Most book lovers in the US with library cards have access to Hoopla, so they may never need to use Scribd or Audible.
But if you have a not-so-great library, need to skip the long queues for a buzzy new title, or like to re-listen to your favorite audiobooks and are looking to sign up for a paid audiobook service, this post is for you.
What is Audible?
Audible is an audio subscription service that provides access to audiobooks, guided meditations, podcasts, audio courses, and more.
The service works by offering users 1 free monthly audiobook credit (2 for Amazon Prime subscribers) for a Premium audiobook and full access to Audible’s Plus catalog. If you want another Premium audiobook before the month ends, you’ll need to buy it.
Audible also works with Amazon, so if you buy audiobooks on Amazon, they’ll be delivered via Audible. You can also move between your Kindle and Audible audiobook using Amazon’s Whispersync feature–you won’t lose your place on either format.
When you buy an audiobook on Audible, it’s yours forever–even after your subscription ends.
Pros and Cons of Using Audible
Here are eight benefits of using Audible:
- You own the audiobook forever, so if you or your kids love to re-listen to audiobooks, you can be sure you’ll always have them
- Some Audible Originals are fun to listen to–and exclusive to the platform
- Audible plays nicely with Amazon, so you can buy ebooks and audiobooks to switch between
- There are several plans to suit any budget, from $7.95 to $22.95 per month
- Audible has a massive audiobook library; practically every released audiobook is on there
- The audio quality is slightly better if you care/will notice
- You can return audiobooks for up to a year after purchase and receive a full refund
- Audible allows for Family Sharing; you can share with your kids or other family
Here are four downsides of using Audible:
- Your credits expire after a year, so if you don’t buy an audiobook with them within a year, you’ll lose them
- You really only gain access to one *real* free audiobook monthly; most of the free audiobooks are old/classic/Amazon Original titles
- At $14.99, the Premium Plus membership is quite pricey (and it’s the one with access to the new/best-selling titles)
- If you live outside the US, UK, & Canada, over 90% of the Premium titles won’t be available in your region
What is Scribd?
Scribd is an unlimited ebook and audiobook subscription service that gives subscribers access to documents, ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, and magazines. Instead of the credit structure Audible has, you pay a one-time fee of $11.99 for unlimited access to Scribd’s library.
Scribd also has Scribd Originals, work written by esteemed authors that are only available on Scribd.
Pros and Cons of Using Scribd
Here are four benefits of using Scribd:
- Mostly unlimited access to a wide range of audiobooks
- Similarly unlimited access to digital magazines and ebooks
- Less expensive than Audible (and other audiobook subscription services)
- Greater audiobook access for bookworms living outside the US, UK, and Canada
- Regularly updated with new releases
- A great reward system that gifts you one month free when you invite a friend
Here are three downsides of using Scribd:
- An undoubtedly smaller library of audiobooks
- The audiobooks aren’t yours to keep; you lose access if you cancel your membership
- Only one membership plan
Here’s another thing to note: Scribd restricts your listening if you listen to more than a certain number of audiobooks per month.
This isn’t as bad as it sounds because you still have access to several other buzzy audiobooks but are restricted from listening to others until the start of your next billing cycle.
It can be annoying when you’ve been looking forward to a particular book, but it’s just about being patient – as you would for your library holds to come in.
Audible vs Scribd Compared
|Audiobook access||Limited to one credit and access to Audible’s free catalog||Unlimited (mostly)|
|Audiobook ownership||Yes – lifetime access||No|
|Sync with Amazon Kindle||Yes||No|
|Family sharing||Yes||Not optimized|
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some commonly asked questions about Scribd vs Audible.
Is Scribd better than Audible?
In some ways, yes. Scribd offers less limited access to the audiobooks most people want to listen to. It’s also cheaper and includes access to ebooks and digital magazines.
However, Audible has a greater library (it’s just pricier) but is super limited for folks who live outside the US, UK, and Canada.
How many books can I listen to a month with Scribd?
An unlimited number of audiobooks – really! Last month, I listened to eight audiobooks on Scribd (five of which were brand-new 2023 releases).
Is it worth it to pay for Audible?
It depends. For me, it isn’t because I want more than one audiobook a month. I do think if you have the budget, getting subscribed to both Audible and Scribd would be fantastic.
Why are so many books unavailable on Scribd?
Scribd has said that their rights to content change from time to time, so some titles do expire. You will get a heads-up if a book you’ve saved is expiring soon.
Can two people use Scribd at the same time?
You can by logging into multiple devices with the same account. However, Scribd isn’t currently optimized to allow two users to share an account, so you can’t create multiple profiles on one account.
Audible allows multiple people to benefit from the same account.
Scribd vs Audible: Which is better?
It depends on what you want out of your audiobook service. Do you want to keep your audiobooks forever, or do you prefer a rent-style service? Do you also want ebook access? Are you on a tight budget?
I like to listen to audiobooks once and be done with them. I hardly ever look for them again, but even if I did, Scribd retains most of its audiobook library, so I could still find them again.
I want a cheaper service that I could even pay less for (with a solid rewards program), and I want access to many best-selling/newly released audiobooks every month. I don’t want to die of paralyzing indecision before I buy an audiobook I might regret with my one monthly credit.
So, Scribd is perfect for me.
But if you need to own your audiobooks and don’t mind paying upwards of $15 for each one you buy (or only buying 12-24 a year with your credits), Audible is a better choice. It might also be a better option if you fly through over 10 newly released audiobooks every month.
The best way to know which one you’ll like best is to try out each service for a month or two. Audible offers a free trial to new users, and you can get two months of Scribd for free with my link (this buys me one free month).