I’ve known about subscription services for reading such as Oyster and Scribd for a while now — services that give you unlimited ebook reading for $8-9 a month. They never appealed to me, though, because I was happy getting ebooks from the library and from other sources. Cheap and free ebooks are plentiful right now, so I thought I didn’t need another source of them, particularly since I read slowly and read fewer ebooks than print books. But then Scribd started offering audiobooks as well as ebooks, and the situation changed. I had been getting audiobooks from the library, and that worked pretty well, but I always had a problem with the timing of it — I’d be in the mood for a particular audiobook, but there would be a long waiting list for it, and when it finally became available, I was no longer interested, or involved in something else, or happy listening to podcasts at the moment. I’d considered using Audible.com or a similar service, but the price always seemed too high.
So I thought I’d give Scribd a try. I’ve had it for going on two months now, and have finished one audiobook and am in the middle of another, and I’m in the middle of an ebook as well. So far, I think it may be worthwhile to keep, although the service is still very much on trial in my mind; if I find it’s not worth it, it’s easy to drop, and I will. But there is a pretty good selection of audiobooks — plenty there I’d like to listen to — and I love how they are instantly available, with no waiting. The price seems to be right. Even if I listen to only one audiobook, or even less than one, per month it’s still cheaper than Audible, plus it includes ebook access. I haven’t looked through their ebook catalog very thoroughly, but that’s because my focus is more on audiobooks, plus it’s very large and overwhelming to browse through.
I listened to Jennifer Egan’s novel Look at Me, which was great — though so long! It took about 20 hours to listen to. Now I’m in the middle of Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, which I’m enjoying very much (and which is a much more reasonable 10 hours). I’m slowing reading Jennifer Weiner’s novel Good in Bed, which I started because I’ve been curious about her books and wondered how I would like something a little more “commercial” than what I usually read, plus wanting something potentially fun to read before I fall asleep each night. It’s been enjoyable in parts, but in the last third of the book, I’m finding it implausible, and I’m kind of losing interest. Ah, well.
The Scribd app isn’t perfect — I’ve had some trouble getting audiobooks downloaded and ebooks don’t sync very well between devices (iPhone and iPad). But generally I’m happy with this experiment so far. It’s a good way of getting more audiobooks into my life, at a time when audiobooks are becoming a more and more convenient way for me to read.