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Books Subscription Services. Like Netflix for Books!

I am a big consumer of media. I love to read and I also love to watch movies and television shows. Before Netflix streaming, where I pay $7.99 a month to consume any and all media on Netflix, I spent much more money buying and renting DVDs and Blu-ray discs. I recently discovered Scribd and Oyster and I am thrilled that I can now do the same with ebooks.

Scribd App

Scribd App

Scribd and Oyster are a bargain for anybody who loves to read. This is how they work:

  • You create an account and get a trial period to see how you like the service.
  • There is a subscription fee per month
  • You browse or search for books and read them online or on the Scribd or Oyster mobile apps. They won’t work on dedicated eReaders.
  • Just as Netflix doesn’t have all movies, you will not find all books. However, there are hundreds of thousands of books in each.
  • You can choose as many books as you want to hold in your library.
  • Each service allows you to download a certain amount of books that can be read even if you are offline.


I have been using the trial offered by both Scribd and Oyster. Here is how they compare:

  • Trial Period – Scribd gives you an entire month, while Oyster only gives a week.
  • Subscription Price – Scribd is $8.99 per month. Oyster charges $9.99 a month
  • Apps – Scribd offers apps for Apple, Android and Kindle Fire. Oyster currently only has Apple.
  • Downloads – While both services let you read as many books as you want, Scribd lets you download up to 20 books for offline reading. Oyster allows you to download 10.

As you can see, I think Scribd wins out. Even though the book collections are similar, Scribd also has some extras that I like. Some reasons to subscribe to Scribd that you might not have thought of:

  • Scribed has all of the “For Dummies” books available. While I rarely buy these books, I love knowing I have them at my disposal. What a great free reference item!
  • Scribd also has every Lonely Planet book. I now have resources at my disposal to plan vacations.
  • I love reading nonfiction on Scribd. Often I don’t feel the need to read the entire book, depending on the type of nonfiction. This way I feel less guilty since I didn’t pay for it.

I know not everyone has switched over from print books to ebooks yet. However, you don’t need to. You can still buy books that aren’t on Scribd or Oyster in print, and then have the luxury of getting to read other books that you might never have looked at before. And don’t forget the great resources from Scribd also. Use the free trial periods and check them out.

midlife boulevard, columnist, midlife women, middle-age, midlife crisis

Jennifer Wagner

In addition to writing two blogs, Connect with your Teens through Pop Culture and Technology and her new blog, Technology at Any Age, Jennifer Wagner has also published a book, The Gamer Generation: Reaping the Benefits of Video Games. She also writes about technology in education and social good on her blogs. She is married and lives in NYC and has two grown sons. Instagram: jenwag57

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Diane Durkin

Friday 30th of May 2014

Hi Jennifer! Loved the post, but it looks like Oyster has the complete dummies series too:


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