Battle of the Books: Scribd Vs Kindle Unlimited

As some of you may know, I recently culled my collection of books. I’m still an avid reader, so I have to keep on top of things to prevent being overrun by my paperback pals in future (seriously, I moved house in February and most of my boxes were filled with books). While my Kindle and new library membership helps, I also wanted to test out reading subscription services. I’m a fan of subscription services, why not see how it could revolutionise my reading?
After some research I came up with two options: Scribd and Kindle Unlimited and I tried both for a month (yay free trials) to see how they compared in terms of price, variety and quality of reading material. Read on to see what I found.

Kindle Unlimited

AUD $13.99

Amazon is really upping its subscription game between Audible, Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited. Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service works similar to a library. You ‘borrow’ up to ten titles at a given time and they are removed from your kindle library at month’s end. Kindle Unlimited also has the option of free Audible narration where applicable. This would be an amazing feature if more of these books came with that option. Honestly, I didn’t see it come up at all in any the books I looked at, which ruins what could have been a big selling point.
Despite the price tag, which rivals the old Netflix fee, the variety is sub-par. Despite advertising over a million titles, you won’t have access to fresh publications from your favourite authors, or even older ones – it’s Amazon exclusives only. That said, there are some hidden indie gems to be found, if one can be bothered to look. The risk is wading through a number of disappointing reads to find it. Amazon seemed to have saved the best titles for purchase.
The best books I stumbled across were nonfiction reads, which aren’t my usual are of interest. However, they were shorter than most books and I could finish them within an hour. There’s also a selection of magazines and newspapers to borrow, should that tickle your fancy.

By and large, the quality of books was disappointing and before the month was even close to finishing, I cancelled by subscription.

Scribd

AUD $8.99

I accessed Scribd through the app. You can read online or save titles to your device for offline access. It isn’t as pleasant to read off a phone or tablet as it is my Kindle, but that’s pretty minor as cons go. Scribs takes another hit in terms of number of titles. Kindle Unlimited is, as it states, unlimited in terms of access to titles, whereas Scribd lets you have three books and one audiobook per month. Still, that is plenty of reading material as these are full-length novels and likely longer than the Kindle Unlimited titles. Besides, i found that if I ran out of books to read I could pad things out with a library book. It isn’t unlimited, but I value quality of quantity where books are concerned.

Scribd uses a credit system like Audible, and you can accumulate up to 3 audibook credits and 9 book credits without spending them. If you’ve used your credits but are hankering for a particular read and can’t wait for more credits, you can purchase them. This will set you back about $12.99AUD.

Unlike Kindle Unlimited, you don’t have to return the books you redeem. You can keep them for as long as you’re a member (though, rarely, some titles have to be removed for legal reasons). There are also newspapers, magazines and free documents (including sheet music) taht you can access for free. There are a few permanently free titles and Scribd also has monthly selected titles that you can access for the month without spending your credits. I’v had the luck of accessing a book i had always wanted to read as part of the August Selects, so there are some good books to be found there.

While you do have fewer options to read each month, the variety of material is a big plus for Scribd. They have popular titles and classics available. Some titles have been published as recently as June this year and I’ve spied a few of my favourite authors. There are entire series available (I am currently working my way through the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik). While you have a few titles that are more obscure, there are plenty of hits to choose from (and, as I said, there are some indie gems out there). Like you would with a Kindle book, Scribd allows you to read a bit before commiting your credits, meaning you aren’t likely to get saddled with a bad read.

Another bonus is that, if you share a personalised link with a friend and they sign up, you both get sixty days free.

The Verdict

I think it’s pretty obvious who I think wins this match. Scribd is five dollars cheaper and offers better quality titles that you don’t have to return. Kindle Unlimited has a long way to go before I would consider it worth the price. NAmely, they need to broaden their selection and add some non-Amazon titles to the service. Yes, you have less to read with Scribd, but four titles a month (plus a free selection) is not a bad offer. I quickly ditched Kindle Unlimited, but I will be keeping Scribd for the forseeable future.

If you’re interested in giving Scribd a try, head over to my contact page and let me know. I’ll send you my link so we can both enjoy sixty days of free reads! Let me know in the comments if you’ve had any experince with these services, or let me know any books you’ve read lately that you would recommend!

Disclaimer: This post is 100% my own opinion and I have not recieved any renumeration. I just really think Scribd is better.

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Clearing the Shelves: A Bookworm Bids Goodbye

When I moved house for the first time back in February, I remember complaining about the laborious task of packing all my books.

“Why not just get rid of some?” asked a colleague. I was incredulous. Get…rid…of…books? Was that a thing people did? Surely not people who loved their books as much as I did. I was a proud collector and –

No. I was a hoarder. I still had books I read as a little girl. I had books I never finished, never started, never enjoyed. Yet I kept them. I kept them because I was a bookworm and surely that is what bookworms did. I enjoyed the tactile, sensory pleasure of books. I wanted more. I saw the glorious ‘shelfies’ on tumblr of beautifully arranged shelves packed with books. I wanted that. To be something akin to that. I was holding on to my books because I liked to talk about how many I had, as if it cemented my status as an avid reader. In hindsight, that seems a shallow motivation. A silly reason to cling to things I wasn’t going to use.

I think I read somewhere there is nothing sadder than an unread book. If I’m not going to read it, then the story is going to waste. I realised it was much better to donate or give away books that I wasn’t going to read or reread. I no longer found value in them, but someone else might. 

It was much easier than I thought. I thought I would be an emotional wreck, but I wasn’t. My eyes were dry and my mind was clear. The value isn’t in the paper and ink. Once I had enjoyed them, if I had no interest in reading them again, then it was only right to pass them along.

I still have them, in boxes ready to give away or donate. I set aside far more than I kept. What I kept were favourites that I have read over and over, reference books I like to flip through. A curated collection of beloved books. 

I then went out and got a library card. To keep myself from future hoarding, I’m going to buy on my kindle and borrow from the library. I might buy the occasional hardcopy of a book, but if I don’t love it, I’ll let it go.