Scribd Review: Is This Online Library Worth It?

Is Scribd worth your time and money in 2022? Let’s find out in this Scribd Review!

I’ve tested almost every audiobook service available, and alongside Audible and Audiobooks Now, Scribd is one of my favorites.

On Scribd, you’ll find ebooks, audiobooks, music sheets, and podcasts so you won’t have to flick between apps like you would with Audible and Kindle.

After signing up for Scribd, I’ve read and listened to some of my favorite authors like David Baldacci and James Patterson. I also started focusing on improving my writing skills, and fortunately, Scribd offers several helpful books covering how to write better.

This got me thinking, is Scribd worth the monthly subscription fee and how does it face off against Kindle, Audible, and Audiobooks Now? Well, this post covers my experience with Scribd, what I like and dislike about it, and if it’s worth your time and money.

What is Scribd?

Scribd review

Jared Friedman, Tikhon Bernstam, and Trip Adler founded Scribd.com while living in San Francisco in March 2007. Their primary goal is to gather the best books in the world so anyone can access them.

Unlike Audible which works on a credit system, you only have to pay a small monthly fee when using Scribd, and you can access the titles on its platform.

This way, you don’t have to worry about running out of credits. It’s similar to Netflix because it’s marketed as an all-you-can-read subscription.

However, Scribd doesn’t just focus on empowering the lives of readers. It’s an open-source platform, meaning any author can publish books, audiobooks, and documents and be rewarded for their hard work.

Who is Scribd For?

After using Scribd to listen to my favorite authors, I noticed it can benefit the lives of:

  • Avid readers
  • Researchers and entrepreneurs
  • Writers

Avid Readers

With physical books, you have to spend more to read the work of your favorite authors, and once you’re done, it’ll sit on your shelf, untouched.

Fortunately, with Scribd, you just need to pay a small monthly subscription, and you can access over 70,000 titles. These titles include books, audiobooks, magazines, documents, research studies, and music sheets.

A standout feature on Scribd is its magazine collection. If you’re a fan of Bloomberg, New York Magazine, or Mother Jones but find the subscription expensive, consider Scribd. The monthly plan is often more affordable than these magazine subscriptions.

Scribd for their avid readers
A standout feature on Scribd is its magazine collection

Researchers and Entrepreneurs

On Scribd, you can access studies and documents in the medical, legal, and business sectors. This is super helpful if you’re a researcher because you can find hundreds of research papers on one app. There’s no need to scour the web looking for a specific study.

These documents are also valuable to entrepreneurs. They cover developing a business plan, bootstrapping your startup, and coming up with creative business ideas.

Scribd for researchers and entrepreneurs
On Scribd, you can access studies and documents in the medical, legal, and business sectors

One of my favorite business documents is The Startup Guide by Ryan Allis. He goes over financial projections, what questions you need to answer when presenting your startup to investors, and legally incorporating your company.

So if you’re a researcher or entrepreneur looking for information that you won’t find when doing a simple Google search, then Scribd is for you.

Writers

As a writer, Scribd helped me create better content because it offers hundreds of non-fiction books that cover every type of writing, like novels, articles, ads, and even poetry. The authors share exercises and techniques on how to improve. 

It almost reminds me of Masterclass and CreativeLive because the writing knowledge shared is invaluable.

Scribd for writers
Scribd helped me create better content because it offers hundreds of non-fiction books

What makes Scribd unique is that anyone can upload a book, so you’ll find unfamiliar nuggets of information. Some of my favorite writing books on Scribd includes:

  • My Weird Writing Tips by Dan Gutman
  • Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
  • The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg

But you won’t just benefit from the books on Scribd. It hosts several podcasts that share practical writing tips. Here are some podcasts that’ll help you write better:

  • Write Now by Sarah Werner
  • The Writer Files by Kelton Reid
  • The Writing University

But how does Scribd work?

How Does it Work?

Signing up for a Scribd account is straightforward. It has a simple interface that’s easy to navigate. If you’re downloading the app on Android, go to the Play Store or the Apple App Store for iOS users. 

Once you’ve downloaded the Scribd app, simply sign up for an account using Google or Facebook.

The last step is entering your credit card information. Scribd offers a 30-day free trial, so they won’t debit your account until that 30 days is over. If you feel like the platform isn’t for you, simply head over to the “Account” tab, cancel your plan, and Scribd won’t charge anything.

After you’ve entered your credit card information, you can browse the library and search for your favorite novels. Here, you’ll also find podcasts, sheet music, magazine articles, and research papers.

How does Scribd work?
Scribd offers a 30-day free trial, so they won’t debit your account until that 30 days is over

Now that we know how Scribd works, let’s put the platform through set criteria to see if it’s worth the monthly subscription.

Library of Books Available

The most significant factor to consider when reviewing an ebook and audiobook platform is the selection of material available. When I first signed up to Scribd, I noticed it offers a decent amount of variety in books, podcasts, and magazines.

But many users complained that Scribd doesn’t have new releases. It usually takes a few months before the platform offers it. 

So if you’re following a specific author like Salman Rushdie or Margaret Atwood and waiting for their new novels to be released, Scribd might not be a good option. Instead, opt for Amazon Books or Audible since it offers newly released bestsellers.

However, I’m not looking for new books specifically, so I was quite impressed by the selection.

Accessibility

One of my favorite benefits of Scribd is that you can use it on your iOS, Android, Macbook, or Windows device. This way, you can read or listen to audiobooks when commuting to work or waiting for your children at school.

It also syncs your account on multiple devices. So it’ll update on your laptop if you read 50 pages of a book on your phone. This feature is helpful because you won’t have to skip through pages looking for where you ended.

But if you don’t feel like reading entire books, consider listening to snapshots. Snapshots are summaries of popular books, and they teach everything you’ll learn in a book without reading it. This is a practical option if you’re on the go because it’s almost like reading an entire book within 10 minutes.

Scribd accessibility
Snapshots are summaries of popular books

Some of my favorite snapshots are:

  • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
  • The Future of Work by Darrell M. West
  • The Achievement Habit by Bernard Roth

Pricing

Scribd is an affordable subscription service but I’d like them to offer more flexibility to subscribers.

When signing up for a Scribd subscription, you’ll pay $9.95 per month. Unfortunately, Scribd doesn’t offer a yearly or once-off fee like other audiobook platforms. 

I’d like to see them offer different subscriptions for different people. For example, they could have a subscription option for those who want to read ebooks without listening to audiobooks and vice versa. They could also have an all-access magazine subscription for magazine readers who aren’t big fans of audiobooks. 

However, Scribd is far cheaper than Audible and Audiobooks Now. Audible will set you back $14.95 for a monthly subscription while Audiobooks Now costs $4.99 per month, plus you’ll have to pay around $10 per book.

Additional Features

Although Scribd offers a large platform of valuable content, I noticed a few standout features that helped empower my life as a writer.

Scribd is an All-In-One Tool

With other audiobook platforms like Kindle Unlimited and Audible, you’ll need to click between apps if you want to listen to an audiobook or read an ebook. Also, these platforms don’t offer an expansive library of magazines and documents, so you’ll need another subscription for that.

But what I like about Scribd is that it offers all these features in one app. So you don’t have to log into each platform individually to read or listen to content.

You Can Learn Quickly with Snapshots

Most people carefully choose which books to read because it requires a lot of time. However, Scribd came up with a clever way around this problem.

With Scribd, you can listen to book summaries that are only around 10 to 15 minutes long. These snapshots are also detailed and cover all the main talking points in a book. So if you want to increase your knowledge library without spending hours reading, then these snapshots are the answer.

Areas of Improvement

This tool allows you to follow your favorite authors while learning new skills. But there are a few areas I’d like the founders to focus on. The biggest issue is transparency.

It’s Not Really Unlimited

Scribd is marketed as a platform that offers unlimited titles for just a small monthly fee. But when using the mobile app, I noticed that after I bookmark a large number of books, the app will say “Available Soon” even if the book was available before.

According to its website, this means that once your subscription renews, your library will automatically refresh, and you’ll be able to choose from its entire library again.

So Scribd isn’t unlimited. A subscription can’t be unlimited when it prevents users from listening to titles until their subscription renews.

I don’t have a problem with this since it’s a way of ensuring authors are compensated. However, it’s strange that Scribd markets its platform as unlimited when it has limits.

My Testing Criteria

When testing and reviewing Scribd, I used the following criteria to see if it’s a valuable platform for writers, readers, researchers, and entrepreneurs:

  • Variety of books available
  • Flexibility
  • Pricing
  • Features
  • Compatibility
  • Transparency

Scribd meets all these criteria except transparency.  You get access to over 70,000 books. The platform is available on all devices and offers helpful features like snapshots that allow you to listen to a detailed book summary within minutes.

However, I’d like Scribd to stop marketing itself as an unlimited platform because it’ll prevent you from reading or listening to books if you’ve gone over a certain threshold. The app will say “Available Soon,” and you can only access it after your subscription is renewed.

Why Trust Us?

I’ve been using Scribd for a few months now since it allows you to access titles like books, audiobooks, research papers, and music sheets. Except for some minor problems, I like the overall value proposition of Scribd and will continue using it in the future.

When I first used Scribd, I searched for authors like Salman Rushdie and David Baldacci and saved a few of their books. I’ll definitely catch up on their work when trying to fall asleep or whenever I have free time.

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Author

  • Yaseen is a personal trainer turned professional writer and he’s obsessed with everything health, fitness, and business-related. If he isn’t at the gym, you can find him playing video games or spending time with friends and family.

  • Library of Books Available:
  • Accessibility
  • Pricing
  • Additional features
4.25

Scribd Review: The Bottom Line

Online platforms like Scribd allow you to follow your authors while learning writing, marketing, and entrepreneurship skills. Scribd is unique because it offers ebooks, audiobooks, music sheets, podcasts, magazines, and research papers in one platform. In short, Scribd is a practical option for you if you’re looking for an affordable app where you can consume different types of content while learning new skills.

Pros

  • You get access to a 30-day trial
  • It offers different types of content like sheet music and research papers
  • The snapshots allow you to learn on the go
  • You can use it on up to four devices
  • It’s super easy to navigate

Cons

  • You can’t get a free trial without providing credit card information
  • Scribd doesn’t offer unlimited access
  • You can’t hide categories from search results
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