Launched in March 2007, Scribd was the first publishing platform, inspiring the entire world to quickly and easily share their thoughts and ideas. Six years later, Scribd transformed into the first reading subscription service, completely changing the reading industry. By offering one flat fee for monthly access to an extensive book library for all its readers, Scribd pushed the limits and found a new way to keep reading alive in the 21st century.
Today, it has over 1,000,000 paying subscribers, 100,000,000 unique visitors a month, and 150 million hours of reading. If you want to know more about the leading reading platform, check out our in-depth Scribd review. We will cover all the strengths and weaknesses of the platform, available features, and pricing plans. We will also compare Scribd to its biggest competitors and discover how both long-term and short-term customers review it.
Pros & Cons
$9.99 (+tax where applicable)/month
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Scribd Review 2022: The “Netflix of Books” for Binge Readers
Before Scribd had introduced their subscription-based reading, everyone bought books and audiobooks individually. The only way to read a book was to own it. Since this practice can get quite expensive, especially for passionate readers, not everyone could afford it. This led to reading books losing its momentum.
That said, by offering one affordable flat fee, Scribd reached out to all binge readers and opened up a new world for them. All Scribd reviews unanimously confirm this.
Based on the available data, Scribd’s library consists of titles from over 1,000 publishers, including some major brands such as HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster, and Macmillan. It already has hundreds of thousands of books and audiobooks available, and that number is constantly being updated.
The only weakness of subscription-based reading is that you don’t own the books you read. Still, with the offline reading feature, you can download your favorites and reread them as many times as you want, even when you don’t have a connection to the internet.
Scribd Features, Courses, and Materials
We are continuing our Scribd review with all the features the platform offers. Of course, you already know that Scribd has a plethora of books and audiobooks, but did you know that it also has magazines, podcasts, sheet music, and documents in its archives? So, let’s dive deeper into Scribd’s features and discover all its secrets.
Scribd’s book library contains hundreds of thousands of books, and it continues to grow every single day. There are many classics and best-selling books available, so readers have an impressive library to choose from. With the affordable Scribd subscription, you can read as many books as you want during the month to make things even better. Unlike its alternatives that offer a limited number of titles, Scribd offers unlimited access to its library.
Note that you don’t own the books you have downloaded and read via Scribd, so you will lose access to them if you cancel your subscription. In fact, you may have unlimited access to Scribd’s library, but only while you are subscribed to Scribd.
Let’s move on to the Scribd audiobooks review. Same as with its books library, audiobooks titles are growing by the minute. It may not have as impressive a library as Audible, its biggest competitor, but it’s slowly gaining on it. The unlimited access rule applies here as well, so you will be able to listen to as many audiobooks as you want during the month.
The only downside to Scribd is that once you decide to cancel your subscription, you will lose access to all audiobooks. But this is a small price to pay to listen to so many audiobooks for an affordable price.
Besides books and audiobooks, the Scribd library also includes magazines. Unfortunately, this interesting feature is rarely seen with its alternatives.
Some of the most popular magazines available for reading through Scribd are Time, The Atlantic, People, Entertainment Weekly, Inc., and many more. In addition, you can choose from many categories, from art and business, lifestyle, and pets, to science and technology.
Access to the magazine stand is unlimited and included in the monthly reading subscription fee.
Another area where Scribd excels as a reading and listening platform is its podcasts library. Not many alternatives can say the same, and Scribd reviews confirm this. The more we learn about the service, the more we realize that it truly can offer a little something to everyone.
We browsed through Scribd’s podcast library, and even though it’s not the biggest one on the internet, it includes some of the most popular ones such as TED Talks Daily, The Daily, Crime Junkie, LeVar Burton Reads, and many more.
Not many people know this, but the Scribd subscription also offers sheet music for all musicians out there. It has an impressive sheet music library that includes both classics and new hits. It truly has everything a person would need in one place. In addition, you can seamlessly search the library by title, artist, genre, or instrument. This feature is almost never seen with Scribd’s alternatives, making the reading service one of the most unique choices in the industry.
Last but not least is Scribd’s document library, also known as the Scribd pdf section. It offers an impressive collection of business templates, court filings, and academic papers from all industries. Once you subscribe, you will have access to over 125,000,000 documents carefully divided into many categories.
Ease of Use
We tested Scribd both on the website and in the available reading apps, and we have to admit that it passed the test with flying colors. Navigating the dashboard is seamless and learning all the features and functionalities on the platform comes naturally.
One of the best assets of the service is the Scribd search functionality. Finding the right book in Scribd’s massive library is straightforward and simple. It’s also easy to save the books you want to read or listen to.
Scribd’s user interface has avatars, profiles, contacts, stats, ratings, and recommendations to make things better, making the entire reading experience much more dynamic. Moreover, the more you read, the better the personalized experience. Scribd learns what you want and gives you exactly that.
As the most popular reading service with over 13 years of expertise, Scribd has, without a doubt, perfected the reading experience. However, we can’t rate Scribd’s ease of use 5/5 just yet. It seems that many users find the service extremely difficult to use regarding canceling the Scribd subscription.
This is the only area where Scribd lacks compared to its alternatives. The process is unnecessarily complicated, and it leads to many subscribers being charged for an additional month because they failed to cancel the subscription properly.
Scribd Customer Service
When it comes to Scribd’s customer service, mixed user reviews range from overwhelmingly positive to highly negative. We did thorough research to ensure an objective Scribd service review since there was a big difference in customer satisfaction for their user support.
After reading a ton of reviews and testimonials, we discovered that almost all negative reviews for Scribd’s customer service are from users who cannot reach the team after failing to unsubscribe.
We’ve already learned that the Scribd subscription could be difficult to cancel, so many users have problems with it and have to contact support for assistance. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options available for reaching the support team, so users have to wait longer than the average for an email response if there is a problem. Furthermore, since the whole communication is based on email, the entire process is unnecessarily long to complete.
According to most negative reviews, users are waiting weeks or even months for a response while at the same time being billed for their unwanted monthly subscription. This is the area where Scribd severely lacks compared to its competitors. If they add phone or live chat customer service, we firmly believe that almost all negative user reviews will disappear.
Scribd has only one plan available that grants you access to its entire library. However, Scribd’s subscription is much more affordable for a flat fee of $8.99 a month than the rest of the reading services. Moreover, if you are a student and a new user, you can get a subscription for $4.99 and a free 5-month subscription to New York Times digital.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a Scribd family plan available since the pricing is already low. Still, you can download reading and listening content on up to four devices for offline use that can be opened simultaneously. Note that this is not always the rule since some specific publishers may have special agreements with Scribd, but these cases are rare, and the chances are that you will not stumble upon them.
A Scribd free trial is also available. It lasts for 60 days, and during that time, you have unlimited access to the entire library. Note that you will have to add a payment method to redeem the trial, so if you are not interested in continuing the subscription, you will be automatically charged for the next month if you fail to cancel it in time.
Scribd Customer Reviews
As we already mentioned, we discovered a plethora of both positive and negative customer reviews. It looks like Scribd unlimited is the most popular way to read books in today’s modern world. Passionate readers worldwide find a new literary home with Scribd and continuously share their satisfaction with the service.
That said, there are several complaints you should know about before choosing to subscribe to Scribd. We already talked about the difficulties its users experience when trying to cancel the free trial or an ongoing monthly subscription. This is the biggest and most often seen complaint among users and, as long as you inform yourself about the cancelation process beforehand, you shouldn’t experience any issues.
Other negative reviews of Scribd include the lack of specific popular titles (Scribd may offer a massive number of books, but it doesn’t have all of them) and an invisible reading limit. It seems that some passionate readers who read more than 10 books a month are unable to open specific titles. Unfortunately, this looks like a rare occurrence, and since we did not experience it ourselves, we are unable to confirm its existence.
How Does Scribd Compare to Its Biggest Competitors?
Scribd has a lot to offer. It completely changed our way of reading books and continues to push the limits of modern readers. But it is not the only reading service available. So let’s take a look at some of its fiercest competitors and how Scribd fares compare to them.
Scribd vs. Audible
If you are looking for a vast audiobook library, then Audible is by far the best choice for you. With over 200,000 titles and counting, you will always have something to listen to. Just for comparison, Scribd has almost 40,000 audiobooks in its collection at the moment of writing. That said, you can listen to an unlimited amount of books on Scribd, while with Audible, you are limited to only two.
On the other hand, Audible doesn’t come with an ebook library. With hundreds of thousands of books available, Scribd has one of the most extensive ebook libraries to date. Same as with the audiobooks, you can read as many as you want with only one downside — if you decide to cancel your subscription, you will not own the books (or audiobooks) you read. With Audible, you get to keep the two audiobooks claimed per month, even after ending the subscription.
Scribd vs. Kindle Unlimited
Kindle Unlimited has been gaining momentum lately, mainly because it allows self-published authors to share their books through the service. That said, it still doesn’t offer a library as extensive as Scribd. At the moment of writing, more than 1 million titles are available through Kindle Unlimited, out of which many are books published by self-published authors. This is an impressive number, but Scribd’s library is by far more significant.
The same goes for audiobooks. Kindle Unlimited offers a decent number of audiobooks, but nowhere near what Scribd has. Moreover, audiobooks are primarily by self-published authors, so unless you want to discover new names and fresh stories, Kindle Unlimited might not be the best reading service for you.
Scribd Pros and Cons
Our review of Scribd showed us that the reading service has many strengths and a few weaknesses that should be considered before subscribing to it. Here is everything you need to know about Scribd’s pros and cons.
- User-friendly web and mobile applications — With a clean and straightforward interface, Scribd offers one of the easiest-to-use reading platforms in the industry.
- One flat and affordable fee for all readers — There are no plans and no hidden fees, just one $8.99/month fee for full access to the library.
- Unlimited access to ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines — Nothing is off-limits or requires an upgraded payment plan to read or listen to and many user reviews of Scribd confirm this.
- Available on all major formats — Kindle, iOS, Android, and similar.
- Offers offline reading by downloading books — No need for a constant internet connection to read or listen.
- Some alternatives offer more extensive audiobook libraries — Audible is still the leading reading service for audiobook titles.
- Not all notable titles are available — Scribd has an impressive library of books and audiobooks, but it’s limited to the publishing houses it currently works with.
- Unnecessary complicated unsubscribing — According to many users’ reviews, the subscription can be difficult to cancel and may need help from support.
Scribd Service Review — Final Verdict
All in all, Scribd is an innovative and groundbreaking reading platform that offers a plethora of reading and listening titles for users who consume two or more books per month. With an affordable price and unlimited ebooks and audiobooks library, it can be a little piece of heaven for passionate readers. No wonder it’s known as the “Netflix of books.”
As with any other service out there, Scribd has a few cons as well. If you prefer audiobooks, it may not have all the titles you would like to listen to compared to some of its alternatives. It also lacks some popular ebooks that are often found on other reading services. On the other hand, unsubscribing can be pretty complicated for users that are not tech-savvy, and since the customer service is difficult to reach, the Scribd cost may end up higher for you.
Everything considered, we believe that Scribd’s pros outweigh the cons. As long as it offers all the titles you would like to read, and you closely follow the directions to unsubscribing if you decide to end your subscription, you will be grateful that Scribd was a part of your life.