Ease Of Use
Scribd – An Online Library Service That’s Growing
The internet has dramatically changed the way we read books. While print is still the most popular book format, and there are diehard e-book lovers who refuse to stop reading hardcopy books, the popularity of digital books and audiobooks is hard to deny.
Take, for instance, these figures – 266 million e-books sold in 2017, and sales revenues in the U.S alone rose to $1.02bn between 2017 and 2018.
Amazon Kindle Unlimited is undoubtedly at the epicenter of this digital explosion and enjoys a sizeable market share. But did you know that there are other excellent alternatives online? One of the most popular is Scribd.
In this detailed Scribd review, you’ll learn everything there is to know about this online library platform to get you started. By the end of this guide, you should be able to decide whether it’s worth your time or not.
What is Scribd?
“The Netflix for Books”
This phrase is unapologetically thrown in your face every time you look up Scribd on the internet.
Scribd is like Netflix, but for books. It is a subscription-based digital library that offers its members access to millions of e-books and audiobooks for only $8.99 per month.
According to company statistics, Scribd draws its collection of e-books from over 1,000 publishers including powerhouses such as Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins and Simon and Schuster
The company was founded in 2007 by Trip Adler and Jared Friedman and now boasts over 40 million titles and 80 million monthly readers worldwide.
How Does Scribd Work?
Scribd capitalizes on the same model as the streaming giant Netflix – to give its users access to millions of e-books and audiobooks for a small monthly fee.
You can sign up for a 30-day free trial, after which you purchase a monthly membership, and can access the site and app via mobile devices or your computer.
After creating an account, log in and search for an e-book or magazine you’d like to read.
Well, yes, but not quite. New users may have trouble finding their favorite books.
How to Find and Read a Book on Scribd
You can find a book on Scribd in one of two ways: searching or exploring.
• Click or tap the search bar
• Type the Book’s Title or Author name and start searching
• Use the filter feature to arrive at a particular category, for example, “Books,” “Articles,” or “Audiobooks.”
• After choosing your preferred category, you can narrow it down further to specific topics like “Romance” or “Non-fiction.”
If you’re not sure what you want to read and are looking for suggestions, use the “exploring” tool to zero in on specific recommendations.
After finding the book you want to read, simply tap or click on it to get started.
Here are some tips to get you reading smoothly:
• To move from one page to another, swipe or tap on the edge of the screen
• To see the menu, tap the center of your device’s screen
• You can add comments or notes by highlighting text
• Tap on images to zoom in on them for more precise viewing
• You can also customize text sizes and styles to your liking and choose sepia or day or night mode to change screen brightness.
Book Selection – Does Scribd Offer Unlimited Access to Books?
Scribd promises access to a vast selection of books, although some users have reported missing their favorite titles.
Generally, the Scribd database houses more than 1 million titles which include:
• 500,000 books
• 45,000 audiobooks
• 10,000 comics
If you don’t find a specific text, you can request Scribd to add it for you. There is undoubtedly an impressive collection in this online library, and the chances of you missing out on popular topics are slim to none.
But how much does it all cost?
Pricing: The Cost of Using Scribd
Scribd charges a monthly fee of $8.99, but there is an initial 30-day free trial.
Remember that you can cancel your monthly subscription at any time, so you don’t have to worry if you grow tired of it in the future. The one-month free trial period gives you room to explore the platform, try out the products, and decide on whether you want to continue using the service or if instead, you’d like to pass. There are no penalties or fees if you choose to cancel your subscription.
This feature may confuse some people into thinking that the service is free – it’s not. You’ll have to enter your payment information as you’re signing up for the service. If you want unlimited access to their vast resources, you will have to pay the subscription fee.
Compared to a plethora of fantastic books and article titles at your disposal, the fee is minimal. Scribd is one of the most affordable digital book platforms for most readers on the internet today.
For instance, Audible one of the popular alternatives for audiobooks charges a monthly price of $14.95 while its sister site Amazon Kindle Unlimited charges $9.99 per month. Amazon owns both Amazon Kindle Unlimited and Audible, but Audible offers audiobooks only.
Scribd partnered with the New York Times to offer what is known as an ‘Essential Student Bundle.’
This exclusive discount is for students who subscribe to their premium offer. After verifying that you’re a student through SheerID, Scribd charges you a one-time fee of $22.99, which will be valid for four months. That’s roughly $1.87 per week or $4.99 per month – undeniably great value for money.
Scribd & Scribd App – Setup and Design
You can sign up to start using Scribd with either an email address or via Facebook. On the homepage is a list of books you have read recently and a few recommendations based on your reading habits. You can browse books by genre – such as Romance, Horror, Humor, and Science Fiction.
While the homepage is bland, the browse section keeps you engaged as its colorful and well laid out.
The Scribd app has a simple and user-friendly and engaging interface, and is, as it should be, more comfortable to use than the website. You can either browse and read books on the app or upload one of your own.
The Scribd app also lets you browse and read free uploaded documents like how-to manuals, research papers, and even court documents. However, before you access the app, you must first sign up for a Scribd account.
The app is easy to navigate and shows you your most recently read items as well as recommendations based on your previous book picks. Download it from Google Play Store or the App Store for Android and iOS devices, respectively.
Is Scribd Safe and Legit?
Scribd has been in existence for 13 years now and has millions of users that regularly use its platform.
The member numbers alone show that it is a reputable company with a legit business model. However, like any other real business, not everyone will be satisfied with their services, and so it’s common to across a few complaints from subscribers.
These complaints are clear to see online – Scribd has a poor F rating on the Better Business Bureau and a 1.3-star rating from 428 user reviews on Trust Pilot.
However, despite these poor reviews, you don’t get to 80 million monthly subscribers if you are a scam or unsafe to use.
Scribd – The Pros and Cons
Using Scribd has its ups and downs. Below are some of them:
• You can download books for offline reading
• Scribd is affordable compared to similar services
• Generous 30-day free trial before paying for a premium membership
• Huge collection of books, magazines, articles, documents, and audiobooks
• User-friendly app and website
• It can be accessed using your PC desktop, laptop, and mobile devices
• Student discounts are available
• Some users report being charged the monthly fee even after canceling the subscription
• Some major titles are missing in the library
• You are required to provide your credit card info even with the free trial
Bottom Line: Is Scribd Worth Your Time?
People have had different experiences using Scribd so, the question of whether it is worth it or not is subjective.
Looking at the numbers discussed in this Scribd review, it would be imprudent not to try this digital library. If you’re a bookworm or love listening to audiobooks, there is a chance you’ll find something you love using Scribd.
With a monthly subscription fee in place, it only makes sense to join if you’re a voracious reader. Otherwise, if you read one or two books in a month at most, it will be pretty much a waste of money.
The best thing, however, is to take advantage of the free trial version and decide for yourself. Should you wish to try the service, download the Scribd app on Google Play Store or the App Store, or visit the website to sign-up.