Scribd vs. Audible: Which Is the Best Audiobook Service?

Books

Scribd vs. Audible: What’s the best audiobook service? These two are, undoubtedly, the best ones out there. They have the largest catalogs of audiobooks in the English-speaking market, and each has irresistible perks. With Audible, you get a huge library of audiobooks, from the obscure and the best-selling to classics and contemporary titles. You name it, and Audible may have it. However, since Audible can be a bit expensive if you want to snag the best titles, Scribd audiobooks are a great alternative. Scribd offers “unlimited” audiobooks — we’ll explore later on what that entails.

At first, these two may seem similar, but which service should you choose if you only have to pick one? In this Scribd vs. Audible rundown, let’s break down their features. I’m an avid audiobook listener and ebook reader and have already tried these two, so I can offer insights on what works best. At length, I’ll explore the main differences between these two services according to pricing, amount of titles available, quality of audiobooks catalog, what to expect, pros, cons, what works for which kind of listener, which gives more bang for the buck, the added perks, the hidden stuff, other bookish features, etc.

So, Audible vs. Scribd: which one should you pick?

Scribd vs. Audible: Main Differences

Before we get to the specifics, let’s have a bird’s-eye view of these two services.

Since Scribd is subscription-based, the audiobooks — and ebooks — are based on a selection. Scribd is infamously known for throttling usage if you reach a certain limit, showing you a smaller catalog instead. Worse, you can’t buy titles à la carte.

Audible, meanwhile, offers different subscription levels, though frontlist titles are limited to one or two downloads per month depending on the subscription. The good thing is that if you run out of audiobooks to listen to, you can purchase them individually.

Pricing: Which Is Cheaper?

Scribd costs $11.99 per month, and the titles there include bestsellers, award winners, and indies. They mainly offer ebooks, audiobooks, and magazine articles. There are thousands of titles by publishers big and small, while there are millions of user-contributed reading materials.

With Audible, you get a couple of choices. There are two subscription plans: a Netflix-like Audible Plus, which offers a selection of audiobooks and Audible Originals for $7.95 per month, and Audible Premium Plus, which includes everything from Audible Plus and one audiobook credit for $14.95 per month.

Number of Titles Available

Scribd claims that there are hundreds of thousands of books in its library. When using the app for a while, though, the Home tab recommends a lot of books that are similar to the ones you read or browsed. There’s also a section that shows some of the current New York Times Bestsellers list and curated lists such as Best New Books and Best of.

With Audible Plus, on the other hand, you get to choose from a selection of 11,000+ titles. With Audible Premium Plus, you also get to do that and the added benefit of downloading any audiobook you want (regardless of the price) with a credit.

Quality of Audiobooks Catalog

Scribd has a decent quality of titles; almost all of the bestsellers are in there. They have a lot of frontlist and backlist literary fiction and poetry titles as well. If you want to try something new, they have Scribd Originals, in which they produce their own audiobooks. On the app, however, you can’t see which titles are new or have been recently added.

Scribd Home Tab

Audible Plus is like Scribd. You get unlimited audiobooks from a selection of titles that get added and removed from time to time. According to them, if a title is to be removed soon, you will be notified on the app, so that’s a great thing for prioritizing which to listen to first. And if a title is not part of your current subscription, there’s a heads-up saying you have to purchase a credit to listen to it.

For first-time subscribers to Audible Plus, you won’t have a difficult time looking for something to listen to, because the app recommends popular titles from the Plus catalog at the Home tab. If that’s not enough, there’s a Discover tab that has plenty of curated lists, including Top Audible Plus listens. There’s also a Coming Soon section where future titles can be found.

Audible Home Tab

With Audible Premium Plus, on the other hand, the selection is unlimited.

Scribd vs. Audible: Under-The-Hood Features

What’s great about Scribd is that you get access to a significant collection of magazine articles, sheet music, podcasts, and more, as well as the ability to save user-contributed documents for printing or viewing offline. A membership also provides access to Scribd Perks, a number of free extra features that are not necessarily bookish. Sample services include obscure but free movie and music services. However, these perks can be a hit-or-miss, and they disappear occasionally.

On top of its audiobook offerings, Audible includes sleep tracks, meditation programs, and podcasts. In addition, you get 30% discount on audiobook purchases, deals, and exclusive sweepstakes if you’re subscribed to Audible Premium Plus.

Other Features, Pros, and Cons

Both services don’t offer DRM-free audiobook downloads. This means that you don’t really own the audiobooks: you’re just paying for a license to access them.

When it comes to availability, Audible is available on some Amazon devices such as Kindles and Alexa, while Scribd is only available on devices that can install apps. Scribd is available worldwide, though its international offerings are so-so. They aren’t even transparent when it comes to their audiobook catalog. They keep trumpeting that their service is “unlimited,” but they throttle usage, leaving you with two good enough audiobooks per billing cycle. After that, the newer stuff would get blocked from your personalized catalog; this would only reset after your next billing cycle. On the other hand, I like Audible’s transparency that even if you take advantage of the free trial and you cancel immediately, you really get to keep the audiobook.

If you want more Audible credits, there are options to purchase more: Audible Premium Plus for $22.95 per month for two credits, and annual subscriptions of $149.50 for 12 credits or $229.50 for 24 credits. Take note, however, that these credits do expire; you have one year to use them from the issue date.

Perhaps one good thing that Scribd always does is sending 30-day free membership offers when it has noticed you’ve been away for some time. But according to some Reddit users, free-trial users get limited selection of titles, meaning you get “blocked” from accessing all of what Scribd can offer.

Similarly, Audible sends discounted membership offers via email.

Which Is the Best for You?

Picking the winner is hard because Scribd and Audible are built differently; each has its own strengths in certain aspects.

If you’re a power listener who consumes more than four audiobooks a month, loves crime or romance, and don’t really mind getting backlist titles, I recommended trying Audible Plus. You get unlimited audiobooks for a flat $7.95 per month.

But if you want the latest audiobooks and don’t mind getting only two new audiobooks per month instead of the advertised unlimited listening, I suggest you pick Scribd. You’d still get to listen to more audiobooks after your first two, but those titles could be backlists and random.

If there’s no budget constraint, an Audible Premium Plus subscription reigns supreme as you get the best of both worlds.


Choosing the best audiobook service for everyday use can be difficult because there’s a lot of choices out there. Scribd vs Audible? If you’re still undecided, this in-depth review of Scribd may help.

And if you want more audiobook subscription services aside from them, make sure to check out these apps!

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