So, I finally decided to give the service Scribd another try. I think back in the day when it first started I did a free trial and canceled it within a day. At the time they did not have the books I was trying or enjoying so at the time it was not worth paying for. As of late I have been seeing more and more of it and I thought a great deal of time has passed it might be worth giving it another try. On top of seeing it talked about a lot I also was motived by the NEWTs Readathon taking place and I was going out of town for a few weeks. Traveling with huge books is not really fun or easy to do so I thought that giving this digital service a try might help.
I will say I did have reservation mixed with my hope of the improvement of the choices from this service. I continue to hear stories of people being limited without really being told why they were being limited. They make it kinda clear that you can have unlimited listening or reading, but then why are there limits? When do you hit these limits? There is no real answer that anyone has come across. I was just kinda worried I would be on vacation then all of a sudden in the middle of a book, I loose access to it. I was also worried that this service still didn’t really carry the books that I am currently reading and I would not be using it after a month because none of my current TBR are on there or the same availability as my library that I can use for free. Anyway, worries aside I gave it a try and here is my experience after using the service for one month.
So, during this experiment of sorts I accessed both audiobook and ebooks. I enjoy both of these formats and they are great for traveling and being on the go. I am going to discuss my experience by talking about each format on their own.
First, let’s talk about the audiobooks. I first used Scribd mainly on my desktop computer I wanted to save the app and room on my phone for when I was traveling. Anyway, I really liked the interface for the audiobook on desktop. It was set up pretty cleanly and everything was clear without being walked through it, at least for me. Another major thing I was the look out for was the speed I would be able to access the audiobook at. I tend to listen to audiobooks at 2x or 3x speed, it depends on the narrator and pace of the reading to begin with. I also took advantage of the sleep timer a few times when I was listening at night incase I were to drift to bed.
The only thing I think that could make this interface better would be if there was a preview or label that popped up if you hovered over a control. I learned by playing along with a book I didn’t really care to much about keeping my place, but if I was in the middle of a book and hit the go back to start of chapter button when I really only wanted to go back 15 seconds or 30 seconds. Also, labeling how many seconds it jumps back or forward, it would be wonderful. So, I guess I would say there are two things that can be improved upon.
On top of using the desktop interface, I also used the ISO app. I have to say, there were a few things that I liked and some things that I didn’t like.
I will start with the things I liked, first and foremost of which is that I can download an audiobook for on the go and not have to worry about data usage or being in a low service area interrupting my listening. For me personally, it is a must if I am going to be listening to the book on go. Another notable thing I enjoy is the bookmark aspect, incase I lost my spot by hitting a button on accident. I am notorious for doing this, so whenever I pause or put an audiobook down, I always mark my spot.
When looking at the app as a whole instead of just at the listening screen, it looks like you have access to pretty much everything. You can look at recommended books, explore, and search for your next read. You can easily find your saved list with the bottom navigation and a nifty thing I noticed is that you can hit a button and only see the books on your saved list that you already downloaded to streamline listening.
With all things, there were some negatives with this app. The first and honestly the most annoying was the fact that it randomly paused multiple times. At first I thought it had to do with it being a new chapter and maybe it was a way to make sure the reader didn’t fall asleep or space out while listening. Sadly, this was not the case. It just stoped on me in the middle of chapters. It was very annoying and I had to keep putting aside what I was doing to get my phone, open the app all the way and hit play again. This happened 3 times within the first chapter of American Gods… a book I had downloaded on my phones. So it was not due to lack of service or anything like that. The second thing that annoyed me was that on the app the max speed you can listen at is 2x speed… on the desktop you can listen at 3x speed, which is a speed I utilize often. While I can make due with 2x speed, I am just confused as to why on one interface the max speed is different than the other.
-Items “Taken Out”-
American Gods Audiobook
Endless Night Audiobook
At this point in time, I can easily see the value in a service like this. If someones library is not well stocked with the types of literature someones likes or if their library has a fee that is maybe more than this service it is a wonderful resource. Also, if owning audiobooks is not something you are interested in, this is a very good alternative to other popular audiobook sites, such as audible. The main thing you need to make sure of it that this service has the audiobooks you are interested in. Otherwise it is not worth it in the slightest.
While this service can make some improvements, some of which I stated in this post, for me at this point in time it is worth continuing to give it a go, but I still have questions/concerns. Mainly with what the true limits are on the accounts that some people run into. I have done some research and I have found that users can run into problems if they are signed into too many browsers or devices. I was kind of concerned to be signed into the app and desktop, but I have not run into any problems at this time.
I also don’t have a firm understanding of what saved is. Does that mean I “checked them out” or just for future reference? Does that mean I have access and it is reserved in a way? I have heard stories of other users saving ebooks or audiobooks, then go to listen to them and are told they are not available. So, it is kind of confusing.
Long post short, I am going to continue to give this service a try and see if it is a good alternative for me and my reading habits when supplementing my all of a sudden limited library digital resources.