Impressions of Scribd’s New Terms

scribd-logo-marketingbuildingIf you’ve been following the ebook world at all, you probably know that Scribd, the subscription ebook/audiobook/comic book service changed its terms starting in March. Where the ebooks and comics had previously been “all you can read,” now users accumulate monthly credits (3 per month, and you can accumulate up to 9) to “spend” on books. There are also rotating monthly “Scribd Select” books which can be read for that month without using credits, and there are a number of unlimited books which can freely be read at any time.

Understandably, there was little rejoicing in the land when the new terms were announced. Readers were upset at being limited to only 3 books a month, and many felt that the unlimited selection was pretty limited. I’m certain that many unsubscribed, but I had never been one to read tens of books in a month, so I decided to stay on and see what I thought of the new terms.

Short impression. I actually like it more than the old terms, if you can believe it. Not only that, I think I am actually reading more than I did. And now that you are convinced I am insane, let me explain.

I am someone who thrives on a certain amount of structure. I have been a huge fan of Scribd since the beginning, and I personally never wanted to overuse it, so every month my question was, “How many books should I read in it?” (I’ve had doubts about the viability of their business model from the beginning, and since I loved the service, I didn’t want to be one of the ones who “broke” it.) Yes, I’m probably the exception here, but anyone else who loves structure will understand where I am coming from.

Now, it’s clear. If I want, I can read until I run out of credits, or I can bank a few credits for vacation months.  I’ve generally used the service for big publishing books, so I know the ones I read are the expensive ones. If Scribd thinks they can afford for me to read three in a month, then that’s what I’ll read. I don’t need to use the unlimited books because I always have plenty of library books and purchased books to keep me going when I’ve used my three credits. I’ve been using Scribd as a supplemental source of reading, not the primary, and that hasn’t changed.

A note to comic book lovers. Comics are considered unlimited. While I prefer using Comixology and their guided view, if you don’t care, you can read all the comics you like. Since comics go quickly, I’m glad they don’t fall under the credits option. I could use three credits on comics in less than an hour, if I weren’t careful.

I love the “Scribd Selects” options. The May selections showed up a day or two late this month, and I checked every day until they appeared. Happy Day! One of the May select books was the one I had been wanting to read next anyway. Superb timing.

I admit I have been taking advantage of an intermittent glitch. I’ve been able to read several books without spending a credit on them. I’m sure they were neither unlimited nor Select books. I think their program isn’t handling books in series correctly. I spent a credit for the first book in a particular series, and then was able to read the rest of the series for free. Scribd folks, if you are reading this, you might want to take a look at that. Readers, take advantage of it while you can. 🙂

I’ve been pleased that the service still meets my needs. Since most of the books I read in it are priced at $9.99 and up, reading three or so in a month still saves me a lot of money. If the big publishers wise up and lower their prices, I might revisit this, but for right now, it’s working for me

2 thoughts on “Impressions of Scribd’s New Terms”

  1. You are my soul sister. I do exactly the same thing and I’m happy to do do. I’d rather have Scribd continue on or more limited basis than not continue, or have a laddered service where if you want to read more, pay more.

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