Having now experimented with both Audible and Scribd for a few months, I thought people might be interested in how I got on. I’m starting with Scribd just because there’s a lot more feedback around on Audible.
What’s the deal with Scribd?:
- A subscription reading service that costs $8.99 a month (about £6.05)
- Unlimited audioooks and ebooks
- You don’t own the books but borrow them – in practicality, this doesn’t bother me at all.
The value: At £6.12 a month for as many audiobooks and ebooks as I wanted, the price is absolutely fantastic, and was definitely a deciding factor for me. Audible’s £7.99 for one book just can’t compete here.
The Selection: Whilst not quite as good as Audible, I found plenty I wanted to read and listen to (mostly YA). A few that jumped out at me were Not a Drop To Drink, A Thousand Pieces of Me, Life by Committee, Dorothy Must Die, The Raven Boys & Beauty Queens. There’s a greater choice of ebooks and I soon found Wild, The September Girls, Partials, Ten Tiny Breaths & The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.
The Less Good:
Download speeds: this was a big issue for me. I read ebooks on my laptop on the website, so I can’t comment on the download speeds for those, but for audiobooks I really struggled. I tried different devices, different wifi networks – nothing seemed to change the fact that audiobooks took literally hours to download.
Disappearing books: On at least three occasions I had a downloaded audiobook disappear on me on my way to uni. I’d be listening along happily and then everything would just stop. I’d then try to listen to it again and it would have disappeared from my device. I have no idea why this happened – maybe books expire after a certain amount of time? I only ever had one book downloaded at a time so I know that wasn’t the issue. Whatever the reason, I found it very frustrating, and it got to the point where everytime there was a pause between chapters I’d be wondering ‘is it going to stop?’.
Problems with my bank: For some bizarre reason, because the payments are charged in dollars, every single month after I’m charged, my bank has been cancelling my card on suspicion of fraud! I have to then phone them, confirm that I did indeed make the payment and wait for my card to be reinstated. This is obviously not in any way Scribd’s fault, but it’s been an annoying niggle for me.
The Verdict: To be decided
For me, as much as I absolutely wanted to love Scribd, I found it didn’t quite deliver. The audiobook selection was great, but I had issues with the logistics of them, and I have plenty of ebooks on my kindle already, so while those were a nice bonus, they aren’t enough to keep my subscription active alone. For now, I’ve paused my membership and let Scribd’s support team know about the disappearing audiobooks. They’ve been great, responding within a couple of hours, and we’re working through a few potential fixes. If it turns out there’s a fix, I’ll be more than happy to keep my membership active, but if not, it’s looking likely that I’ll have to cancel. I’ll be sure to update and let you know!