For those fond of reading, online book libraries are a lifeline. These online libraries offer millions of eBooks, audiobooks, comics, etc. for readers across the world. Scribd is also one such platform where readers can access a variety of content, for reading or listening.
But is Scribd safe? Is it legit?
Are you legally compromised when accessing content on Scribd?
Just what we are looking into here and we’ve tried to get to the bottom of it.
What is Scribd?
Scribd was established in 2007 and made major progress towards becoming the #1 online library service provider.
Scribd has clocked almost 80 million subscribers across the globe and they have gone on record to estimate their annual revenue at $100 million, a chunk of which comes from the 1 million subscribers already paying $8.99/ month.
Scribd is often dubbed as “the Netflix of electronic books”. As a user, you can access eBooks and audiobooks from over 1000 different publishers.
This includes the BIG 5 publishing houses – Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster, Hachette, Macmillan, and HarperCollins. Without a doubt, Scribd is one of the largest and most popular content collections in the world.
Who owns Scribd?
Scribd is headquartered in San Francisco, California. It was founded in the year 2007 by Trip Adler who is also the CEO of the company. He was named in Forbes ’30 under 30’ list.
Trip Adler has also been named in Inc’s ’35 under 35’ and TIME’s ‘Tech Pioneer’.
A Scribd subscription is an all-in-one package containing magazines, audiobooks, summaries, and eBooks accessible from anywhere across the world. The program is especially useful for research scholars or university students who can access high-quality research papers on a variety of topics.
The subscription package offers unlimited access to their library. Scribd has over 70000 titles that include new releases or upcoming ones to be added on. It may sound a lot, but it is less compared to that of Amazon.
But with Scribd, you can access all available titles with a single subscription. With Amazon, you may need to buy some titles despite having access to quite a few.
Scribd is similar to Netflix with their subscription. If you cancel your subscription, you will lose access to your saved content as well.
Let’s dive into what you get from Scribd as a subscribed user.
Scribd is simple to use. After logging into the account, you can access separate sections for Sheet Music, documents, magazines, news, eBooks, and audiobooks. You can easily save the content and come back later for it.
The user interface also provides users with the convenience to browse content according to their topic of interest, quite similar to what you get on a Kindle.
Scribd is not just another digital library with standard features. There are some assorted features to it not all users are aware of.
Here are the additional services you can access with a Scribd subscription.
Blinkist: This feature is especially useful for readers who are short on reading time. Blinkist offers key insights and facts of the content, shared as short texts or small audio clips. This is like CliffsNotes but meant to engage and not just educate.
MUBI: It is a great service for cinema buffs out there. MUBI gives users unfettered access to top acclaimed movies beyond the beaten path. Content is available in different languages and genres. MUBI is rated as arguably the best Netflix alternative in 2021 when it comes to sheer good content.
Farfaria: This is a Scribd service tailored for children to enhance their learning curve holistically. Farfaria streams books for children where titles of the page can be read aloud. The pages are auto-turned and can be read without audio narration. Farfaria is useful to edify children with select content.
Pocket: A nifty feature if you’re short on time but still want to enjoy a piece of content for later. Simply save it on Pockets and access it later without having to search through it.
AUDM: This is a simple audiobook version of news you may find interesting for the day. For those who do not get enough time to read the newspaper, AUDM can be a straight-up solution, playing the news as an audiobook on the go. News stories are narrated by top-notch narrators, definitely worth listening to.
Scribd Trial and Membership
Scribd offers its users a 30-day free trial plan to check it out and get used to the features of the app. Once the trial period is over, a user needs to swap to the paid premium service.
The monthly subscription package for $8.99. The fact that it is so cheap yet offers the best features is a leading reason behind its popularity.
Scribd Pros and Cons
We can simply say that Scribd is quite similar to most other online libraries barring some good features. Either way, here’s the best and the worst of it.
- Largest eBook and audiobook library available for less than $10 a month.
- Lots of add-on services.
- Offline access to eBooks and other content via downloads, although only accessible with the subscription.
- Bookmark and highlight the important parts of the book.
- Follow major periodicals like Fortune Magazine.
- Easy to use.
- Users can set up sleep timers of up to 2 hours!
- Scribd practices throttling, putting a restriction on high demand books once they reach the throttling cap. This means users might have to wait for their turn to get their hands on popular books.
- Subscription lacks the smoothness of other platforms when it comes to account management in multiple devices.
- Unsubscribing can be glitchy.
Is it Legal to Download from Scribd?
It is not illegal to download from Scribd as the platform itself allows saving books for later under their subscription. However, Scribd does remove content if it attempts copyright infringement and might even suspend such accounts. This is what shields the platform from issues related to copyrights. If a user is abiding by Scribd policies, then there are no issues related to content downloading.
Is Scribd Worth It?
Scribd has become one of the all-in-one content subscriptions that provide users with both eBooks and audiobooks in one place. The platform also gives its users the liberty of reading on any platform or device. Scribd can be used on a variety of operating systems including Mac, iOS, Windows PC, Android, or even a Kindle!
The leverage of accessing both audiobooks and eBooks at a single place has made it more popular compared to its main counterpart Amazon that does offer both but separately.
So. Is Scribd Legit?
Apart from the content throttling, there’s little to even remotely suggest whether Scribd is a non-legit $100 million churning business.
But is Scribd safe for you? Better still, can you be sued for accessing content on Scribd without prior knowledge about copyright infringement?
We have come across somewhat of a grey area here. Scribd has repeatedly spoken out against copyright infringement and even has a dedicated webpage to report copyright issues with a dedicated webpage built into its sitemap.
What does this mean for you?
Well, you cannot be sued for accessing content on Scribd irrespective of any copyright infringement with the said content. But this does not hold true if you’re sharing it!
Is Scribd legit and safe? The answer to the first question is yes, Scribd is legit. For a voracious reader or someone who just loves audiobooks, availing a Scribd subscription at such a nominal price is a great deal.
On whether it’s safe, Scribd allows users to publish content on its open platform. But if it identifies that the user has infringed copyrights, it immediately removes the content and suspends the account/s.
Some individuals might find throttling on highly popular content a bit annoying but that could be ignored considering the budget subscription. So, those who just want to access tons of content and premium magazines at an affordable cost should go for Scribd. It is legit and safe.