I’m Really Liking This Scribd Thing

Another Subscription Service?

I enjoy reading and am always interested in book subscription services. I’ve tried Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (twice!) but just wasn’t that impressed (there are tons of books, but so many are of really low, self-published quality!). Since the behemoth wasn’t able to impress me, I didn’t expect much of Scribd, but I’ve been quite pleasantly surprised! I’ve been particularly impressed by the quality and quantity of biography, theology, psychology, and philosophy books that are available.

Books I’m Reading…

Currently I’m reading the following from Scribd:

Audiobooks I’m Listening To..

I’m also listening to a few interesting audio books:

Where Scribd Needs to Improve

The “Saved” List

You can save books to a reading list but they fall off the list if you add too many books (more than 500) – and they do so silently! No warning that you’ll be removing a previously added book by adding a new one! (Why do I need to have a reading list with more than 500 books on it? I’m not talking about it!)You can add books to a “saved” list for future reference/reading, but they fall off the list if your list gets too long (and no, there isn’t any warning…you just notice that books you’ve saved no longer are!).

In addition, while you can create multiple topical lists for saved books it seems that under at least some circumstances these books are also added to your main saved list and also may be dropped from the topical list if you remove it from the main saved list. I had hoped this might be a way to bypass the 500 title limit, but no such luck!

Lack of Smooth Scrolling

One can flip between pages both horizontally and vertically but this isn’t a smooth transition and is quite problematic when attempting to highlight text across multiple pages. Amazon’s Kindle by comparison will auto flip to the next page if you highlight text and then move your finger to the bottom right of the page, allowing you to continuously highlight across multiple pages. This really is a must have.

The problem is compounded by the fact that even if the text is continuous and you highlight it separately, Scribd creates two separate highlights rather than one continuous highlight.

What Happens When A Book Expires?

Only one book has moved off the Scribd service since I began subscribing several months ago…but when it does, what happens to my highlights and notes? I’m guessing they may vanish (I’ll find out in a few days when the expiration completes).

Thankfully, I have found a way around this for the moment using Suprada Urval’s Exifile. This free service allows one to extract the notes from a Scribd book and export it into a plain text or JSON file

Is It Worth It?

There are some significant downsides as outlined above, but overall I like the service, and intend to keep using it for the foreseeable future. I’d suggest you take it for a spin.

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