Scribd: Is it worth it?

Hello readers!

So I have gotten Scribd for a free month trial after reading about it in Misty’s post Apps I Use For All Things Bookish, and decided to write this post about how it went, what I read and how it compares to Kindle Unlimited and Audible! If you’re anything like me, the words “Netflix for books” is sure to catch your attention. So – is Scribd your long-dreamed-of Netflix for books??

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So, starting from the beginning, here is what the app looks like on my phone:

screenshot_20180724-101846_scribd2685274418058332348.jpg

(yes, I only had 72% of battery at 10:18 AM… but not to worry, I always carry a charger with me)

You have an overview page, where basically shows the books you’ve saved (which works like a wishlist, or a TBR), and you can see recommendations there. You can also go to the other tabs to select recommendations filtered by the format you want: audiobooks, ebooks, magazines…

I do recommend that if you want to try it out, download it on your phone if you can! It’s far more practical to listen to books on the go.

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Books I Read

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  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by Ottessa Moshfegh
    Rating: ★★★★☆
  • The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, by Lauren James
    Rating: ★★★☆☆
  • Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys
    Rating: ★★★★☆

17182499 6493208 32075853

  • Illusive, by Emily Lloyd-Jones
    Rating: ★★★★★
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
    Rating: ★★★★☆
  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal
    Rating: ★★★★★

If we were villains m l rio challenger deep neal shusterman.png To The Lighthouse Virginia Woolf

  • If We Were Villains, by Rio
    Rating: ★★★★☆
  • Challenger Deep, by Neal Schusterman
    Rating: ★★★★★
  • To The Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf
    Rating: ★★★★☆

bobbi brown beauty rules deathless catherynne m valente all systems red martha wells

  • Beauty Rules, by Bobbi Brown
    Rating: ★★★☆☆
  • Deathless, by Catherynne M. Valente
    Rating: ★★★★☆
  • All Systems Red, by Martha Wells
    Rating: ★★★★★

an extraordinary union alyssa cole

  • An Extraordinary Union, by Alyssa Cole
    Rating: ★★★★★

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Is It Worth It?

The answer is, unsurprisingly, it depends on what you expect out of it.

I used it for two months, one free and one paid. During most of this time, I had so many books and audiobooks available that I was going to give a resounding “yes”, but my feelings towards this service changed on the second month, a week or so into the paid month. What changed? Well, suddenly 90% of my saved books were unavailable and would only be available one day after the next time I pay for Scribd services.

So, yeah, I thought it was a pretty rude thing with no sort of warning whatsoever. I did not know about this issue before, but then a few days later I read another book blogger on twitter complaining about the same issue! And worse: the promised date of availability being pushed to another month, on and on, with no warning. Here is what it looked like for me:

screenshot_20180912-170021_scribd8790235711544934380.jpg

As a result, I had a choice of 5 audiobooks left on my account that I could actually listen to for about 3 weeks, and 3 of those were books I’d already started (and DNF-ed, mostly). So I tried getting more into the ebooks, but then – well, I can’t read them on the Kindle, and had to read them on my phone or on my pc, which was quite annoying, really. It seems like on Kindle Fire you can read them, but not on the Paperwhite one. Also probably won’t work if you have Kobo or another reading tablet either.

I have done some research on the matter throughout Scribd’s website (their Terms and Conditions, for example), but nowhere do they mention this can happen. They say that a small amount of books can become unavailable (as in: being deleted!) depending on the contracts those books had with Scribd, but it didn’t prepare me to have MOST of my audiobook choices discarded like that, nor did they mention things being unavailable for a month or two or more.

And as I explained above, the audiobooks are basically the only reason why I’d subscribe to this service, as I cannot read the ebooks outside of my phone and PC, which I don’t like doing.

Was it worth it? Definitely! I picked up a LOT of books in these two months and, although it messed up my reading schedule because I had to adapt to what they had available vs. what I needed to read soon, I ended up reading a few books I wouldn’t have read if they weren’t included in the service! My biggest surprises were My Year of Rest and Relaxation and also Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows. Will I use the service again? Yes, probably, sometime in the future. But for now, I will cancel my subscription.

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Scribd vs Amazon Unlimited

  • Scribd definitely has far more options when it comes to YA and fantasy! I was also more pleased with the amount of audiobooks available. I cannot speak much for thriller and romance books, but I had the impression that Amazon Unlimited has more options there.
  • If you use Kindle Fire, you can download the ebooks available to read them. Otherwise, you can only read them on the PC or your smartphone, which to me was very inconvenient and I ended up not reading many ebooks.

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Scribd vs Audible

  • Audible has more options for audiobooks
  • Scribd is far more worth pricewise – if you listen to 2 books per month, it’s already worth it! I read and finished 5 books in a month, which makes (9 dollars/month)/(5 books /month), so a total of less than 2 dollars per book. So it’s definitely worth it for the price per book, but if you can read only what is available and not the books you actually want to read, then maybe I’d read 1 book per month I actually want to read, instead of 5 I’m just reading because they’re available. Also, because a lot of those books become unavailable, as I said above, it can be quite frustrating. If you love audiobooks, perhaps stick to Audible.

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10 thoughts on “Scribd: Is it worth it?

  1. This is such a useful post! I hadn’t really checked out Scribd and then I saw the uproar on Twitter about the deleting books you want to read shenanigans and I decided not to bother. It kind of reminds me of MoviePass in a sense that the business model didn’t seem to be sustainable and they needed to change it up, but where they faltered was in not communicating it to their subscribers… or updating their TOS? WTF?

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  2. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts about Scribd! I’ve considered it in the past for audiobooks, but after what I’ve seen lately on Twitter, I decided not to. I’ve used Audible in the past and its fantastic but not cheap. For the moment I’m sticking with Overdrive and Hoopla, but truly thank you for this info about Scribd!

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  3. Really great post! I’m currently on a two month free trial of Scribd and noticed the same problems. I think the problem with titles becoming unavailable seems to be mainly related to audiobooks (which were a reason why I was so excited, as I don’t have a lot of means to get them otherwise & wanted to get into them more), as I had no problem with my ebooks yet.

    2 weeks into the first month when I had listened to 2 audiobooks the restriction already started. What I didn’t like was the no warning too, because it definitely shows a lack of transparency :/ I had not looked into the terms & conditions, but that there is not even a subclause about this makes me a bit angry tbh.

    I was at least fortunate enough to be able to read the ebooks on an old tablet where I could download the app, but it’s a bit weird to me that you would only be able to read it on certain Kindles and not all 😮

    It’s a shame really, because I think that Scribd has a lot of potential: it has a great interface, offers a good selection for a reasonable price and my experience with their ebooks has been really good so far!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree! I was both surprised and upset that they didn’t mention this. Since audiobooks are also the main reason why I got scribd, I’m not sure either if I will get it at another point again.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: What I’ve been up to in September // It’s Finally Fall and NaNoWriMo Prep – The Bookcheshire Cat

  5. It is so relieving to hear that other people are running into the same issues I’ve been having! At first I definitely thought it was just an availability thing with the publishers. I find that if I have an audiobook downloaded, it will stay available to me. When my renewal date came up, I went to download a couple more audiobooks so that they would also stay available – to find out that after two or three, the rest would have their availability pushed back to the next month. It’s definitely super annoying and I’m getting pretty frustrated with the service for sure.

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