Scribd: The New Best Reading Platform???

Okay, so, I wrote a short article on my concerns with Kindle Unlimited last week, and I want to make this a sort of sister-post to that. Because, really, I think Scribd has the potential to grow and become a leader in the e-book market over the next year or so… perhaps it could even out-do KU.

Now, I have a feeling that a lot of you are scratching your heads going, “um, okay, what is ‘Scribd’?” Am I right?

Well, let’s break it down, first.

The Basics of Scribd

Scribd is a subscription-based reading and listening service that allows you to access millions of media pieces every month that you’re subscribed, and the fee is $9.99 a month. This media can be anything from e-books and audiobooks to magazines, sheet music, and even how-to documents and miscellaneous files.

Scribd is kind of like a digital library, and anything you access on it is like “borrowing” it from their online library. Though, while you technically do not own anything you access on Scribd, you can access everything 24/7 with your subscription, and there is no limit to how many things you can access per month.

What’s Setting Scribd Apart

Of course, both Scribd and Kindle Unlimited allow access to e-book borrowing for a flat rate of $9.99 a month. However, there are a lot of things setting Scribd apart from Kindle Unlimited and, for that matter, all other subscription-based media access services (like Audible, too).

Unlimited Access to More Than Just E-Books

Perhaps the biggest advantage of using Scribd is that you, as a reader, can access more than just e-books, which is all that Kindle Unlimited offers (aside from a select few audiobooks every once in a blue moon).

Scribd offers an online library full of e-books, audiobooks, podcasts, magazines, and documents. Of course, most readers come for the e-books and stay for the audiobooks, but a lot of users that begin using the platform just for traditional reading eventually encounter unique pieces of media as they browse the virtual bookshelves. For example, there’s even digital sheet music by Disney, Taylor Swift, and The Beatles on Scribd right now!

A lot of readers choose to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited (KU for short) because the platform allows them to access millions of e-book titles. And, as I mentioned in my last post about KU, that’s great if you’re someone who can devour e-book after e-book every month, but it’s not always the best thing if you’re an author trying to earn a living off of publishing your books on KU because Amazon, who owns Kindle Unlimited, requires authors who publish on KU to only publish on KU–that means authors can’t share their work with any other reader on any other online retailer or platform! As a YA author who’s had experience with KU myself, I know this fact makes it impossible to earn much money for my work, and it makes it impossible to share my books with as many readers as possible.

Scribd, however, doesn’t lock authors into contracts, and anyone who publishes their work on Scribd has the freedom to also publish that work anywhere else that they’d like. This means that us authors can make sure our books are available on Scribd as well as other online retailers like Apple Books, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, and many more!

The fact that Scribd does not push exclusivity contracts onto authors and publishers also means than some big-name publishing houses, like Simon and Schuster and HarperCollins, have started publishing their books on Scribd, too. So, if there are any books published by these houses that you’re interested in reading, you’re likely to see them pop up on Scribd and not on Kindle Unlimited.

Worldwide Access for Readers in All Countries

If you’re a U.S.-based reader, you automatically have access to both Scribd and Kindle Unlimited. However, if you live outside of the United States, you cannot use Kindle Unlimited (as of the making of this post), which is truly unfortunate.

Scribd is available to readers worldwide, though, because Scribd’s goal is to reach as many readers as possible (one of my personal goals as well!). Of course, not every title will be available in every country, but with a global audience, bilinguals will also be able to find more books in different languages on Scribd than anywhere else. So… I’m just saying, if you’re trying to pass Spanish class or yearning to learn a new language, Scribd may have some great resources for you to use.

Well, now… I’m not going to say that Scribd is perfect by any means, but I do have a strong preference for its services over Kindle Unlimited which, again, I have some clear problems with. And, of course, I do want readers to choose a service that works best for them, so I’m not going to draw any conclusions here, either; I’m just sharing my own opinion on the two services with my own readers!

And, you know… my own books are available for my own readers on Scribd, but, again, I’m just leaving that point right there.

Please let me know if you’ve used Scribd and what your thoughts are on the platform down below!

–Kari

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