I am an audiobook lover with a library of over 350 books, and I have a full subscription to Audible and Scribd.
I have been using Audible for the last ten years and Scribd since 2019, so I feel I am in a good position to provide an unbiased and detailed review of both services and highlight the significant differences.
Scribd vs. Audible Summary
The key differences between Scribd and Audible are with Audible, you own the books forever, and with Scribd, you rent access to the book.
Audible has higher audio quality and is the largest library. With Scribd, you can access written content, a flat monthly fee to listen, but a much smaller library of books you will never own.
Scribd and Audible offer great services; after significant usage and testing, I assure you that you will be happy with either service. Which one you choose depends on what you are looking for.
|Scribd vs. Audible Results
|Do You Own the Audiobook?
|Lifetime Access to Books
|Good (32 kbps)
For me, Audible beats Scribd for five important reasons; however, Scribd also has three great advantages.
5 Reasons Why Audible is Better Than Scribd
- Audiobook Ownership: With Audible, you own the books; with Scribd, you only rent access to the library.
- Lifetime Access: With Audible, you still own the books after you end your subscription.
- Library Size: Audible has over 200K titles; Scribd does not officially mention how many titles, but I estimate less than 40K.
- Audiobooks per Month: Scribd claims unlimited listening, but it does throttle and limits access if you listen to more than 4 per month (according to Reddit Users & the Scribd User Agreement).
- Audio Quality: Audible’s audio quality is significantly better at 64 kbps than Scribd’s 32 kbps.
3 Reasons Why Scribd is Better Than Audible
- Scribd is cheaper than Audible by $29.50 per year.
- Scribd also provides access to its eBook Library.
- Scribd has over 100 high-quality magazines, a document library, and even sheet music.
Scribd vs. Audible Product Comparison
|Scribd vs. Audible Product Comparison
|Do You Own the Audiobook?
|Lifetime Access to Books
|Good (32 kbps)
Do you own the Audiobook?
For me, one of the most important elements of books or audiobooks is that you get to keep the books you pay for. I own over 350 titles valued at $2,800 and am pleased to hand them down to my children in the future.
Scribd offers an unlimited listening subscription, but you are just borrowing the book for the duration of your subscription. When you end the subscription, you have nothing. With Audible, you can still log in and use the app after the subscription ends.
Library & Audio Quality
New releases and bestsellers are inevitably released on Audible first as its market share and customer base make it irresistible to publishers. Audible always has the latest releases and has the world’s most extensive audiobook library with over 200,000 titles.
Scribd does not release how many audiobooks they have, probably because it would not be great for PR; I went through their library for over one hour and estimated it to be no more than 40,000 titles, many of them older, lower-quality titles.
Audible also provides industry-leading audio quality with a bit rate of 64 versus Scribd’s standard 32-bit; you will notice the difference if you are an audiophile with great speakers or headphones.
Content Comparison Scribd vs. Audible
Regarding The breadth of non-audiobook content, you have a clear winner in Scribd. Scribd offers an excellent choice of magazines, eBooks, and even a useful document repository and sheet music. Buying sheet music is expensive, so Scribd could be a great choice if you are a musician.
Scribd vs. Audible Pricing Comparison
|Scribd vs. Audible Pricing
|Cost per book/monthly subscription
|Cost per book/yearly subscription
Regarding pricing, if you want to rent books and audiobooks only and are not too worried about the latest bestseller, you will save $42.10 per year with Scribd.
With Audible, you will own one audiobook per month on a yearly subscription of $149.50 or $12.45 per book, the cheapest in the industry.
As mentioned, Scribd claims unlimited listening, but it does throttle and limit access if you listen to more than four books per month (according to Reddit Users & the Scribd User Agreement). This is not really unlimited listening and has outraged some users. This would be like Netflix saying you have binged a TV series too much and need to wait until next month.
All in all, this section is tied. It costs more with Audible, but you buy the books you want immediately and have them for life. Scribd costs 30% less for a larger selection of lower-quality content, but you may be restricted if you use too much.
Scribd vs. Audible Apps & Devices Comparison
|Scribd vs. Audible Apps & Devices
|App Store Rating
|iPhone, Android, PC, TV, Alexa, Kindle, Fire TV
|iPhone, Android, PC
Both Audible and Scribd provide great mobile apps that are highly rated in the App Stores by users. The biggest difference is that Audible will play on your Smart TV, Amazon Firestick, and even Alexa will play audiobooks. Scribd does not have this.
Scribd vs. Audible Customer Service Comparison
|Scribd vs. Audible Customer Service
|Books Return Policy
|1 Year, No Questions Asked
|Nothing to Return
|Phone, Chat, Email
One of the most important reasons Audible is the clear winner for me is that they have the industry’s best returns policy. If you do not like a book, for whatever reason, the narrator, the plot, or it is boring, you can return it within one year of purchase, no questions asked.
However, with Scribd, there is nothing to return because you did not purchase anything.
If you have a problem, Audible is available 24/7 via email, chat, or phone, whereas Scribd only has online support with a multi-day wait.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Scribd better than Audible?
Scribd is better than Audible if your priority is the written word, such as eBooks, Magazines, documents, and sheet music. If your priority is purely Audiobooks, then Audible is far better than Scribd.
Is Scribd more ethical than audible?
Scribd and Audible are both US companies, and there is no evidence to suggest that Scribd is more ethical than Amazon's Audible company.
Is Audible better than Scribd?
Yes, Audible is better than Scribd if you want to own the latest Audiobooks and own them for life. If you prefer paying for broader access to older eBooks and Audiobooks without owning them, then Scribd is a good option.
Which subscription is better for audiobooks, Scribd or Audible?
Who has more audiobooks, Scribd or Audible?
Audible has more audiobooks than Scribd. Audible has a library of 220,000 audiobooks versus Scribd, with 40,000+.
Full Scribd Review
The Best Unlimited Audiobook Subscription Service but Limited Titles & Throttling of Access
Scribd Review Summary
There are a lot of fans of Scribd out there, especially avid readers and audiobook listeners.
Scribd announced something new in the media world: a Flat Rate unlimited access to audiobooks, ebooks, and magazine Library.
This essentially went viral because, before this announcement, everyone was forced to pay for audiobooks individually.
There is nothing official from Scribd, but I estimate the audiobook library to contain about 30,000 to 40,000 titles; this is a lot lower than Audible or Audiobooks.com, but I also suspect that the publishers receive a lot less revenue from Scribd, so they are less inclined to release new and best-selling titles.
Netflix for Audiobooks – Scribd
Scribd is very similar to Netflix in its business model; it licenses content from publishers and pays them on a per-use basis.
As consumers, we see only a low flat rate monthly subscription charge for a large amount of content.
The monthly subscription is so low because you do not own the books; you can access them for the duration of your subscription.
It isn’t easy to compare Scribd for audiobooks with Audible or Audiobooks.com.
The Scribd library is not as large, does not contain the sheer depth of blockbusters, and bestseller titles and popular books are throttled.
Aside from that, I have found many audiobooks to enjoy, including the entire works of Tolkien and books by my favorite British comedians.
Scribd will become tiresome for the hardcore audiobookphile, but it is quite compelling for casual listeners who enjoy magazines and ebooks.
Scribd has 100 magazines, which you can access via browser or the app. I was impressed because there are some good magazines included.
Flagship magazines like Time, T3, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Newsweek, and Inc are included.
I was very excited to see this, but after reading a few magazines, I realized the experience is not like reading a magazine.
I do not mean the paper; I mean the layout and editing. The magazine articles are in simple HTML with simple images; some magazines, like T3, were poorly formatted.
This detracted from the magazine experience.
Scribd – Key Feature & Benefits TabeScribd - Key Feature & Benefits Tabe
Scribd Pricing Plans
The Scribd pricing is straightforward; it is $9.95 per month for unlimited access to their library of books, audiobooks, and 100+ magazines for the duration of your subscription.
If you stop the subscription, you lose access. For many, this is not a problem; if you listen to many audiobooks and are not interested in building up a library of books you own, then it is a great solution.
I have been with Audible for ten years. I have 350 audiobooks, which cost me approximately $2,800 over that period, but those books are mine for life and my children.
If I had been with Scribd for that period, it would have cost me $1072, but I would own nothing. It is like the difference between renting and owning your own home.
Customer Service & Returns Policy
I have seen many complaints online that Scribd is throttling heavy audiobook consumers as they consume too many books. Also, I have read that certain bestselling titles are restricted to one or two per user per month or not even visible to some users.
I have not experienced this, but I understand that it is a balancing act for Scribd to ensure they earn revenue from what they need to pay to publishers and that some do not abuse the system.
Scribd – A Good Collection of the Written Word & Music
You could never get bored inside the SCRIBD ecosystem; you can see below the sheer depth of content available for the small monthly subscription.
Scribd App & Device Compatibility
Scribd App Store Rating: 4.5 ☆ Excellent
I have been using the app with my subscription and found it delightful. Running on Android and iPhone, the app has everything you need to enjoy audiobooks and other media.
Key App Functionality:
- Sleep timer
- Bookmarking & Note Taking
- Playback speed control
Scribd Review Summary
Scribd gets our recommendation. Although it cannot compete head-to-head with Audible on audiobooks alone, it provides added value for magazines, eBooks, and even sheet music. So, if you are looking for a good written work package, look no further.
Full Audible Review
Audible Review Summary
Audible is the leader in the audiobook industry, with by far the largest library of titles with over 200,000 audiobooks.
I should know; I have been an Audible member for ten years.
New releases and bestsellers are inevitably released on Audible first as its market share and customer base make it irresistible.
For me, one of the most important elements of books or audiobooks is that you get to keep the books you pay for.
Some services, such as Scribd, offer an unlimited listening subscription, but you are just borrowing the book for the duration of your subscription. When you end the subscription, you have nothing.
With Audible, you can still log in and use the app after the subscription ends.
Audible Features, Benefits & Costs TableTable 1: Audible Audiobook Service, Features, Benefits & Costs
Audible Pricing Plans
With Audible, you need a subscription, which means you get to buy books at a tiny fraction of their retail value. Some believe that Audible is expensive, but the reality is that they are the cheapest way to buy audiobooks.
Audible subscription – $14.95 per month
The entry-level Audible subscription is the best value because you will get one credit for any title and one free Audible Original title. You get two monthly books for $14.95, therefore $7.48 per book.
If you pay this subscription annually, you will pay $149.50, meaning you get two free months, and this brings the average cost per book down to $4.13, the lowest cost in the industry.
You could also opt for $22.95 per month for two audiobook credits and 2 Audible Original titles, but that works out at $5.50 per book.
Whichever subscription you choose, you will get 30% off any other purchases. But the best news is that even if you run out of credits, Audible will allow you to buy additional credits at $5 to $7 per credit, depending on their offers.
Additionally, nearly every single week, you will receive special promotions for “2 books for 1 credit” or “Every book for $3”, which are excellent deals.
Finally, Audible has a massive selection of exclusive professional Podcasts they offer free to members. They will also send you Christmas stories for the family and children at Christmas, a really nice touch.
Audible Content & Quality
Over the past few years, I have noticed incredible growth in Audible original and exclusive content. Audible, an Amazon company, can invest heavily in differentiating itself from its competitors.
- Audible Originals – Produced by Audible Studios, high-quality blockbuster titles like Winter Rising by Alex Callister (11 hours 31 minutes)
- Audible Original Podcasts – Free Podcasts Exclusively from Audible, featuring big names such as Stephen Fry’s “Victorian Secrets” (7 hours 40 minutes)
- Audible Theatre – High-end theater production from great names, for example, Stories by Heart by John Lithgow
Audible offers two formats, Enhanced and Format 4. Format 4 is for those who value space rather than audio quality.
I download all my books in Enhanced format. This is exclusive to Audible! Audiobooks in Enhanced format are minimally compressed, so their audio quality is the best on the market. However, this means that the audiobook file is also large and takes more time to download.
Audible Customer Service & Returns Policy
One of the most important reasons Audible is the clear winner for me is that they have the industry’s best returns policy. If you do not like a book, for whatever reason, the narrator, the plot, or it is boring, you can return it within one year of purchase.
Great Listens Guarantee
Nothing is worse than paying for a disliked book; Audible removes this problem with their “Great Listens to Guarantee.”
You can go to Account -> Purchases -> Click Return Title, and your credit is immediately refunded.
I would know I have returned so many books for one reason or another, and never once have they said no.
Finally, you can contact Audible via phone, chat, or email. I have used chat many times, and they are available instantly, 24/7, with no wait; that is a great service.
Audible App & Device Compatibility
Play Store App Rating – 4.6 ☆ Excellent
Having used the Audible App for ten years, I can safely say it is rock solid, easy to use, and perfect.
The Audible App has the following key features:
- Car Mode – Make the App simple to use when driving with bigger buttons.
- Books Sharing – Send a Book to a Friend or share your progress
- Clips, Bookmarks & Notes – saving sound clips and making notes
- Sleep Timer – useful for listening when you go to bed, so it does not play all night
- Variable Speed Playback – great for slow narrators or digesting long books quicker
Your Audible books will play on all devices from Apple, Android, and Smart TVs; even the Amazon Alexa smart speaker will read them to you.
Audible Audiobook Download Speeds
Downloading an audiobook to your phone is incredibly quick; usually, within 30 seconds, you can start listening to a book. This is because the intelligent downloading system allows you to start listening before downloading the entire audiobook.
Audible Customer Satisfaction
They say customers vote with their feet; if this is the case, our recent audiobook survey suggests that Audible Customers are very happy. Audible was the most popular choice of audiobook service in our 1,000-strong poll.
Why Audible Video