Scribd Review: The New Way to Save Money on Books?

Scribd Review: The New Way to Save Money on Books?

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“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” – Harry Truman


Do you like to read?


Do you find books expensive?


Would you read more, if books were more affordable?


Clearly, you value reading if you are reading this blog. So if you answered yes to all these questions, you should check out an app called Scribd.


Honestly, I had never heard of Scribd before. I stumbled upon it when I was looking for marketplaces for my own book, Money Proverbs, and noticed that people were actually buying my book from Scribd, so I took a look. I used the app for a month so here is my take on Scribd.


What is Scribd?


Scribd is dubbed the “Netflix of reading” (well, sort of). You pay $8.99 a month for your choice of 3 ebooks and 1 audiobook.  Also, you get unlimited access to papers and magazines such as Wall Street Journal and the NY Times. Additionally, they have this thing called “Scribd Select” where the Scribd team selects a book that is available in addition to the three books allotment.



How does it work?


At the beginning of the month, you get three credits. One credit can buy one book. Once you use your three credits for the month, you have to wait until the next month for more credits. Each month you pay the flat fee of $8.99 for an additional 3 credits.


For books that you still want to read, you can save for later. I currently have a queue of 10 books I want to read over the next couple of months.


You also save books on your for offline use.


Scribd Selects

For books labeled by the Scribd team as Select, you can read them for free. These books are selected each month by the Scribd team. Once the month is over, a new set of books are selected. You can select these books for future reading by saving them for later as well. You free to read any amount of books in this group at any time.


Newspapers and Magazines

You can also store articles from your favorite magazines and newspapers for later reading as well.


The Catch

You can only accrue up to 9 credits at a time. In other words, if you don’t use your credits for 3 months, you stop getting new monthly credits.


How’s the selection?


Here is the million dollar question. Does Scribd have much of a selection? Yes, it is not great, but it is pretty good. Its main competitor Kindle Unlimited has a bigger selection, but the quality is not that great.


KU is mostly indie authors and other random books. Scribd, on the other hand, has some on-demand authors like Stephen King and John Maxwell. Like I said earlier, they have partnered with publishing houses to secure a nice catalog of quality books.


When I first signed up, I had a couple of books in mind, such as The Miracle Morning or Never Split the Deal. Unfortunately, these books weren’t available, so I was disappointed. To be honest, Scribd gave a bad first impression with its selection.


But I kept digging, and I was pleasantly surprised. They had a couple of great books on there. And I stumbled upon other books and authors that I would have never read. Also, having the newspapers and magazines is a nice treat as well.


What makes Scribd great?


If you read a lot, Scribd is great. I would say it had 60% of what I wanted. It makes buying books more affordable. Most of the books on the market are over $10 each. Now, ebook prices have crept up as well. Ironically, many of the large publishing houses are pricing ebooks at or even above the print price point. If you are buying 3 books a month, that would easily be $30 month at the least.


If you want to get better at your finances, I suggest reading more as well.


Secondly, as I write more, I plan on reading more. It is also a good platform for research. As I write my monthly blog posts, I plan on utilizing the platform for researching topics. If you work in any field that demands research, you should definitely check out Scribd.


Top Personal Finance books available on Scribd versus Kindle Unlimited did a survey of personal finance bloggers on the best personal finance books. I wanted to do a test to see how the two platforms match up to one another. Here is the list (with books available on Scribd labeled as “S” and Kindle Unlimited as “KU”).


The Test


  1. The Millionaire Next Door (S) (KU)
  2. Your Money Your Life
  3. Rich Dad Poor Dad (S)
  4. The Total Money Makeover (S)
  5. The Simple Path to Wealth (KU)
  6. The Richest Man in Babylon
  7. I Will Teach You to Be Rich (S)
  8. The Intelligent Investor (S)
  9. Think and Grow Rich (S)
  10. The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing



Scribd – 6 books

Kindle Unlimited – 2 books

Scribd wins.


Kindle Wins on App and Functionality

The main issue I have with Scribd is that its smartphone app lacks in terms of functionality. The Kindle app has a separate section for notes and highlights called “Notebook”.


While Scribd, has a similar section, it does not allow you see the full quote highlighted, nor does it allow you to categorize notes or highlights.



Kindle enables you to highlight passages in multiple colors to categorize them.



Another annoying thing is that highlighting passages across different pages in the Scribd app is not available. If I want to highlight something, it just cuts off. Kindle, however, allows you to highlight across different pages.


The Verdict: Scribd delivers a lot for the price

When looking at KU and Scribd, both have an equal price point, but Scribd wins again on content on top of just books: a good selection of audio books, newspapers, magazines and even sheet music.


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Thanks for the analysis. That looks intriguing. I have a Kindle device. Can I read scribd books on it (ie is the kindle format available?