Remember when I reviewed Oyster?
Well Scribd is similar service and over the last few months I’ve been testing it out. The question I asked myself is: would hardcore YA readers find this service valuable?
Scribd Review: A Digital Book Subscription
Note: I received a free six-month subscription courtesy of Scribd.
How It Works
Scribd is a book subscription service where readers pay $8.99 a month to access offered titles. There is no limit to the number of books someone can read. The company currently boasts 40 million books and documents.
Aside from reading books on your computer, users can download the Scribd app on the App Store and Google Play. This means that books can be read from iPads, iPhones, Android tablets and smartphones and the Kindle Fire.
The service offers books in categories across the board, including fantasy, mystery, romance and, of course, young adult.
I’ll start with the pros.
Compared to Oyster, I was really impressed with the selection of the YA books in Scribd.
Popular books include:
- The Selection
- City of Bones series
- I Am Number Four series
- Uglies series
- Abhorsen series
- Wicked Lovely
- Hush, Hush series
- Free to Fall
- The Girl of Fire and Thorns
This was a pleasant surprise! In teen fiction alone, Scribd offers 20,000+ titles.
I also liked the Netflix-style “Similar to” suggestions.
I found that fairly helpful in discovering new books I might find interesting.
I also liked how – unlike Oyster – you can add any books in Scribd into your personal library. You’re not limited at all on the number of books you can read at a time or “shelf” in your read/to-be-read area.
Now for the cons.
For a casual YA reader, this service might be useful for a few months. To get the full value of the $8.99 monthly fee, you’d need to read at least 2 books per month, as the average ebook is about $8.99 to $10.99.
The trouble, I found, was that for someone as into the YA genre as myself, the books I am looking to read aren’t there. There are not many new (2013 on) titles.
So, readers are forced to pick books that are a few years to many years old. This isn’t a bad thing by any means, but it does mean that you might be double paying – $8.99 a month for Scribd + $8.99 x ?? a month for new releases.
Another con is that for a few series, the first two books were on Scribd, but the last book in the series wasn’t. Both The Girl of Fire and Thorns and the Delirium series fell into this trap. It’s a small annoyance, but one as a paying customer I would take issue with.
Also, the search feature needs some serious work. The only sub-categories that are offered in the YA/teen section is fiction and non-fiction. Ummm, yeah, that’s going to be a problem.
The Netflix-style suggestions will mitigate that problem, but as a casual browser, the lack of filters will make finding titles I want to read a lot more time-consuming.
Scribd has a robust collection of titles across many genres, and I think for a reader who’s interested in multiple genres this service would be valuable and useful.
However, for a mainly YA-reader Scribd would lose its value over time. With a limited number of recently published titles, Scribd is not ideal for those of us who are interested in the latest and greatest books.
For going back and knocking out a bunch of older books on my TBR, I would pay for Scribd for maybe one or two months, but this service is not something I would maintain as someone who is constantly looking for what’s next.
If you use or have used services like Scribd, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!