It's called the Netflix for books. For just US$8.99 a month, you can read as many books as you can. Is it truly nirvana for readers? I decided to sign up for its 30-day free trial (now reduced to 14 days) to check it out.
The good stuff:
1. Besides ebooks, there are audio and graphic novels too. Unlike other subscription services like Oyster and Kindle Unlimited, subscribers get to enjoy comics and audio books. I love it. I download my audiobooks via Scribd's app and listen to them via my smartphone while I drive to work. It's as close to heaven as I can get.
2. The $8.99 you pay monthly is more than worth it. During the 30-day free trial, I consumed three audiobooks, six graphic novels and skim/read three novels. They cost more than five times the monthly subscription.
3. A huge array of titles Besides indie books, Scribd has books from major publishers such as HarperCollins, Wiley, Pearson and Random House, which gives it a significant leg up to Kindle Unlimited, which is, ironically, rather limited as it is missing five major publishers.
4. You can borrow an unlimited amount of books with no time limit Unlike Kindle Unlimited which limits you to ten titles at a time, you can borrow as many books/media as you like on Scribd.
The bad stuff
1. It may not be around forever. It's awesome what Scribd is doing, but just how is it funding the service? How can it, for one, compensate authors and publishers fairly and yet have readers pay less for what the books are worth? I have serious doubts that this business model is sustainable, especially after ...
2. Scribd removed romance and erotica novels from its catalog. Romance readers are notoriously voracious readers. And they were reading Scribd dry. The company has come out to say that it has to "adjust the proportion of titles across genres to ensure that we can continue to expand the overall size and variety of our service." Translation: It wasn't sustainable to keep things as they were. But is it a good move to cut out a huge pie of the fiction market?
3. If you dislike reading on a computer screen, tablet or a smartphone, this isn't for you. I always read something before I sleep. I've never had a problem reading via e-Ink devices. But reading a bright, led screen tablet? It isn't going to do my circadian rhythms any good. During my one-month trial, I stuck to graphic novels and audiobooks. If I ever do subscribe to Scribd, I would not be reading many long-form fiction.
4. You don't get to keep the books. By the end of the year, you would've spent about $108 on Scribd. You may not like the idea of spending so much and yet not even owning a single book.
What do you think about Scribd? Would you subscribe to the service?