The Amazon First Reads program “offers customers early access to editors’ picks at exclusive prices every month.” It’s a great way to get new Kindle ebooks free or cheap each and every month. I’ve used it at various times over the past several years both to find new books and authors to read, as well as to pick up new books from authors I already loved.
For example, popular modern fiction author Camille Pagan is often part of the program, and even superstar Jessica Simpson’s latest essay, Movie Star, about a fling with a famous actor, was first released as an Amazon First Read. At the time I’m writing this, even actress Mindy Kaling is featuring a book called I’ll Stop the World from her “Mindy’s Book Studio” as part of the First Reads program.
Whether you are reading on your own or with a book club, it’s a fun way to pick something new and different to read!
So, exactly what is First Reads on Amazon and how does it work? I explain exactly that below, then answer a few frequently asked questions about the program.
Guide to Amazon First Reads
What is Amazon First Reads?
Amazon First Reads “offers customers early access to editors’ picks at exclusive prices every month.” At the time of posting, it is available to U.S. customers only.
When you subscribe to Amazon First Reads, each month (near the first of the month), you will receive an email from Amazon.com stating that the new First Reads books have arrived. Here’s a sample email:
The email contains the book covers of around a handful of new release books in a variety of genres, from science fiction to historical fiction, mystery, thriller, and beyond. When you click through the email to Amazon, you can then buy these ebooks for free or at a heavily discounted rate.
If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can then generally download at least one of the featured ebooks for “free,” meaning no additional charge beyond that of your Amazon Prime membership. (Sometimes they allow more than one download for free!) You can buy additional selections at a heavily discounted rate (in the form of ebooks, but sometimes print editions too).
If you are not an Amazon Prime member, you can download any of the selected ebooks at a heavily discounted rate. In other words, you will not get any free ebook downloads.
Either way, you get early access to a curated variety of new books for free and/or for less than buying these books (or most other books) otherwise.
Tip: Unsure what to pick? You can take a few minutes to read about the books and any current reviews first. You can also wait until later in the month when many First Read-ers have already had the chance to read and review them to give you more insight. Amazon usually sends a reminder to make your selections as the end of the month, and the end of these selected book deals, draw near.
The ebooks can be read on any compatible Kindle device or through the free Kindle reading app on another device (like your cell phone or tablet).
And, you get to keep the books you buy/download forever!
So, how do you get the Amazon First Reads emails each month?
- Go to Amazon.com.
- Click “Your Account.”
- Click “Your E-mail Subscriptions.“
- Toggle Amazon First Reads ON.
There is no obligation to purchase anything. When you receive the First Reads email each month, you can do nothing, download only free options, download only paid options, or download both free and paid options.
One last thing to note is that, if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read most of the Amazon First Reads picks as part of the Kindle Unlimited program when they are released. In other words, there is no cost beyond that of your Kindle Unlimited subscription.
(Kindle Unlimited is an Amazon program that offers unlimited reading of over three million ebooks and magazines, as well as unlimited listening to thousands of audiobooks.)
Not a Kindle Unlimited subscriber? Get a free 30-day trial.
Is Amazon First Reads Worth It
If you like to read, then it’s worth at least subscribing to receive Amazon First Reads emails each month since this step costs you nothing.
Beyond that, it’s up to you whether you find worth in the program. You can undoubtedly get books for free (if you are an Amazon Prime member) or for less (if you are not an Amazon Prime member) through this program, but the selection is limited each month and the format is generally limited to ebooks.
So, if you like both the book selection and the format at least some of the time, you will probably find it to be “worth it.”
Frequently Asked Questions About Amazon Prime First Reads
Yes, you do get to keep the ebooks you buy or download through the Amazon First Reads program in your Kindle library.
For U.S. based customers, Amazon First Reads is a great way to get early access to editors’ picks at exclusive prices every month, especially if you are an Amazon Prime member and/or Kindle Unlimited subscriber, which offers added benefits including free access to certain books at certain times.
However, anyone can still subscribe to get an email each month from Amazon.com with details about the new First Reads books.