The new Scribd subscription - everything you need to know

What Scribd is all about:

Scribd is first and foremost a library, a place for folks to gather and read a good book! Our goal has never wavered, and as a company we've made a lot of changes over the years to really shape and deliver that vision. We recognize that the last couple of years especially has been really huge for us in terms of changes, and growth. For a lot of folks that can be really jarring, and to that we say - “we hear you”.

Why Scribd has changed its model:

As with any library (or business) there are certain costs involved in maintaining it. Books need to be purchased (or in our case - licensed). In the early days (or the glory days) of the internet, ebooks were the cheaper alternative. There were no physical processing fees, no trees to cut down, no physical books to ship (which at current shipping rates can get quite pricey!), and very low to minimal distribution fees. All you really needed was a good chunk of fiber, a few hard drives, and someone to move the books along.

These days, however, a lot has changed. We’ve gone from the wild west to a virtual renaissance. For the first time ever, demand for ebooks is right on par with physical books, and to that end - ebooks are just as expensive (if not more so!). Whole industries now exist solely to cater to ebook readers; the operating costs are astronomical and everyone gets a cut. From the author who writes the book and sends it to their publisher, to the editor who adjusts the formatting so that everything is just *so*, then again to the technician who mans the datacenter ops desk at 2am when there’s an outage - everyone’s on the payroll.

Every time you make a monthly subscription payment to Scribd, to your local library, or to any other company in your reading eco-system you’re paying to support that beautiful, complex, creative process.

“That’s a great history lesson, but what does that mean for ME?”

For most folks - nothing has really changed about the way you use Scribd. You still have access to the books you’ve read previously, you can still discover new reads the same way, and you can still read whenever and wherever you want to. We want this whole Monthly Credit process to be as unobtrusive as possible, and from what we have learned (through testing and careful research) - it is. In most cases, you really won't notice the Monthly Credit changes in your day to day life.

For a small slice of our community, however, this has been a shift from what you’re used to. And we know - that’s a huge bummer, and really not welcome or particularly happy news. That said, we’re continuing to do our best to make sure that everyone can still find something awesome on Scribd to enjoy.

Let’s call a spade a spade - as of March 21, 2016 Scribd has switched from an all you can eat buffet, to an “excess in moderation” kind of system.

With this update, your membership now includes:

  • Unlimited access to over 150,000 books across all of our available genres and book types including ebooks and audiobooks! (From Zombies to Cookbooks, we still have it all!)
  • Scribd Selects: a rotating collection of books and audiobooks handpicked by our editors, to which you have unlimited access
  • Monthly Credits: use these to unlock unlimited access to three books (ebooks) and one audiobook of your choice from the Scribd library of titles that will require a credit for full access
  • Substantial previews (up to 10% in some cases!) of any book or audiobook - don't like it? No problem, we'll never use your Monthly Credits without your permission; you'll always be prompted before spending one of your credits. 
  • Unlimited access to sheet music and documents
  • Unlimited access to articles from top magazines

We have a better run down in our FAQ, "What are Monthly Credits and how do I get them?". You can also learn more about our Scribd Selects category in this support guide.

“But I liked the old Scribd.”

The reading world is changing, and this means that Scribd has to change right along with it. We did the math, and we crunched the numbers - we tested, and re-tested. Our crack team of data scientists, product specialists, and leadership teams steadily worked around the clock for months to really evaluate our options for staying a part of your reading world in a sustainable and exciting way.

What we saw in our data showed a large population of enthusiastic readers using Scribd to supplement their regular reading - we’re right in the middle of your reading eco-system next to your local library, other streaming services, your favorite paperbacks, and even your friendly neighborhood magazine stand.

We also found that our business model, the “all you can eat buffet” of reading, attracted a small percentage of very hungry readers. Initially, this was totally expected - and even kind of exciting for us. But the costs of this kind of venture are incredibly difficult to feed, and while we've tried our best it's simply not sustainable in the long run.

As the ebook landscape changes, the needs of our community and the sustainability of our service will become a much larger part of our long term goals.

“Really not cool, guys”

Yes - this is new and it's definitely a change from how things were before. We know folks were worried about how constricting this would be and we've heard everyone's feedback. We completely understand and empathize with an initial feeling of apprehension; but there's small silver linings in the changes that were made. For example, we're now able to continue growing and expanding our catalog - that means all your favorites coming soon to a library near you!

We know how easy it is to assume the worst about a company, but we promise there's nothing greedy about the changes we've made. This is something that needed to happen to ensure we can maintain our original vision of bringing you what’s most important to us - a good and interesting read in your hand, anywhere you go.

If you still have questions, be sure to check out our other FAQs; if you need assistance with anything Scribd related, reach out to our support team!

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