Scribd is an e-book service that’s basically Netflix, but for books. It’s not entirely accurate, and I’ll get into that in a minute, but it’s $8.99 per month and you get access to a range of books, comics, audiobooks, documents, and sheet music. The last three categories don’t interest me at all but the first do too. I’d been toying with the idea of getting Marvel Unlimited (which is $9.99 a month and grants the user access to most of the Marvel comics ever printed). However, Scribd has a two week free trial and Marvel Unlimited has not, so I signed up for the two weeks of Scribd to see what it’s like and if it’s worth sticking with over trying out Marvel Unlimited.
I’ve had it for just over a week now, and my initial impression is that I really like it and I’m going to keep my subscription after the free trial period, but it’s not perfect. As I said, it’s a little similar to Netflix with one major difference. There’s a limit of three books and one audiobook a month, which they seem apologetic about in the FAQ but it’s still a little annoying, especially for someone who can read quickly. I’ve read two books in the first week. But to make up for this Scribd do have a number of books that are unlimited, so they won’t count to your total. Also, you can read a section of a book before you take it off your monthly limit so if you’re not enjoying it as much as you hoped you won’t have to regret using one of your slots. Another aspect of this is that if you don’t use your slots they will roll over to the next month, which is another nice touch and it gives me the impression that Scribd really do want to give its customer base the best value and deals possible, and if they have to have a limit in order to make money then so be it because, quite frankly, for the price it’s still good value to get access to their catalogue (especially if you’re like me and you don’t mind owning books).
The other great thing is that comics don’t count towards this limit! And, although it doesn’t have as much depth for Marvel comics as Marvel Unlimited it does have comics from other publishers like IDW and Vertigo, so there’s a huge back catalogue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers comics, for example. The Marvel comics they have range from some classic stories to more recent ones, so overall there’s a good selection. The books are split into various categories and when you sign up it takes you through a process where you enter your likes and dislikes so the right books will come up for you. There are also editors’ picks and trending books, so you can see what other people are reading. So far I’ve explored sci-fi and was delighted to see that there are a plethora of Star Trek books on the service, so I plan to catch up on a lot of the developments in the TrekLit world, as well as some classic stories like Imzadi that I never got around to reading.
I’ve explored a few other categories that I’m interested in and I’m hoping that the biography and memoir section gets some more content added soon, but already I’ve added so many books to my library it’s going to take a while to get through them all.
Once in the library you can make collections, so I’ve split some up into Trek novels, Marvel Comics, Other Comics etc. This is neat, but I do wish that the books would then be taken out of the library just for ease of use and neatness’ sake. I also wish that in the case of some comic series, like Transformers, there was a guide or an easy way to suggest the order in which they should be read. For comic reading there’s one main annoyance I’ve found and that is that Scribd doesn’t offer panel-zoom. So you get the page presented and can’t tap on a panel to enlarge it, which is usually alright on my Kindle Fire if the page is portrait, but on landscapes I have to zoom in and scroll around to read the page properly.
Other than that I really like Scribed. The wealth of books offered is awesome and although the limit is something of a handicap for a voracious reader like myself, I like the fact they’ve made the effort to have unlimited books, and I can supplement my reading with comics or getting books from my local library. All in all I would highly recommend at least checking out the free trial, and if I could make a suggestion to Marvel Unlimited I’d say that they should have a free trial as well