Last updated on May 25th, 2019 at 02:40 am
UPDATE: Scribd is no longer recommended.
Scribd Review: Scribd vs. Audible
The question thousands of people are asking on Google every month is “What is the best Audible alternative?”
This review aims to help answer that question in a very in-depth way. I’m not just going to tell you which company is the best, but why. How they stack up to Audible and why you should switch.
When I dove in deep on the features, the pricing and the overall quality of book titles it was obvious to me which company was the winner. The company I would choose to spend my hard-earned money on.
First and foremost, I wanted value.
So which company offers the most value? Audible, Kindle Unlimited or Scribd?
Spoiler Alert: It’s not even close.
Audible & Kindle Unlimited will be left in the dust if they don’t pay attention to what Scribd is doing right now.
If there’s one thing I’ll hammer home in this post it’s this; With Scribd your first month is free and you can read as many books or listen to as many audiobooks as you want with no obligation to purchase.
Free. As in costs nothing. Nada. $0.00.
Unlimited. As in absolutely as much as you want. Want to listen to 5 audiobooks in a 72-hour marathon? You can do that.
The price point of
$8.99/mo free (Scribd) vs. $14.99/mo (Audible) was already enough to sway me, but you throw in unlimited books, audiobooks, and magazines? It’s an absolute no-brainer. There’s no better value on the market right now.
In exactly 2,674 words I’ll show you why you should consider switching right now. If you don’t want to read it, and you trust that I’m not going to steer you wrong – start your free 30-day trial right now.
Otherwise, let’s get on with the review!
What Is Scribd?
Scribd has a simple slogan “Enjoy an unlimited number of books, audiobooks & magazines for $8.99/mo.”
A bold statement indeed.
No other company offers unlimited books, audiobooks & magazines for $8.99/mo, and none of them allow you to sign up for free and read or listen to as many books as you want without any obligation to purchase a book or a subscription.
That’s truly amazing when you think about it. You could theoretically take advantage of the 30-day promo, get your fill of books and never owe a dime!
Suffice it to say, for $8.99/mo the ability to read or listen to as many books as you want is almost untouched in the realm of book platforms. Audible, the closest competitor, offers 1 book per month for right around $15.
That’s 1 book for $15! How is that a deal?
With over 1 million titles, Scribd is the new-kid-on-the-block that’s looking to disrupt the entire book streaming industry and I have a feeling they’re going to succeed with a price that low and inventory this massive, but before we go into all that, take a look at what some people are saying.
I read more in those four months than I had in the eight prior, and my desire to consume books certainly didn’t go away once the job ended. Scribd made me a voracious reader again. – Mara Leighton @ BusinessInsider
All the e-books you can read for a flat $9 monthly fee – Sarah Mitroff @ C|NET
I love this app so much. My daughter and I compared several reading apps before trying this one. I am quite happy with it so far, and so is she.
It uses very little battery life, and with the different screen color settings, I can read easily at night without hurting my eyes or disturbing my husband.
Oh, and the unlimited sheet music is just an added bonus for me! I’ve found music that I used to play when I was younger, and newer music as well.
I’m sure that this app is one that I’m going to keep a subscription on for a long while. – Jessica H. (iOS App Store)
Glowing reviews aside, how does Scribd stack up to Audible. Is it a true “Audible vs. Scribd” moment or is Scribd just some poor quality version of Audible trying to make a few bucks?
Below I’m going to dive into the details and show you why Scribd is more than just another name, it’s a disruptive platform that’s ready to take on the entire audiobook establishment – starting with Audible.
How Many Book Titles Does Scribd Have?
There’s no real point in having a conversation about books if you don’t talk about inventory. The number of books, quality books, that a platform has available is just as important as their pricing model.
What good is unlimited books if all of them are garbage? Exactly. We want to know there’s both volume and quality.
So, let’s start with physical books, the kind you open up and read manually. At the moment it’s hard to beat Amazon. When it comes to hardcovers and paperbacks they have it all. If you want to order a book, have it delivered to your house and smell the paper, Amazon is your store. They put libraries to shame with the sheer number of books they have available.
One of the reasons Amazon has this stranglehold on physical books is because they have exclusive & semi-exclusive deals with publishers that allow them to get “first run” on brand new titles (especially books from celebrities & bestselling authors) and they have the largest selection of paperback & hardcover titles in the world thanks to the enormous amount of sales they can drive.
It makes sense, right? If you’re Penguin or Random House you’re going to want to know that your A-list author is going to get prime distribution both brick & mortar and online. Books are big business and Amazon has the physical book industry locked up.
It doesn’t mean that Amazon gets all new books first, of course, it just means that some publishers want control over where their high-priced and popular books go first. Ideally, publishers want to sell their books for top-dollar and in high volume. Amazon is a great place to do that and we can’t blame them one bit.
If what you want are physical books, Amazon is the best in the game.
That being said, let’s get back to digital books and audiobooks. The kind you read or listen to on your Kindle or smartphone.
The industry is wide open right now. Amazon, with their acquisition of Audible and unveiling of Kindle Unlimited, surely have a large footprint in the space, but there are challengers – namely Scribd.
Scribd has over 1,000,000 titles on hand. Can you read 1 million books? Not in a lifetime. Can you find 20 interesting books to read or listen to? Yes, you can. And considering the price ($8.99/mo) vs. Audible (1 book per month for $15) the answer is almost handed to you, like cheating on a test.
1m books at Scribd vs. Audible at 1m – 2m books. At what point is inventory just absurd? No one can read that many books in a lifetime, even if they’re listening to audiobooks they won’t even crack 100k.
The reality is this. The battle isn’t won by who has the most books, it’s by the quality, and here’s where Scribd gives Amazon (and Audible) a run for their money.
Scribd has over 1,000,000 digital book titles!
Where Scribd really shines are audiobooks & magazines. You want bestsellers? Scribd has them. While they have a truly massive selection of digital books to read, the audiobook and magazine selection is absolutely immense and always up-to-date. That means when you use Scribd you’ll get access to audiobooks & magazines as soon as they are on the shelf!
Scribd has over 100,000 audiobooks!
The number of audiobooks that scribd has in their inventory is astounding. Even if Audible has the same inventory or more, the fact remains – Scribd is on equal footing. Remember above when I said that Amazon gets first run with physical books? Well, that’s not the case with Audiobooks. Scribd gets audiobooks the day they’re released.
You want to listen to the new book from James Comey A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership? You’ll have access to that on April 17th, 2018 – the same day it drops.
If Audible has James Comey’s book on the 17th, so does Scribd. For $8.99 I could download that book, listen to it and download another book in a matter of days.
With Audible I don’t have that option. I can download Comey’s book alright, but that’d be my 1 book for the month! I’ll explain that in more detail in the Audible Pricing Plan section below, but let me just be clear – for 1/2 the price I can listen to unlimited audiobooks with Scribd and they get all of the same audiobooks that anyone else does!
The value proposition on this is amazing. I truly hate to sound like a shill, but it’s true. $8.99 for unlimited listens vs. $15 for 1 book. It’s borderline insane not to jump over to Scribd just to listen to as many books as possible with their 30-day free trial.
Scribd has 124 magazine titles!
Are magazines dying? Maybe, but they still have awesome content. Where else can you get People magazine, Time Magazine or even ESPN for $8.99/mo?
Throw in the fact you get digital books + audiobooks and it’s like “What? Are you kidding me?” – Audible simply can’t compete with that.
If Audible offered the feature to download unlimited books it would still be twice the price of Scribd and they still wouldn’t have the digital books or magazines!
To me, this is the deal-breaker. Scribd simply offers more value for my money. If Audible decides to someday offer unlimited streaming ebooks for the same price, I might consider it.
Now that we’re on the subject of Audible’s pricing, let’s take a closer look at the plans Audible offers and I’ll show you what I mean. Brace yourself, it’s gonna get a little sketchy!
Audible.com Plans & Pricing
Audible (owned by Amazon) is the 800lb gorilla in the audiobook industry. They claim to offer the most “listens” in the industry, and if the number of people they have using their product matters to you, then that’s a great claim because it’s true.
However, the high prices aren’t the only problem. There’s an issue that you won’t even find addressed on the homepage.
Something Audible doesn’t want people knowing until it’s time to ask for their credit card.
You only get 1 audiobook per month with Audible’s Basic Plan!
I don’t know about you, but between commuting, traveling and working out I can easily blow through 1 audiobook in 4 – 5 days. All I have to do is hit play and listen, right?
If the average audiobook is around 10 hours long, with an Audible subscription I’d get around 10 hours of listening time every month.
Audible's 10 hours of listening time on the basic plan is 5 hours less than a flight from Los Angeles, CA to Sydney, AUS.
For me that’s just not enough, it’s not even adequate. I’d go as far to say that until you’ve been on the Audible platform for at least 6 months you just won’t have enough inventory to have a good selection of audiobooks to listen to.
The only way you can access more credits (aka more audiobooks) is to pay more. Let’s break down the Audible Plans & Pricing image above so it’s clear how expensive Audible is for what you get.
Important: Each Audible credit is worth 1 book.
- If you pay $14.95/mo you will get 1 credit per calendar month.
- If you pay $22.95/mo you will get 2 credits per month.
- If you pay $149.50 upfront for the Gold Annual subscription you get 12 credits immediately.
- If you pay $229.50 upfront for the Platinum Annual subscription you get 24 credits immediately.
To me, Audible’s pricing is absurdly high when stacked up to Scribd’s $8.99/mo unlimited books plan. I can understand the value of buying an audiobook you absolutely love and want to listen to over-and-over again for $14.95, but I absolutely can’t imagine getting enough value out of the basic Gold Monthly package.
If I were to spring for Audible’s Platinum Monthly subscription I could get 2 books per month, however, his still doesn’t feel like a deal.
And quite honestly, I don’t even want to discuss the Annual plans.
There are far better values for getting 12 to 24 books per year. That’s just the reality of it.
The upside to an Audible subscription is this. You get to keep the books forever. With Scribd, you don’t have that option, but it’s not as bad as you think.
If you’re familiar with Spotify or any other streaming music service you’d know that the price is low enough and the selection is large enough that you can make your own playlists and count on always being able to hear the songs you want.
You don’t necessarily care that you don’t own them, just that you’ll always have access to the ones you love and the ability to find new music.
This is what Scribd is doing. For $8.99/mo you can read/listen to as many books or magazines as you want. It’s cheap enough on a monthly basis that you could consider keeping 50 books in rotation and reading what you want – just like you listen to music on your playlist.
Now, let’s get back to Audible.
An issue that’s not really taken into account is the fact that people like to listen to audiobooks in the car, on the plane, at home, at the gym, .etc.
10 hours of listening time on the basic plan is 5 hours less than a flight from Los Angeles, CA to Sydney, AUS (15 hours 5 minutes).
Great, you can listen to your audiobooks on the way to Australia and then somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic ocean you have the option to listen to it again or take off your headphones and have a conversation with the obnoxious person you were unfortunate enough to be seated next to.
Oh, but it gets worse.
What happens if you decide at some point that the book you downloaded is terrible, absolute garbage that you would never consider listening to again? Audible does allow 1 refund per month.
Is choosing a book and requesting a refund better than joining a service that allows you to download unlimited books? In my humble opinion – no, not even close.
As great as Amazon’s support can be I’d rather just choose another book and instantly download it.
Why I Left Audible For Scribd
As a longtime Amazon (and Audible) customer making the switch to Scribd wasn’t nearly as painful as I envisioned. I’m billed right around $9/mo and can listen to or read unlimited books & magazines. I couldn’t do that with Audible, and I’m truly thankful there’s more competition in this space.
Audible has high prices, there’s no way around that. I liked that I could keep my books forever, but just like iTunes, once I started using Spotify it was clear that there was a better way.
Scribd, in my opinion, is that “better way”. As long as I keep my Scribd plan I can continue reading/listening to all of my favorite books and discover new ones.
If I want a paperback book I can buy it from Amazon, but if I want to read or listen to books & magazines on the go – Scribd is the absolute best way to do it.
How To Sign Up For Scribd
Scribd offers a 30 day free trial much like Audible and signing up takes like 2 minutes, faster if you connect with Facebook.
How to sign up for Scribd in 4 easy steps.
- Go to this page for their free 30-day trial.
- Sign up with Facebook, Google or fill out their short form to register.
- Add your credit card (you have to do this at Audible as well)
- Start downloading books!
That’s it, my friend. Audible wasn’t any harder than this, but I’m saving $6/mo and I don’t have any restrictions on how many books I get to read/listen to.
Now, you may be wondering about adding a credit card. Don’t worry you absolutely will not be charged before 30 days is up and you can cancel before your 30 days are over if you choose.
Both services (Scribd & Audible) operate the same way. They both have free 30 day trials and you have to enter your credit card. The big difference is with Scribd if you want to continue paying for the service it’s only $8.99, not $14.95 or higher.
If you’re truly a book lover spending $0 to try out unlimited books for 30 days is a no-brainer. If you love it (you will) the $9 is a pretty easy decision. If you decide you can’t live without Amazon products, just cancel it before the 30 days are up.
Scribd720 Hours Worth Of Audiobooks For Free
vs. Audible.com9.8 /10
Ease Of Use9.8 /10
Free Trial10.0 /10
- Unlimited Books, Audiobooks & Magazines
- Huge Selection (1m+ Titles)
- 1/2 Price Of Kindle Unlimited & Audible
- 30 Day Free Trial
- Works with web, iOS, Android & Kindle Devices
- Amazon Has A Better Selection Of Paperback Books
- You Can't Keep The Books If You Cancel