Is Scribd Worth It? An In-Depth Scribd Review 2019

By audiobookhoarder | Audiobook Service Reviews

Sep 01

When it comes to making digital decisions, the seemingly limitless options can be overwhelming. This leads to becoming crippled by the choices, and often results in nothing being done at all.

Digital reading options are one of those categories with options for days. With platforms like Audible, Kindle, and public library options such as Hoopla, it’s hard to know which one will provide what you’re looking for.

Here, we’re providing an in-depth Scribd review more thorough than any other Scribd reviews you may see online. After finishing this, you should be able to answer for yourself the question, “Is Scribd Worth It?”

What Is Scribd? What Makes It Great?

The Scribd app is often referred to by fans as the “Netflix of books” as it allows users to read books digitally via e-book or audiobook downloads. They offer an unlimited monthly subscription, allowing members to read or listen to as many books as they’d like each month. At the low cost of $8.99 per month, you have full access.

With a subscription, you get access to their full range of e-books, audiobooks, sheet music, periodicals, and more. This collection is full of hundreds of thousands of titles, with more constantly being added. To that point, they love to receive requests from users about what new content they would like to see added to the app. Sometimes they use these recommendations when they decide what new material to bring in.

Every month, the team at Scribd makes a recommended list of books curated by the experts behind the app. This gives a fresh selection of top books for subscribers to choose from, but as usual the rest of the collection is always available.

The mission of Scribd is to change the way the world reads. They approach the culture of reading from a modern standpoint, understanding how people are getting their information nowadays and bringing the best in journalism and literature straight to readers in that same method: via their electronics.

How Did Scribd Get Here?

Scribd began as a publishing platform in 2007 when it began with the aim to allow anyone, anywhere, to share their ideas with the world online. Six years later in 2013, Scribd created their first subscription service to allow readers monthly access to all their books at one simple flat rate. Then they began incorporating audio books, sheet music, magazines, and newspaper articles, adding to their collection of offerings and increasing their range.

What’s Scribd’s Current Standing?

At their current place, Scribd has over 700,000 monthly subscribers who have spent over 150 million hours reading through the app. Their founder has been listed in many lists of young accomplished entrepreneurs, including Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Inc’s 35 Under 35 and TIME’s Tech Pioneers, just to name a few.

Why – Off the Bat – Scribd Is Better

Before even diving in deep to the features of Scribd and other Audible alternatives, Scribd already presents itself as a better value. Why? Because you can try the first month entirely free, reading or listening to as much content as you please for the entire month, with no obligation to purchase anything after that. This allows you to test it out with no strings attached up front.

No other company has an offer similar to this. That’s groundbreaking! While, theoretically, you could make the most out of your first 30-day period, reading and listening to everything possible and not needing to continue the service after that, you likely won’t want to.

After the first month, you’ll be hooked! For the low cost of only $8.99 per month, having the ability to essentially read anything you want is absolutely unrivaled by other platforms.

The closest competitor to this offering is Audible, with a $15/month fee for one book download per month. When you compare that to what Scribd is offering, it doesn’t even come close. Spending fifteen dollars each month for one single book sounds ridiculous when compared to having many books or pieces of literature all for $9.

The Disruptor

It’s a stereotype that millennials like to disrupt things. They don’t go with the flow – they find a better flow. Scribd is a great example of this notion in action.

This new player is absolutely disrupting the digital reading space, with over 1 million titles offered to subscribers and an almost unbeatable price.

There’s a strong feeling that Scribd is about to become a much bigger name than they are currently, challenging the larger platforms of Audible and Kindle as they grow in power and readership.

What Do Users Have to Say?

The best information about a product always comes from the consumer themselves. In doing some research on what Scribd members have to say about the service, here are some key takeaways:

  • The limitless options make reading more attractive – users are reading more than they ever have before
  • The flat monthly fee is an absolute no-brainer
  • After trying the other options, Scribd came out on top
  • Doesn’t suck the battery life out of your devices when using the app
  • Color settings allow you to read in low light with ease and without too much disruption
  • The sheet music has brought out the inner musician in many readers
  • It’s a subscription that consumers can count on, and want to keep for a long time

Scribd Offerings – Book Titles

A digital library of books is mysterious and pretty worthless unless you know what is actually in the inventory. If it’s full of untouched titles or academic-only subjects, that inventory becomes obsolete to the average reader. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the literature offerings of Scribd and their massive inventory.

Now, one thing that Scribd is unable to compete with at the moment is a physical inventory of books. Some readers will always be physical readers -- they like the smell of paper, the feel of the pages between their fingers, dog-earring a page down to hold the place, and highlighting or underlining passages that really left an impact.

For that kind of inventory, Amazon is hands-down the place to go. Their selection is unbeatable, and their prices are often lower than what you could find in-store. Because of the insane sales they drive, they will likely always have the best selection of both hardcover and paperback titles from the best publishing houses.

Some publishing houses even have special deals with Amazon to sell their first batch of books exclusively with the online monster retailer. This allows them to distribute quickly, continuously, and at the highest price point they can get.

If new, physical books is what a reader wants, Amazon is the place to go. We can’t argue with that.

However, when the reader begins to switch to the digital route, Amazon gets in a bit of hot water. Digital and audiobooks are listened to or read on smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Amazon is trying to keep a stronghold on this realm, with the acquisition of Audible and their release of the Kindle Unlimited service, but they’ve got strong competition.

Their main challenger is Scribd. See, as we mentioned before, Scribd has an inventory of 1 million titles. Could you read a whole million books in your lifetime? Probably not. That number gives more of a sense of how much choice you have rather than how many titles you will actually read.

On the other hand, Audible offers a collection of 1 million - 2 million titles. At that point, the amount of inventory almost becomes futile. There are already too many titles to possibly read. All you need is a nice selection to pick through.

With the vague difference in inventory between the two applications but the strong difference in price and offering (remember that Scribd has 1 million titles, unlimited, at about $9 per month while Audible has 1-2 million titles, one book per month, at about $15 per month), the answer almost feels too good to be true. In this one-on-one comparison, there’s no question of is Scribd worth it.

While Audible is still a worthy contender, they must understand the advantage Scribd has over them in order to remain competitive.

 The truth is that the question of, “Who is better?” is not answered by the number of books offered. No, it’s answered by the quality of the selection. It’s within this that Scribd has a strong advantage over other options, giving Amazon, Audible, and Kindle a run for their money

A Stand-Out Offer

Where does Scribd really stand out against the competition? In audiobooks, magazines, and newspapers, that’s where.

Often times with other platforms, what’s available in the audiobook department is less impressive than physical or e-book categories. This can be a real bummer for book listeners, as they want the same quality offered to them as well.

Scribd’s selection of audiobooks will wow any true listener. They’ve got New York Times best sellers, classics, big-name biographies and autobiographies, and so much more. While their e-book selection is truly expansive and current, their audiobooks, magazines, and news articles provide a unique value to Scribd subscribers.

No longer will you have to wait weeks and weeks for that one book to reach the audiobook shelves! Scribd keeps their selection up-to-date, with new titles up on their app as soon as they’re out in bookstores.

Audiobooks

Scribd’s inventory of audiobooks is equal to or better than Audible’s collection. Considering they’re such a new kid on the block giving super-giant Amazon a run for its money, that’s impressive.

While Amazon often has first-rights deals to sell physical books, that’s not the case with the audio versions. Yep, Scribd gets the audio versions the day they are released. Amazon has no upper hand there.

Consider, for this example, a highly-anticipated memoir. It’s released on the first of a month, and you have access at the same time to the same title on both Audible and Scribd. With Audible, you would be able to download and listen to that book within the first day. You’re then finished with your book on the first day of the month, and left to count down the days until the next month so you can pick out a new title.

On Scribd, you’d download and listen to the same book on that first day, finish it, and begin downloading your next read of the month. You could keep repeating this pattern for the whole 30 days, listening to a full title each day.

With Audible, you listened to one great book that month, and you paid $15.

With Scribd, you listened to that same great book (plus 29 more), and you only paid $9.

That difference seems too good to be true, but it’s not. For almost half the price of Audible, you get as many titles as you want each month.

Magazines, But Digital

We see every day how more and more magazines are opting to go digital. They realize that their readers are getting their news via websites, not a news stand at the grocery store. So, they’re bringing their articles and journalism to the devices of those readers.

Scribd recognized this shift and brought magazines into their inventory, currently offer 124 titles. These magazines are big names like People, Time, Entrepreneur, Fortune, and the ESPN Magazine, just to name a few.

While their physical forms might be a dying breed, the digital space for magazines is just being expanded. While you might not choose to spend an extra $4 on a magazine in the store, when they’re offered in an unlimited capacity in addition to books and news for just $9/month, it’s hard to resist.

Here is where Scribd really ups their value proposition. This is something that no other provider has been able to offer yet. And without adding an extra fee for magazine access, they really sell the product here.

A Deep Dive into Pricing

In order to get a clearer picture of just how great Scribd’s pricing is, first we need to compare it to its biggest competitor, Audible.

Something we’ve covered in this Scribd review but that is covered-up in Audible’s pricing plan information on their website, is the fact that you only get to download one book per month with their basic subscription plan.

Since audiobooks are often used to pass time during things like commuting, exercise, or traveling, it’s easy to blow through one audiobook in just a couple short days. And then, what are you to do after your book of the month is finished? If you’re an Audible subscriber, you must wait until the new month rolls over.

Audible covers this up by showing that you get “one credit” per month, without actually explaining that one credit = one book. The only way to get more credits once your subscription has begun is to spend more money.

They also have annual plans, where you pay either $150 or $230 up front to get either 12 or 24 reading credits, respectively. You have access to all the credits at once, unlike the monthly plan where it works out to one credit per month. Even still, 12 books can be gone through within a month or two and then you must purchase more credits to keep reading or listening for the rest of your year.

These plans might seem decent to a prospective customer until they are compared with Scribd’s plans. In comparison, Audible’s prices seem absolutely absurd against Scribd’s $9/month.

The one upside to Audible that Scribd doesn’t offer is that you get to keep each book you download. Scribd is much more like Spotify in this way in that you don’t own any of the content you access, but you’re streaming it for the time being. But because your downloads are always unlimited, you can keep re-downloading titles if you want to reread or relisten them.

Because of this advantage, users don’t really care whether or not they own the content, as long as they have continuous access to them and the ability to always find new content.

Back to Audible, let’s explore what that one download credit really gets you. The average length of time it takes to finish an audiobook is about 10 hours. So, you get 10 hours of listening time each month. If you listen to a book in the car on your daily commute of 30 minutes each way, you’re listening to an hour each day. When commuting 5 days a week, you’ll finish your book in two work weeks. Or, if you have a long flight, you may finish it in one sitting. After that, the waiting game begins for the new month to roll over.

What if you decide you made a wrong decision with your one book of the month? Audible does allow one refund each month. They only offer one chance, however, so your second pick better be the one.

With Scribd, that pressure is gone. You’re allowed to make a decision and change your mind as many times as you’d like. While Amazon’s Audible does have pretty great customer support for their refunds, it’s still much simpler to just pick another title and instantly download it.

Amazon Customers Finding a New Loyalty?

Even lifetime Amazon loyalists have made the switch to Scribd because of their clear upper hand in the digital/audiobook space.

While Amazon once had the strong hold on this niche, there’s now more and better competition that’s giving customers more options.

People who devour books like they are going out of style are choosing Scribd over Amazon time and time again because the value proposition and price comparison makes the decision a no-brainer.

For paperbacks, Amazon still rules, but for something digital, Scribd is tightening its grip.

Signing Up for Scribd

Scribd offers a 30-day free trial, which is quick and easy to sign up for. If you have a Facebook account, signing up is even easier! Either way, it’s a simple process, but we’ll walk you through it anyway.

  1. Find the sign-up page for the 30-day free trial
  2. Sign up with Google or Facebook, or you can simply use their email form to sign up
  3. Add in your credit card information (This is standard, as the subscription begins after the first month, but you can always cancel before the first fee is drafted.)
  4. Begin downloading, reading, listening, and enjoying

The sign-up process for Audible isn’t any harder, but the withdrawal to your bank account once the free trial expires will be much nicer (read: cheaper) from Scribd.

If you’re not happy with the Scribd service during the first trial month, simply discontinue your subscription before the first month ends, and you’ll never be charged for anything. Everything you read during your trial period is their treat.

Scribd Review 2019 Wrap Up

In this Scribd review for 2019, we covered all the benefits it boasts against Amazon’s competitor service, Audible.

This millennial brand is disrupting the digital reading space by offering a Netflix-like streaming service that offers unlimited reads or listens each month for one flat rate of just $8.99.

They have a competitive inventory, immediate availability, no limits, and content that can’t be found on any other similar platform.

Their price is almost half the amount of most competitors, giving it an advantage before quality and inventory is even considered.

With their free trial, a prospective customer can use the app for a whole month, reading and listening to as much magazine, newspaper, or book content as they please without paying a dime.

While Audible may come with a big name like Amazon to back it up, Scribd has a quality and depth of offerings that is unmatched by any other brand on the market.

Signing up to try the app is easy, and it allows access to millions of titles. After a month of enjoying Scribd, you’re sure to become a loyal member.

Sign up for a Scribd free trial today and begin your journey into the depths of literature that are now all available on your digital devices.

   

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