Why I Canceled Scribd

Scribd-200When the idea of subscription book programs first started, a number of people asked me about them. It seemed like a natural fit for me. I read a lot of books, these are subscriptions for unlimited book reading, what is not to like?

I tried Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, Oyster’s (out of business), Scribd‘s and a couple other plans. The problems are usually similar. They often have books you want to read, but not all of them. All of them are rental plans, so you do not keep the books, just borrow them, similar to a library.

In order to make sense of a rental style subscription plan, you need to read a lot of books each month for it to makes sense, at least three but probably five.

What made Scribd different initially was a large selection of audiobooks. The audiobooks for a while kept me subscribed. But then Scribd had to restrict the books until now you can only listen to one a month. (Because they were losing money.) With a price of $8.99 to borrow one audiobook (there are still ebooks you can borrow) the price no longer makes sense. I pay just pennies more than that per book from Audible and that is a purchase program. And Audible has a much better selection of books.

I think subscription plans still make sense for some people. But it is unlikely to be a very large group of people. And at this point, the only real option is Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription plan. Amazon still does not have a large audiobook selection (not quite 3000). But it has a pretty good ebook selection.

Subscription plans need to be thought of as a month by month option. Get it one month, put it on hold for a month or two and then come back to it.  Scribd did have a good vacation hold option. I have been putting my account on hold so extended it for a lot longer than I probably should have.

But in the end, I am back to purchasing books through Amazon and Audible.

6 Comments

Well said, we normally overrate our reading capacity, but later realize that either we can’t keep up pace with the subscription plan or simply there are not much of content for us, which happened to me in KU in India.

    I tried Kindle Unlimited. And I read a fair amount during the free trial. But there just wasn’t enough for me to keep the subscription. I could see signing up for a month every quarter if you would just read the subscription books.

    But that is not how I read. I read a number of books at the same time. My reading of one book raising questions which leads me to another book. So limited subscription options means that even if I start a month with the idea of reading only the subscription books, I will end up wanting to read non-subscription books pretty quickly to address the questions or interests raised by the subscription books.

Hey Adam, I cancelled Scribd the same month they got rid of unlimited audio books as well. It is sad really, as I was loving listening to so many audiobooks. My new choice of app is Hoopla, which integrates with our public library system here in Canada. I don’t know if it is available to you, but you can borrow up to five audio books a month, and their selection is quite delightful.

    My library supports Overdrive. Doesn’t have a limit to how many audiobooks I can checkout. But only has about 1000 books available often with decent wait times. But I do tend to check them first. A lot of popular books and young adult books I borrow that way.

      Which is essentially a whole other line against the subscription models. Why pay something for a service that has most of the same benefits and problems as your local library which is already tax supported.

In addition to the reasons you mention, I’m quitting because I dislike giving money to a company who treats their customers so poorly. Not only have they had multiple rounds of making the service worse value, my audiobooks and book (even ones I’ve spent credits on) have semi-frequently disappeared from my library

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