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:
- The Problem of Evil: Selected Reading, Second Edition.
- Because the question of theodicy haunts me.
- Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs by David W. Bercot.
- I believe we need to take ownership of our own beliefs but that we should also approach these beliefs with great humility. This occurs as we learn from others – both contemporaries and those who have come before.
- God in the Dock by C.S. Lewis.
- Because it’s C.S. Lewis for goodness sake!
- Seeing through the Fog: Hope When Your World Falls Apart by Ed Dobson.
- Dobson had an interesting story within evangelical Christian circles. Earlier in his life he was involved with Jerry Farwell, a leading conservative (both theologically and politically). Later he would pastor a member church of the Independent Fundamentalist Churches of America (IFCA); while leading this church his positions would move significantly more moderate/liberal both theologically and politically. He was mentor and tutor to the (in)famous Rob Bell. In the latter years of his life he was diagnosed with ALS but lived a number of years with the condition before passing and this book is the result of those years.
- The First Testament: A New Translation by John Goldingay.
- Really enjoying this, reminds me of Robert Alter’s translations, poetic, vivid.
Audiobooks I’m Listening To..
I’m also listening to a few interesting audio books:
- The ADHD Effect on Marriage by Melissa Orlov.
- Actually finished this one, highly recommend if you have or love someone with ADHD.
- The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher.
- Fisher is approachable in her book and her stories are…interesting, disturbing…
- God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question–Why We Suffer by Bart D. Ehrman.
- Ehrman left the Christian faith in large part because of the problem of suffering. I’ve never read anything by Ehrman before, but theodicy chills my soul as I mentioned above, so this seemed like a good option as well!
- Recovery: Freedom from our Addictions by Russell Brand.
- This book is brutally honest but also disturbingly vulgar. I’ve never been a fan of blunt, gross-out scatalogical humor and this has plenty of it. It seems to parallel the 12 Twelves of Alcoholics Anonymous.
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.