Scribd vs Audible: Which is best for audiobooks?

BookSummaryClub Blog Scribd vs Audible: Which is best for audiobooks?

The audiobook industry is booming at the moment, growing 24% a year, with no sign of it slowing down.

In fact, if you were to tell me that in ten years books will be written with audio as the priority, I wouldn’t be surprised.

While there are seemingly new audiobook services coming out of the woodwork every week, most are kinda crap.

In this article, I’ll compare Audible, one the real audiobook OGs, with Scribd, who I think has the potential to be their biggest competitor over the coming years.

If you want to learn more about Audible, you can read our review. Otherwise, keep reading for our Scribd vs. Audible comparison.

Don’t want to wait until the end? Our winner is…

For me, Audible is still the best option if you want to only listen to Audiobooks.

What takes the cake for me is the selection of Audiobooks on Audible, along with the fact that you own the books you purchase on Audible.

If you’re after a bit of a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ solution, then Scribd is a good choice, but I won’t be canceling my Audible subscription any time soon.

Get your first book for free on Audible

Breaking it down

To get an accurate comparison, we’ll be comparing the following essential topics:

  • Range of content
  • Number of Audiobooks
  • Content Ownership
  • Payment options
  • Value for money

Note: I have been a big fan of Audible for several years, but Scribd’s offer is excellent, so I may be eating crow on this one…

Range of content

Okay, when it comes to the variety of content, the winner is a no brainer.

While Audible is the ‘final boss’ when it comes to audiobooks, that is all they do. Scribd, on the other hand, does a hell of a lot more.

With Scribd, you can get the following:

  • Audiobooks
  • eBooks
  • Magazines
  • Snapshots (book summaries)


The winner is obviously Scribd, with a massive range of products other than just audiobooks.

Number of Audiobooks

As this article is solely about audiobooks, next we look at which of Scribd or Audible is the best for audiobooks.

As you can probably already tell, Audible specializes in Audiobooks, whereas Scribd is more of an ‘all-rounder’ service.

Audible has a selection of over 450,000 audiobooks to choose from, whereas Scribd has only a tiny fraction of that.

Scribed does offer some newer books, but nowhere near as many as Audible does. I have also read comments online that Scribd “throttles” your access to new and more popular audiobooks. That means that each month after you have listened to two or three books, the platform only allows you to access older, less popular audiobooks.

Then, the next month you will get the newer audiobooks back in your account offering.

However, it is essential to note that this is just from comments and reviews I have seen online and not from personal experience.


Regardless of Scribd ‘throttling’ the books you can view or not, Audible still offers a much more extensive range of Audiobooks to listen to. Audible is the clear winner.

Get your first book for free on Audible

audible library

Content Ownership

Another clear winner here.

When you purchase an audiobook on Audible, you’re actually buying a copy of the book.

This is contrasted to Scribd, which has a Netflix style approach. So, you never own any of the content you purchase, rather just pay for the rights to read/listen.


Again, Audible is the apparent champ.

When you cancel your Scribd subscription, you lose all access to every book you’ve read. Compared to Audible, where you control the titles in your library.

Payment options

Depending on what country you’re in, your Audible subscription will be slightly different.

The reason is that Audible is owned by Amazon, and they’re continually testing prices and membership layouts to get the optimal balance.

However, the ‘token and discount’ bundle has stayed consistent through Audible’s offerings over the years.

The ‘token and discount’ bundle: One free book every month, along with an added discount (usually around 30%) on any other purchases.

Don’t stress if you’ve never heard of the ‘token and discount’ approach, as I literally just made it up then.

This is compared to Scribd’s flat offering of around $9 a month, with no lock-in contract.


Personally, I like the simplicity of Scribd’s flat membership fee. Scribd is the winner here.

Value for money

Value for money when it comes to comparing Audible and Scribd comes down to one key factor:

  1. Do you want just audiobooks?

If you want a bit of everything and don’t care if you can’t find the specific book you’re looking for, Scribd’s $9 a month is a steal.

On the other hand, if you’re just looking to buy audiobooks and couldn’t care less about eBooks and online magazines, Audible is a clear winner.

Another question to consider is if you buy into the belief that Scribd does, in fact, limit books without telling you.

To be honest, I can unquestionably see a world where Scribd does throttle your book selection. 

Every time a reader reads a book, Scribd has to pay royalties to the publishers. The fees may not be massive, but they are considerable.

For example, when I publish a long-form book summary to Scribd through Draft2Digital, I receive a bit over $1. Which may not sound like a lot, but the title is only $2.99 to buy in full, so it is a fair percentage.

I can only think about the royalties on a more expensive eBook or Audiobook.

After one or two books, readers are costing Scribd quite a bit of money.

If Scribd is narrowing their already limited range, then you’re clearly not getting great bang for your buck.

However, as mentioned earlier, this is just a rumor and has not been confirmed.


For me, Audible is the best value for money. This is especially true if you’re just looking for audiobooks.

Get your first book for free on Audible

Final recount

Audible – 3
Scribd – 2

It was a tight affair, but if you’re looking for an audiobook retailer, Audible is still the best choice.

The good, the bad and the ugly

No product or service is perfect. Both Audible and Scribd have their positives and negatives you’ll have to deal with.

Pros of Scribd

    • Audiobooks
    • eBooks
    • Online magazines
    • Netflix style approach
  • Cheap monthly price (only $9)
  • A one-month free trial
  • No lock-in contracts

Cons of Scribd

  • A smaller selection of each content type
  • Fewer audiobooks
  • Rumors of Scribd hiding specific titles away from subscribers
  • Potentially false or shady marketing if the talk is true

Pros of Audible

  • The ultimate in Audiobooks
  • A massive selection of audio
  • You own the titles you buy
  • Compared to when you had to buy audiobooks on CDs, is cost-effective
  • One-month free trial
  • Cancel at any time
  • All the new audiobooks and classics
  • A far more extensive selection of indy titles
  • One free book a month
  • Added discount (usually 30%) on additional purchases

Cons of Audible

Scribd vs. Audible: Our final verdict

While both Scribd and Audible are great, if you’re looking at getting into audiobooks and want a subscription, then Audible is still the market leader and best choice.

Personally, I came into this experiment half-expecting to cancel my Audible subscription and move across to Scribd, however, after looking through all the options, I’ll stick with Audible.

Get your first book for free on Audible

Hey, I’m Erik… a Swedish university student, marketing professional, and life-long learner. Here at BookSummaryClub I summarize my favorite non-fiction books into easily digested posts. Hope you like what you’re reading!

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