The past decade has been a big one for book lovers. While the traditional books have remained the same for a few hundred years, there’s recently been a big shift in how we consume books. Paper is no longer even necessary to dive head first into a good story. These days, all you need is a tablet, an ebook reader, or another smart device.
Not only that, but with the power of the internet, you now have access to virtually any book. All you need to do is subscribe to an ebook subscription service, and you can read what you want, when you want. But which ebook subscription service should you choose? Below are a three of our favorites, so you can educate yourself before committing to a service.
$9 per month
1 million ebooks, audiobooks, comics, and more
Extra documents, titles, and scientific papers available
Scribd is perhaps one of the better known services on this list, and for good reason. It has a number of unique features and comes at a cheaper price ($9) than its main competitor, Kindle Unlimited. Scribe also boasts a library of more than 1 million ebooks, audiobooks, comics, and other types of content. The books can be accessed through the attractive and easy-to-use app, though.
When you’re looking for a book in Scribd, you can browse based on genre or navigate a curated selection of books. You get 3 ebooks and 1 audiobook per month, but each month, Scribd curates a collection of best-selling ebooks and audiobooks that you can access without cutting into your allotment for the month.
One thing that truly sets Scribd apart from other services is the fact that it’s not limited to just books. You can also browse a 10,000-piece collection of Marvel comics through the service, as well as documents, court cases, self-published books, and various scientific documents. It also has a fairly expansive library of audiobooks, which are easy to access and listen to. Audiobooks are expensive, so this is perhaps the bets part of the deal when you subscribe to Scribd.
As far as the reading experience goes, Scribd offers everything you would expect — you simply need to tap in the correct zone to turn the page, pinch to zoom, and so on. You can also highlight and annotate a particular section of a book, which is great for those studying for a class. Scribd works on iOS and Android devices, but you can’t get its ebooks on ebook readers, unfortunately, which is a major detraction for anyone who wants to read on their Kindle, Kobo, or Nook.
Scribd is best for those who love audiobooks and alternative reading content like comic books as well as ebooks. It’s also cheaper than Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, even though it offers more than just ebooks. You can check out Scribd’s library before signing up to see if your favorites are included.
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$10 per month
This one is an obvious choice since Amazon has become the go-to for ebooks and ebook-related products. Kindle Unlimited allows users to access the entire Kindle library for a dollar more than Scribd, however, it also boasts a library of more than 600,000 ebooks, some of which are top-tier titles. It is a bit trickier to navigate the interface, and the recommendations aren’t quite as well curated as the ones in Scribd, but if you know what you’re looking for, you can easily find it.
A major drawback to the Kindle Unlimited service is that, while searching through the titles, you’ll still be able to see some books that aren’t included in your Kindle Unlimited subscription. Still, considering the service is available through Amazon, you can easily purchase these premium books if you so choose to without having to download another app.
Thousands of the included ebooks also feature an Audible audiobook version, which you can listen to if you prefer. You can also access news articles from Time and its related properties like People magazine.
Kindle Unlimited is probably the best choice for you if you already have a Kindle, though it’s still a solid choice if you’re an iOS or Android user. It’s also great for those looking for a large selection of newer titles, as well as those who still want the option to buy premium titles. And if you have a Kindle, all you need to do is find and download your desired book through Kindle Unlimited.
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Around $5 per month
Like Scribd, Bookmate offers a library of more than 500,000 books, which are organized by genre and as curated lists. The service doesn’t seem to have a ton of recognizable titles, however, Bookmate claims that the service is being updated “every day.”
The app is well-designed and easy-to-use, and offers the ability to save books for offline use, which is great for when you need reading material for a long flight. The trade-off for the service’s lack of well-known titles is that it’s a little cheaper than others on our list. The exact price depends on your region, but it typically costs around $5 per month. It only has ebooks, though, so if you’re into audiobooks or comics, Bookmate isn’t the one for you.
Bookmate is best for those who aren’t looking for titles in particular. If you’re content on browsing a wide selection of books and discovering something new, Bookmate may be perfect. If not, you may have a hard time finding everything you want in Bookmate.
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Sure, there aren’t tons of ebook subscription services out there, but there should be something for everyone. Scribd really is the best choice for most people — it has a decently sized library of books, access to other documents, and a well-designed and easy-to-use app. Kindle users, however, may prefer to go for Kindle Unlimited, and Bookmate is a great way to save a few bucks and find some great books you may not have heard of before. Scribd is our top pick — unless you have an ebook reader — mainly because it offers great variety for a very reasonable price.