For those who haven’t heard of it, Scribd is a subscription-based e-book and audiobook website (similar to Netflix, but for books). I recently tried it on a 60-day free trial basis, and I’m excited to share my thoughts on it today!!
I had been antsy for months to try out Scribd to listen to a few audiobooks that my library either didn’t have or for which there was a long waitlist. I rely heavily on audiobooks to get through my to-be-read (TBR) list, and sometimes it takes a while to get a new release from the library. I had kept the idea of trying a Scribd trial in the back of my mind until I knew there were a few audiobooks I really wanted to prioritize. It’s easy to sign up for the free trial; here’s a link to try it free for 60 days
(affiliate link). If you’re a pretty serious reader or you have a certain book in mind that you want to read or listen to, you can check if Scribd has that book first before doing the trial. They do have A LOT of books and audiobooks, including brand-new releases, but they don’t have every book like Kindle or Audible does.
I immediately logged into the website and downloaded the Scribd
app to my phone. I found the app to be very user-friendly but I preferred to do my browsing on the website. It’s easy to search for books and browse through popular titles. You can stream the ebooks or audiobooks or download them to your device to listen to offline. It seems like they have more popular audiobooks than e-books, for instance, if you are looking for a new release, it seems to me that Scribd is more likely to have it in audiobook format than e-book format which is something to consider if you don’t prefer audiobooks. In my trial, I used Scribd almost exclusively to consume audiobooks, so this worked great for me, but I also read about 5 e-books and I found the formatting just fine on those.
How does Scribd compare to other audiobook/e-book apps?
I subscribed to Audible for a couple of years, and I liked it overall. What really bothered me about Audible (and this is totally a “me” thing and would not apply to everyone) is that I felt extremely pressured and stressed to spend my monthly credit on a book that I could not get elsewhere. For instance, if there was an audiobook I really wanted to listen to, but it was available at my library within a month or two, I did not feel like I could spend $15 on it just so that I could own it without even knowing yet if I liked the book. This resulted in me piling up credits and then spending them on children’s books or classics that were well performed because I knew I might re-listen to those or at least share them with my family. It was actually stressful for me because I don’t typically spend money on books unless I know I love them and need to own them to either share with other people or re-read myself. Many others have no problem spending $15/month on an audiobook and that is totally fair. Audible is superior in that it has almost every audiobook ever made, and various versions of the audiobooks as well. Plus, with Audible, you do get to keep your book forever, and that isn’t the case with Scribd unless you keep your subscription forever. That’s just something to consider. If you prefer, like me, to get the majority of your audiobooks from the library, then I think Scribd is a great addition to library borrowing. It is less expensive per month than Audible (8.99 vs. 14.99) and you can get theoretically listen to/read more than one audiobook/e-book over that period of that time, so the price per book actually goes down even more.
One downside to Scribd that I had heard about in a few online groups and experienced myself during my trial period is that it isn’t TRULY
unlimited. If you are a voracious reader or listener, you will find your availability limited after several audiobooks per month. This can be extremely frustrating because it doesn’t quite seem easy to tell when the books are going to be “waitlisted” for you. Basically, you can read or listen to several “new release” audiobooks or e-books but if you go through too many in about a week or two, all of a sudden a note will appear in the app that those books aren’t available to you until your next billing cycle. This has something to do with licensing and it can be super frustrating if you are in the middle of a book that you then can’t finish for another few weeks. This likely won’t happen to you if you only get through 1-2 audiobooks or 1-2 e-books per month – the website states that it only happens if you are a “voracious” reader. The unexpected element of it could drive people crazy though, I get that.
Also, when the books you’ve saved “disappear” and aren’t available until the next month, there are still LOTS of backlist titles you can read. Personally, I think I got through 5 audiobooks the first month before anything became limited and 6 audiobooks and 2 e-books the next month. I don’t see this being an issue if you really prioritize the books you desperately want to read/listen to first and the rest are just gravy on top of that. It’s definitely good to know up-front though and I know that I relied on the library waitlist for a couple of books instead of listening through Scribd just so I could guarantee I’d have access to the Scribd books not available at my library if that makes sense. I’ve made a little chart here that compares Scribd to other e-book/audiobook apps and maybe it lays it out in a more clear way:
Anyway…for $8.99 a month, unless you like to re-read audiobooks or buy books for your shelf, I think Scribd can really easily supplement your access to audiobooks and e-books. The major downside is that it doesn’t have every book and it IS limited after about 5-6 books (this seems to be less so for children’s books, from what I’ve noticed). I definitely personally find it to be a better deal than Audible. I enjoy using my library for almost everything but I like having Scribd for those books that my library doesn’t get and for instant access to new releases. I will definitely pay for this in the future. If this sounds like something you want to try, you should take advantage of this link I have for a 60-day free trial!! I got through about 10-15 books during my 60-day trial so it was definitely worth it to me!!
Here are over 25 titles on Scribd to get you started!!! City of Girls by Elizabeth GilbertBecoming by Michelle ObamaDaisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (plus all of her other books too) The Island of Sea Women by Lisa SeeRed, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuistonThree Women by Lisa TaddeoThe Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather MorrisThe Hating Game & 99 Percent Mine by Sally ThorneI Miss you When I Blink by Mary Laura PhilpottSarah J Maas’ books (e-books and audiobooks) which always have a long hold line at my library Peace like a River by Leif EngerLand of Stories by Chris ColferThe Book Scavenger series by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (excellent on audio) JoJo Moyes’ books (all of them from what I can see) The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson which was cute Outer Order, Inner Calm & Gretchen Rubin’s other books (I still need to read Happier at Home!!) Atomic Habits by James Clear which I rave about hereThe Nickel Boys by Colson WhiteheadAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr which was fantastic on audio Louise Penny’s last few books which I obviously adore beyond measure The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda HolmesThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak– also excellent on audio Brene Brown’s booksOur Stop by Laura Jane Williams which I am so excited to read! A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles which is always super popular at my library too (Rules of Civility is on there too) The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker Christina Lauren’s books (most of them) How to Walk Away by Katherine Center Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller which I am hoping to try again someday Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensTo All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (trilogy) Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth KeaneThe Red Rising Saga by Pierce Brown on audio (on my tbr still! I’ve only read the first one!) Some of Fredrik Backman’s excellent books All of Riley Sager’s books which might not be for me…lol Let me know if you decide to try this website! I’d be super curious to hear others’ experiences with it!!! I’ll be back tomorrow for Show Us Your Books with Steph and Jana 🙂
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