or more books a month and want to explore the latest literary trends.  Hence, if you are an occasional reader, consider Prime Reading which will provide a mainstream approach with popular authors and titles. 

If you are undecided, you can use the 30-day free trial to get a gist of this subscription and establish if it meets your needs. Be sure to cancel your trial, as the system will bill you upon expiry.

How long do books stay on Kindle Unlimited?

The Kindle Unlimited subscription allows customers to read as many books as they wish and keep them for a monthly subscription. Upon borrowing these books, you may want to know how long you can have them.

Books will stay on your Kindle Unlimited for about three months. This duration will vary depending on Amazon’s agreement with the publisher. Also, given that the books you access through Kindle unlimited are borrowed books, the books will vanish from your device once you stop renewing your subscription.

Amazon is responsible for this setup, and your books will be available in a different folder from the ones you purchased, and the purchased ones will remain as these disappear. Canceling your account will make you lose access to the books you previously borrowed before your next billing cycle starts.

Before diving into account cancelation and how long books can stay on your Kindle Unlimited, it is worth understanding how the subscription works. The Kindle Unlimited features more than two million titles, including best sellers, new authors, and top published ebooks.

This subscription is ideal for individuals with the Kindle ereaders, but you do not need a Kindle to get the Kindle Unlimited account. The Kindle Unlimited also has thousands of audiobooks, and you can seamlessly switch between reading and listening to books with the audio version. 

Downloading books

While you can use Kindle Unlimited offline, you should download your books before going offline. As an active subscriber, you can access up to twenty titles. Upon reaching this limit, you may have to return one or more to access more.

As stated earlier, Kindle Unlimited allows users to borrow rather than purchase books at the next billing date. However, this does not apply to the books you buy with your Kindle Unlimited discount; hence, the titles will be active in your library.

A kindle subscription will cost you 9.99 dollars a month and includes a 30-day free trial that you can take advantage of to establish if this product meets your needs.

Canceling a Kindle Unlimited subscription was possible through the Kindle or Amazon app, but this option is no longer valid. Hence, the only way left to achieve this is through the browser. To cancel your Kindle Unlimited subscription, navigate the Amazon website on your chosen browser and tap the Hello, sign in button. Next, log into your account with your Amazon credentials, hover the top button, and select Kindle Unlimited from the drop-down.

On the payment settings, you will see a manage membership section, and you should select cancel Kindle Unlimited membership to effect cancellation. You will receive a prompt to confirm your actions, including the list of books you borrowed. To cancel your membership, click the Cancel Membership button.

Upon canceling your Kindle Unlimited subscription, you will stop seeing the billing on your Amazon account with respect to this account. Also, the system will remove all your borrowed books from your account. However, if you have a prepay, your membership will remain active until your next payment date.

Although your Kindle Unlimited book access is more dependent on your subscription, this alternative is still viable given its usability, multiple titles, and authors, ability to read what you did not buy, and easily swap between devices. Kindle Unlimited also features exclusive books unavailable on other ereaders. Lastly, you do not need a kindle to use the service.


Kindle books are an ideal way of accessing thousands of books affordably and conveniently. While you can access books through Kindle, you cannot keep them forever as they will expire and return to your library when your lending period lapses. Also, you can return these books before their expiry, which will remain in your library until the expiry date. However, you cannot open and read expired ebooks.

Accessing Kindle books is possible through unlimited and Prime Reading subscriptions, the Prime Reading offers free access as you need not make further purchases from Amazon. You could also buy individual books as a one-time transaction, hence no need for a subscription.

The Kindle Unlimited is convenient as you can borrow more books from popular authors. The duration you stay with the books will depend on Amazon’s agreement with the publisher, and the books will also vanish with your subscription expiry.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is a technology expert based in the UK, with experience across a number of technology areas from phones, tablets, computers to gaming.

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