Stuff On Sunday: A Scribd subscription


I was excited when my library first introduced e-books earlier this year but I was quite disappointed when I logged on to view what was on offer. They had opted to team up with a small independent company offering a very limited range of titles, the catalogue heavily padded with ‘classics’ available anywhere.

Then a few months ago I was intrigued by an email from Oyster, promoting the first ebook subscription service. Essentially, for a monthly fee of $9.99US, the company offers access to over 10,000 books from a range of publishers to read using their IOS app on a iPad, iPhone of iPod.  I thought the idea had a lot of potential and was eager to trial it but frustratingly, I quickly discovered that the service was only available to the US.

Last week I received an email from Scribd announcing their new subscription service and offering a 30 day free trial. Curious I followed the link to take a look, expecting once again to be ineligible due to geographical restrictions so I was delighted to learn that the Scribd subscription service was available world-wide, admittedly with a caveat, that due to publishing agreements, not all books would be available to be able to read in all countries. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to see what was on offer and signed up for the trial (you need a paypal or credit card account) and started browsing. I honestly wasn’t expecting to find much but I was soon proved wrong. With offerings from publishers like Harper Collins, Thomas Nelson, Kensington and Open Road Media I added dozens of books to “My Library” within a very short space of time.

Though I did run across titles that were not available to me, the selection on offer was very generous across a wide range of genres. As long as the Read Now button wasn’t greyed out I was good to go.


Click to view larger

I added books that interested me to ‘My Library’  as I browsed. Though you can read the books on any web browser, handily Scribd has both an IOS and Android app and you can download the titles to your device so you aren’t dependent on internet access to read them. Readers with web-connected tablets like the Kindle Fire or Nook HD can also use Scribd., however, E-Ink based readers like the Amazon Kindle or Nook Simple Touch are not supported.

You can browse by genre and sub genre, or search for authors or specific titles. I didn’t find any new release titles but still there were plenty of books that caught my eye. I would be surprised if you couldn’t find something that has been on your wishlist for a while, here are just a few of the books I added to my library.

A month to month subscription in $8.99US which represents pretty good value.  Just in time for Christmas, Scribd is also offering a gift option, you can select a 1 month subscription for $10, 3 months for $25, 6 months for $50, or 1 year for $100 – the perfect gift for a reader.

I’d like to know, what you think about e reader subscription services? Have you tried one? Would you try one? Do you think they represent value for money?


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23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bernadetteinoz
    Dec 08, 2013 @ 18:44:20

    I do use a subscription service for my audio books but that’s because the format is so damned expensive to buy any other way and the subscription offers me the only sustainable solution for my need to feed my ears but the eBook model doesn’t grab me yet. I think there are already lots of ways to get eBooks at that price point. But I’m always glad to see more options and models being explored in this brave new world, and it’s nice when geo-restrictions don’t come into play.


  2. bernadetteinoz
    Dec 08, 2013 @ 18:45:27

    Oh and I should have said – my library’s eBook offerings are equally poor – very limited selection and the DRM mechanism in use is moronic – I gave up. I think that was probably the intent of the publishers if not the library system


  3. laurelrainsnow
    Dec 08, 2013 @ 23:47:50

    What an intriguing idea, and how great that, after much research, you found one that works for you.

    I loved The Good Daughters and Home Repair. Enjoy!


  4. notesoflifeuk
    Dec 09, 2013 @ 03:25:07

    I’ve got way too many books in my TBR pile to even think of a subscription service, but I do think it’s a good idea. I know if you’ve got a premium Amazon account (I can’t think of its name), that you can use it like a library or subsciption service too.


  5. Kailana
    Dec 09, 2013 @ 07:27:11

    hm, I hadn’t heard of this before! I have a subscription to Audible because my library has a lousy selection. I am not sure if I would use an e-book one. I might see about a 30 month trial at some point to see what’s available in Canada.


  6. Kate Loveday
    Dec 09, 2013 @ 08:50:24

    An interesting concept. I’ll check it out


  7. shayshortt
    Dec 09, 2013 @ 10:37:35

    I’m always interested in these services in theory, but even though I now live in the US where I am eligible for most of them, I’ve never subscribed. I’m always overflowing with things to read just from my local library (which is large and well-funded and has a pretty great e-book selection) so it seems silly to pay more for a subscription service.


  8. Petrea Burchard
    Dec 09, 2013 @ 14:30:29

    I hadn’t heard of this one before. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!


  9. Sheila (Book Journey)
    Dec 09, 2013 @ 14:41:58

    I just heard about this earlier today! I would not be interested in reading on my computer but I just won a Kobo, I wonder if that is supported? It sounds like a great deal!


  10. Athira
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 05:16:49

    I tried Oyster on a trial subscription last month and liked it quite a bit. They have a good collection too, but at 10 bucks a month, it was too expensive for me. 9 bucks is cheaper but not by a whole lot. I think my problem is I don’t read so many books in a month that I would benefit from such a subscription service.

    I only now heard of Scribd so I will give it a look.


  11. Beth
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 05:47:50

    I’m spoiled — I live in the US, and my local libraries (I’m eligible for two) are among the best in the country, with deep ebook, audio, and print resources. I’m a heavy user of our ebooks as well as paper books (sometimes I have both out at the same time). King County Library System & Seattle Public Library have my appreciation.

    If I moved abroad I’d probably sign up for something like that.


  12. The Australian Bookshelf
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 18:44:20

    I’ll have to check out what my local library has, but I like the sound of the Scribd subscription. Thank you for sharing this info!


  13. lauredhel
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 21:16:29

    Are you able to join any other libraries around you? Here, we all have access to the State library ebook borrowing service, which is Overdrive-based. The selection isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good. And most of the books I’ve recommended so far, they’ve bought, which is awesome.

    But there are also other council libraries which allow out-of-area membership. So perhaps you could look into that, if you don’t have a State system available.


    • Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
      Dec 12, 2013 @ 00:14:20

      I don’t have that option Laura but with impeccable timing my library just announced today that they are changing services and the new one offered through Bolinda offers a much better range, still not great but better than the other.


  14. Trackback: Ebook apps, know thy customer • Liquid State
  15. chinizle
    May 09, 2014 @ 03:16:20

    I use scribd and it’s really awesome. But is there any audio book app as good as scribd available for download, I really would like an audiobook app, thanks.


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