Scribd is a document sharing and ebook subscription service. Originally it was mostly to share unpublished papers or articles, Scribd started its ebook subscription service about the same time as the better known Oyster, last year. At the time I tried and reviewed Oyster, but didn’t bother reviewing Scribd because the services were so similar.
After spending 3 months with Kindle Unlimited, I was interested to hear Scribd announce yesterday that the $8.99 a month service will now include 30,000 audiobooks. This morning I signed up for the free one month trial and have some initial thoughts.
First, this is a much better website than it was last I looked at it, and the selection is much better than Kindle Unlimited. Yes Kindle Unlimited has more books, but Scribd has more of the books you want to read.
For instance, while Kindle Unlimited had a handful of CS Lewis books in ebook (none with free audiobooks), Scribd has most of his books, both in ebook and audiobook formats, in addition to the recent biographies from Alister McGrath and Devin Brown, and a number of Lewis’ books also have Spanish editions.
There are audiobooks from Blackstone, HarperCollins (which owns Zondervan, Thomas Nelson and HarperOne) and Scholastic included in the 30,000 audiobooks.
I browsed through the audiobooks and in a short period of time I had about 70 books on a wishlist and ran across at least that many that I have previously reviewed. If your objection to Kindle Unlimited was that the selection was poor, you should look at Scribd (or Oyster, since both have similar catalogs, although Oyster does not have audiobooks.)
Not everything is perfect with Scribd however. The main problem for me is that the iOS app, only allows you to read the ebooks, but the android app has audiobooks now (iOS is coming.) So I am limited to listening to audiobook while on my computer, which right now is streaming only.
The other problem is that there is no way to read Scribd with an eink device. So it is either a phone or tablet.
According to an interview with Scribd, the iOS app update, as well as the ability to sync between audio and ebook is coming early next year. Scribd also has removed the 20 book at a time limit (Kindle Unlimited has a 10 books at a time limit.) That type of limit was not a problem for me when I used Kindle Unlimited but it might make a difference for some.
I am a big fan of Audible, and with my plan (24 books a year, paid for all at once), each book ends up being just a bit over $9 (or sometimes less if I already own the kindle book.) The Scribd plan is $8.99 a month for unlimited audiobooks, but this is a borrowing, not purchase plan. Keeping with my leasing should be no more than 1/4 of purchase price concept that I used for Kindle Unlimited, I would need to listen to at least 4 books a month to justify the price. I tend to listen to 6 to 8 audiobooks a month (although some of those are free or from the library) so I will again be trying out the service and writing a longer review in a month.