You know your obsession with Netflix is unhealthy. You tell yourself you are going to watch something educational like a PBS special, but you end up burning through a whole season of Blue Bloods. Then you feel guilty for not doing something productive, so you convince yourself that putting captions on for that season of Arrow was like reading. Let me ask you: Wouldn’t it be great if someone made an educational version of Netflix where reading was encouraged?
Your ship has come in. Scribd has been around since 2007, but very few know what it is. Imagine receiving thousands of books, comics, sheet music, audio books, and recipes in your tablet. Now imagine having access to all of that for as little as $8.99 a month. The plus side is you don’t have to clutter those books in your house or give them to the Salvation Army out of shame.
My experience started when I was looking for an alternative to Marvel Unlimited. I wanted to be able to read the hottest graphic novels and not drive my wife crazy with nerd clutter. A helpful little Google link sent me to Scribd, where they offered top comics from Marvel, IDW, Valiant, and other indie offerings. Pretty soon I was plowing through the Daredevil Brubaker era, discovering the origin of the Thunderbolts and boning up on the Ultimate Universe. Not only that, I had access to Hellboy, Adventure Time, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Locke and Key. I will admit that the collections have sizable holes in them and they do not reflect the newest comics that can be offered. If you are a huge fan of collecting Kurt Busiek’s complete Avengers run, you will be hard pressed. Also, there are no smart panels to automatically enlarge each part of the story. You will have to zoom in to each panel and using your 4 inch phone is out of the question. So far only Marvel Unlimited and Comixcology seems to understand the plight of having to read comics digitally. I have a phablet with a 5.7 inch screen and a tablet so I can easily switch between devices and my place is saved. If I need to use the comics outside of Wifi range, I can save them to the device.
If Scribd was just comic books, I would tell you to wait until their library grew a little more robust, but their digital novels and audio books are splitting at the seams. You can get a premium audio book, like Colbert’s I am America (And So Can You!), by using your allotted credit for the month. There are also free audio books; they don’t cost a thing. I found Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness in the free list. Right now, I am listening to a book called The Power of Habit in the car, which is teaching me loads of new stuff. All of these books come in the form of recommendations, the point of which is to get you hooked on more books. I wish the service did not have premium audio books that you have to buy credits to get — though you do get one free credit every month.
I know what you are thinking: “Mike, my library has graphic novels, audio books, and it is free.” I can’t argue with that, in fact, that might be the reason Scribd hasn’t taken off yet. But does your library have one million books and six million PDF documents to choose from?
If you are a writer, you can write a book and upload it to Scribd for others to read. Talk about some nice exposure. That fanfiction you wrote about Papa Smurf and Gandalf teaming up to fight Magneto could be in this collection.
In the end, Scribd is a worthwhile time killer and life enrichment. I started reading Foster’s The Divine Conspiracy and it feels like getting a spiritual boost of wisdom every time I pick up my phone. You can collect a lot of Christian classics and give your quiet time some variety. I go for the graphic novels most of the time, but the novels, audio books, and other perks of Scribd keeps me coming back. My only beef is that this technology encourages staring at a bright screen and squinting. Not the healthiest way to read. However, in this digital age, we demand a wide library at our fingertips with endless reasons to procrastinate. I believe Scribd serves that audience quite plentifully.
Visit the website at www.scribd.com.
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+ Over one million books + Generous slathering of graphic novels + You can upload your own book if you want + Audio books are nice too
- One premium audio book per month - There's not that many graphic novels - Your eyes will hate you if you have a small screen
The Bottom Line
Imagine someone giving you thousands of books, comics, sheet music, audio books and recipes in your tablet. Now imagine having access to it for as little as $8.99 a month. The plus side: you don't have to clutter those books in your house or give them to the Salvation Army out of shame.