I love subscriptions services. However, given the cost, the vast number of services available, and the limited number of hours in a day, I don’t like to subscribe to too many at a time. However, for the past couple years since I learned about it, the ONLY subscription service that I can’t live without is Scribd. Scribed is an ebook and audiobook service, that surpasses any other I have ever tried. It has a ton of amazing, well known, popular audiobooks for kids and adults and does not limit how much you read and listen.
What’s the catch? You don’t actually OWN the books you listen to. However, since most people don’t read books more than once, that is not such a huge sacrifice. Also, while they say your reading is unlimited, they do restrict which audiobook titles you have access to after you surpass a certain high threshold of time spent listening.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Scribd in any way. This is my honest, unbiased review. However, anyone that is a member of Scribd can share a link with friends that will earn them a free month of reading if their friend signs up, while giving that friend 60 free days to check it out. This is my Scribd link if you decide to try it.
Recommended Age Range: EVERYONE, literally toddler to adult
Cost: $10 per month
I don’t know what I would do without Scribd. My kids and I listen to stories in the car (both picture books and chapter books). We listen to books at meals. I listen to both fiction and non-fiction while I am doing chores like dishes and laundry. I listen while I knit. I read or listen while I am laying next to my toddler as he falls asleep or while I watch my kids at sports practice.
Scribd allows me to satisfy my book habit in an affordable way. Unlike other subscription companies, you can listen or read as much as you want. The selection is fantastic. The only complaint I have is that after you have listened to 3 or 4 books, your audiobook selection does get smaller until your monthly renewal date. I imagine this is not an issue for most people, but we listen to so much, that we hit this limit almost every month. Thankfully, they do not appear to cut off books, and there are always still audiobooks available, just maybe not your first choice.
- Price. $10/month is WELL worth the cost in my opinion. I actually am currently additionally paying $15/month for an Audible subscription, because there are some titles, like the Harry Potter series, which are not available on Scribd. However, while $15 gets me one audiobook at Audible, $10 allows me to listen to at least 3 fantastic titles per month, plus I can read as much as I want.
- Selection. I would say whenever there is a book I want to read (both popular and obscure), there is an 80% chance that it is on Scribd. Not everything is on there, but I am always astonished by how frequently what I want to read is in their library.
- Variety. Picture books, chapter books for kids, frivolous fiction novels, quality literature, non-fiction books on a wide range of subjects…whatever you are interested in, you will be able to find something you want to read or listen to.
- Ease of Use. The app is incredibly easy to use. You can save titles you are interested in and create lists to organized your titles. You can filter our books you’ve completed or just search through the ones you’ve downloaded. I have no complaints about the app.
- Suggested Titles. I love that it will suggest titles for me to read based on the titles I have already read. It is very effective at picking things I am interested in. My “to read” list currently has over 200 titles in it.
- Magazines. I don’t even use this feature, but your subscription includes access to several digital magazines. Many of the most popular women’s magazines don’t seem to be included, but there are well known publications like Time and People magazine.
- Some titles seem to disappear. My kids’ FAVORITE thing to listen to for awhile was the picture book called The Book with No Pictures by BJ Novak, and we’ve noticed that it is no longer in the library. I also noticed Where the Crawdads Sing and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me don’t seem to be there anymore either.
- You do not own the titles. After you stop paying, you no longer have access to the library.
- They do not have the titles my kids are MOST into like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson.
- You only have access to the full Scribd library for the first 3 or 4 audiobooks per month. After that, they significantly restrict your selection.
- When I contacted the company regarding some titles not being available until after my monthly renewal date, I asked if I could just pay for a second subscription and they said no. I imagine you could get around this by having another member of your family sign up for an account, but I haven’t tried that. I think it says something that one of my biggest complaints is that they wouldn’t allow me to have two memberships.
- A reader has informed me in the comments below that there are no parental filters available to block explicit content. This hasn’t been an issue for me personally, but is something to keep in mind before you allow your child to use this app on their own.
If you need help choosing what to read or listen to, here are some of our favorites. Most of these have an audiobook version unless otherwise noted:
Our Favorite Scribd Picture Books
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by John Scieszka
- A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
- Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
- I Miss You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
- Ruby the Copycat by Peggy Rathmann
- Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin
- Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
- Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
- The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
- Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by Willaim Steig
- The Pain the Great One by Judy Blume
- Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole
- The Bad Seed by Jory John
- Olivia series by Ian Falconer
- Fancy Nancy series by Jane O’Conner
- Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold
- Pinkalicious series by Victoria Kann
- Amelia Bedelia & Friends series by Herman Parish
- Clifford series by Norman Bridwell
- James Herriot’s Treasury for Children by James Herriot
- The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit and Friends by Beatrix Potter
- Mike Mulligan’s Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
Our Favorite Scribd Chapter Books
- The Green Ember series by S.D. Smith
- Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
- The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street series by Karina Yan Glaser
- The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series by Maryrose Wood
- Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr
- Ramona series by Beverly Cleary
- Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Peterson
- From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
- By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman
- Betsy Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
- Sarah, Plain and Tall series by Patricia MacLachlan
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Frindle by Andrew Clements
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
- The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond (book only)
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater (book only)
- Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (book only)
- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (book only)
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (book only)
- Series of Unfortunate Event by Lemony Snicket (book only)
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (book only)
- The Giver by Lois Lowry (book only)
My Favorite Scribd Parenting Books
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
- The Call of the Wild and Free by Ainsley Arment
- The Read Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie
- How Children Succeed by Paul Tough
- Grit by Angela Duckworth
- Helping Children Succeed by Paul Tough
- Play by Stuart Brown
- Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
- Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein
- Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt
- Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom by Kerry Mcdonald
- Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy by Jamie C. Martin
- Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education
- Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
- How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott D. Sampson
- Unselfie by Michele Borba
- Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscom
My Favorite Scribd Fiction Books
- Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah
- The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
- Followers: A Novel by Megan Angelo
- When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy
- The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
- Without a Country by Ayse Kulin
- Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman
My Favorite Scribd Non-Fiction Books
- Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle
- Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff by Myquillyn Smith
- The Art of Living by Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
- The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
- The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
- Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
- Big Friendship by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman
- Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon