An update on Scribd

I posted a few years ago about how much I was enjoying using Scribd, when I was getting through a lot of audiobooks as part of my commute.  I let it lapse once my commute changed, as I just didn’t have time for many audiobooks, and because I got a bit fed up with the bank cancelling my card every month because the payments were in dollars.  I saw Lauren’s post a while back about how much she was enjoying it, and having looked into it, I decided it was worth pausing my audible membership for a few months and seeing how the two compared now.

How it works:

  • The subscription reading service is $8.99 a month (about £6.40)
  • Unlimited audioooks and ebooks
  • You don’t own the books but borrow them

The Good:

  • Scribd is cheaper than audible, and I can listen to as many audiobooks as I want, as well as read e-books.  As long as I listen to one audiobook a month, I’m no worse off (in fact, I’m just over £1 better off) and of course I could listen to/read a lot more than that if I want to
  • I’ve found that being able to buy multiple books makes me a lot less picky: I’m no longer worrying that I need to get my ‘money’s worth’, so short stories are back on the menu.  I’d probably never get to these short-stories otherwise.
  • I don’t feel the same pressure to make sure I pick something I’ll really like – if I don’t get stuck into something, I can just start something else instead
  • Because I CAN listen to more than one audiobook each month, I’ve found that generally I do.  I always felt like one book a month was about right with audible, but actually now that I have the option to listen to more I find myself making excuses to listen more often and getting through more books.
  • The technical problems I had previously (download speeds, disappearing books) have all disappeared, and using PayPal has got round the fact the payments are in dollars.
  • You can save books for later – it doesn’t download them or take up space on your device, but means that I’ve got plenty of options lined up ready for when I finish a title.

The Things I’d improve:

  • Occasionally if I pause the app, when it starts playing again the volume has disappeared.  I’ve only noticed this on my phone, not on PC or iPad, so it’s probably a problem with my hardware, but a simple force-close has always resolved it.
  • The one thing I’d love Scribd to add would be a percentage/progress marker of some kind. Just because I’m a stats nerd and I’d like to be able to update Goodreads with my progress more easily than doing the maths to work out how far into the book I am.

What I’ve read so far (since February 1st):

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb
  • The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
  • Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith
  • The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
  • Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
  • The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan
  • Down Among The Sticks & Bones by Seanan McGuire
  • Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
  • A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (still reading)

The selection isn’t as good as audible, and you have to be careful because some audiobooks are abridged, which I personally avoid.  The books available do change pretty regularly though, so there are a few books on there that have become unavailable since I saved them, but there are other titles I’ve saved because they’ll be available from the 1st of April.  The only potential issue I can see is if you got started on a long series, and later books ended up getting removed before you’d reached the end of the series.  Personally, I haven’t found it an issue yet, because I’ve got a long list of other things I want to listen to, so I’m more than happy to enjoy those and maybe the titles that expire will come back on in future months.

The cost for what you get is excellent value – about the same as 10 months of audible, so as long as I listen to at least one audiobook a month (or more accurately 10 audiobooks a year), I’m better off.  It hasn’t been at all hard to find at least one audiobook a month I wanted to listen to, and I’ve got 30+ audiobooks and another 25 ebooks saved for future months.


The Verdict: Definitely sticking with!

If you’re curious, you can get a two-month trial (no affiliate advantage as far as I can tell, just a nice perk for friends!)

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