Book Subscription Service: Scribd Final Thoughts

March 16, 2015 ebook, Opinion, Product Review, Reading, Scribd 0

Scribd. How did it work for me?
Well, I read a total of 16 books during my Scribd trial and DNF’d another 4 books. The 16 books I completed totaled $104.46 which averages out to $6.52 each. The books I DNF’d totaled to $40.70 which averages out to $10.18 per book. When I decided to do this little experiment I based it on the (potential) cost of the three month trial ($26.97). I also paid for two months of Scribd (forgot about it!) for $17.98. That would bring the “trial” to 5 months and a total of $44.95.

90 Day Scribd Trial + 2 Paid Months
Total Books: 16 + 4 (DNF) = 20
Total Cost of Books read: $145.16
Average price per book: $7.25
Total Amount Saved: $100.07 (price of all books minus price of service ($26.97 + $17.98 = $44.45))

The caveat about the “Total Amount Saved” is the fact that a lot of the books that I read during the trial were not my first choices. These are (almost) all books that I was mildly interested in and happened to be available via Scribd. Most of the books I read during my Scribd trial were not books that I would have purchased (especially at these price points!) or I would have waited for a sale to purchase or I would have used a coupon. Or not read the book at all.

I planed to compare my Scribd book usage against my library borrows but I decided against it as it wasn’t fair (to Scribd). I borrow so many books from the library that it would have crushed Scribd. For example, I currently have 12 library books on loan. Most of these books are hardbacks (my favorite format) and they are exactly what I wanted to read. I have no problem getting my book club reads from the library – including newly released books.

I continued to dislike being required to read on a back-lit device. Reading on my phone was a total PIA but the computer was a bit better. My preference for reading ebooks remains my e-Ink device.

Book Discoverability
I did not discover very many books via Scribd. Most of the books and/or authors I read during my trial were authors/books I was specifically looking for. Out of 20 books I discovered 6 NTM (new to me) authors – three of which were in the same anthology. I did make a single purchase that was stimulated by my Scribd reading: I bought a novella from the Forgotten Goddesses series for $0.99.

Additional Notes about Discoverability
-Scribed added thousands of additional books to their service just as my trial was ending. Scribd made an agreement that added a lot of Harlequin (HQN) Romances and a lot of audio books. I’ve mostly moved on from HQN and I’m not the biggest fan of audio books so this did not represent an additional draw for me. This would be great for those who like (older) audio books and HQN romances.

Annoying Things about Subscription Services
The author/publisher/rights holder can pull content from the subscription service at any time. There are three books that I read via Scribd and one book that I had planned to read that have since been pulled from the service:

Swan and the Bear (review here)
Lion and the Falcon (review here)
Jealous and Freakn’ (review here)
Already Freakn’ Mated <--planned to read but it was pulled before I could read it

DNF’d Books
The Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad ($8.69) – DNF review here
Cyanide & Happiness ($8.99) – Not formatted for ease of reading on this format, could barely see so no review
Wallbanger ($7.99) – P2P Twilight fanfiction, I wanted to see what buzz was about but I couldn’t get into it. Couldn’t get into Twilight, either…. hmmmmmm
Shards of Honor ($14.50) – tried the audio book; not quite a DNF more like a DNF-for-now.

Final Thoughts or Would I pay for this?
No. I am too moody for this type of pay-to-play program AND I find that the content is rather limiting. [Scribd] is fine if I want to read popular Romance but when I start looking for Fantasy or Science Fiction books I am shit out of luck. This means that if I were to continue this service I would pay $8.99 per month for a lot of my Romance reads but I would still need to purchase any Romance books not provided by Scribd AND 99.99% of my Fantasy/Science Fiction books.

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