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Deal sweetener: Amazon adds Prime Reading perk to its Prime service

Amazon has launched Prime Reading, its latest attempt to add value to the Prime subscription service. The new benefit gives subscribers unlimited access to a rotating selection of books, comics, and magazines, at no extra cost to the existing $99 annual price tag.

Prime Reading is distinct from the Kindle Lending Library, which allows subscribers to choose one book from a selection every month to read on their Kindle and Fire devices. The content available via Prime Reading is accessible on both Amazon’s proprietary hardware, and via the Kindle app for iOS and Android.

The Prime Reading library will change on a regular basis, but the initial offering is a promising sign of things to come. There’s a good amount of filler, but there are also titles you’ll recognize, like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, The Man in the High Castle, and The Hobbit.

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The comics and graphic novels category is particularly well stocked. Collected editions of Calvin and Hobbes and Scott Pilgrim are included, as well as Jeffrey Brown’s Darth Vader and Son and its sequel, Vader’s Little Princess.

However, it’s perhaps the selection of magazines on offer that adds the most value to the Prime Reading service in its current form. From Sports Illustrated to Popular Mechanics, from GQ to Vogue, and from Entertainment Weekly to National Geographic Traveler, there are a broad range of periodicals sure to offer something to most audiences.

This isn’t the first bonus that Amazon has added to its Prime service in recent weeks. The company added several perks relating to its gaming subsidiary Twitch earlier this month, and threw in some Audible audiobook content back in September.

The company’s ongoing commitment to Prime makes one thing very clear — as Walmart preps its own assault on the online marketplace, Amazon sees the subscription model as an effective method of retaining customers.