Date Mon, April 2 2018

Scribd is a subscription service that allows you to read or listen to digital books. It reminds me of Overdrive with a few key differences. While Overdrive offers you digital content for free as long as your library has access to it, Scribd costs $8.99 per month. There are some similar titles between my library’s digital content and Scribd, but Scribd offers many more audiobooks specifically that I want to listen to as well as a few e-books that my library doesn’t have.

While you’re limited in the number of holds and checkouts you can have with Overdrive — as well as how long you can keep each book “checked out” — Scribd doesn’t have these limitations. I’ve got a number of things saved to my account and don’t have to worry about how long it takes me to listen or read. The site does say:

Occasionally, we have to limit the titles that you’re able to access within a specific content library in a 30-day period.

Scribd could be a nice complement to Overdrive or a viable alternative if you’ve either consumed everything available to you via Overdrive or don’t have access to it at all.

I never actually use the Overdrive app on my phone, and I only use it on my Kindle to get books. When it comes to audiobooks, I download the MP3s through Overdrive on my laptop and sync them to my iPod. It’s an extra step, sure, but convenient. I use the app directly on my phone to listen to books with Scribd, though.

Scribd seems to get content from a variety of sources, which is especially noticeable when it comes to audiobooks. The treatment of chapters varies. For example, one book labeled the preface as chapter one, so each chapter was off by a number. Another book differentiated between the introduction and the first chapter. One seemed to ignore the published chapters altogether and split the book into more than 100 2-3 minute clips. Odd.

With the first book that I actually listened to with Scribd, each chapter extended just a second or two after the countdown hit 0. I listen at books between 1.5x and 2.0x speed at all times, and this would skip right past the last few seconds of the book, so I got used to slowing it down right before the chapter ended to catch the last phrases (switching between speeds is pretty seamless).

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This doesn’t stop me from using or enjoying Scribd, however. For the most part, I enjoy all the options. Whether you’re on PC or mobile, you can adjust the color scheme (I like antiqued sepia tones), font face and size, text justification, and scrolling direction for e-books and the speed and sleep timer for audiobooks. You can also add notes, highlights and bookmarks to save your spot in a similar way on multiple devices.

The app for Scribd does offer a few more options. For example, I can adjust the jump timer on my phone; although I keep it at 30 seconds. There are more font faces to choose from on mobile, and you have a bit more control over font size and color scheme. You can also save a book to your device for offline reading with the app.

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If there was one thing that I wish the app did, it would be to show me how much time I have remaining in the current chapter on my lock screen and in the notifications menu. I can pause and skip back or forth, but it shows the static name of the book, which just cuts off, rather than more pertinent information.

So far, I’ve been focusing on audiobooks, partly because the books that I have saved to my Scribd account may not be available via other sources and I want to clear them off my to-read (or to-listen) list. Secondly, there’s no compatible Scribd app for my first gen Kindle Fire, and I don’t love reading on either my laptop or phone. I plan to read some things once I finish what I’m reading on my Kindle if I still have time with my free subscription. It’s actually taken me longer to listen to audiobooks than I anticipated, which is on me. But $9 to Scribd is probably more useful to me than some subscriptions.

You can sign up for Scribd and get the first two months free with this link. If you sign up, you can earn free months my recruiting other readers.

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