Scribd vs Audible: An Extensive Feature Comparison

Whether you’re an avid reader, passionate listener or multimedia fan, ebook and audiobook subscription services now offer unlimited access to content for one affordable monthly fee. Two of the biggest players in this fast-growing category are Scribd and Audible.

At first glance, Scribd and Audible look quite similar—both let you browse vast digital libraries for a low monthly membership rate. But look closer and you’ll discover some important nuances in their pricing plans, available titles, audio quality and extra features.

To help clarify those key differences, we’ve put together this in-depth feature breakdown. We’ll be comparing Scribd and Audible across a range of categories, sharing exclusive insights and data, and revealing how they stack up for different user needs. Read on for the definitive guide before deciding where to subscribe!

A Quick Overview

Before jumping into the details, let‘s briefly introduce both services:


  • Founded in 2007 and based in San Francisco
  • Calls itself "the reading subscription that gives you access to millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, sheet music, and more”
  • Available online or via iOS/Android apps


  • An Amazon subsidiary founded in 1995 and based in Newark, New Jersey
  • Describes itself as “the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling”
  • Content can be streamed online or via apps on various devices

Now that you know the basics, let’s explore those key membership differences every prospective subscriber should understand inside and out:

Pricing and Plan Options

One major point of comparison between any two subscription services is inevitably the cost and plan options. Here‘s how Scribd and Audible break down:


  • $9.95 per month for everything
  • Cancel anytime

Scribd keeps things super simple—you pay a flat fee each month for unlimited access to their entire library. With this single plan, you can read or listen to whatever you want and cancel when needed with no long-term commitment.


MembershipMonthly FeeIncluded CreditsCost Per Credit
Annual$12.9512 (1 per month)$10.46
24-month$11.9524 (1 per month)$9.56

Audible employs a credits model—for a base fee each month, you receive one credit to redeem on any audiobook title from their catalogue. Additional credits can be purchased as needed, often at a lower effective price if you commit to longer annual plans.

At first glance, Scribd‘s single flat rate seems cheaper. But savvy Audible members who maximize their credits can often achieve a lower price per listen. We‘ll explore that more in the next section.

One key distinction around cost though is that once you spend credits at Audible, those unlocked audiobooks are yours to keep forever, even if you later cancel your membership. With Scribd, everything disappears if you stop paying.

Library Size Comparison

Audiobooks40,000+Over 220,000
EbooksOver 1 millionUnder 50,000

One look at the numbers explains why Audible members gain access to nearly six times more audiobook titles. They’ve focused strictly on spoken-word content since 1995, amassing by far the largest digital catalogue globally through big investments and deep publisher partnerships.

Scribd took a broader content approach spanning books, news, documents and audio. So despite having over 80 million total subscribers, their audiobook library remains far smaller than Audible‘s (though still sizable enough for most casual listeners).

If you also read ebooks however, Scribd’s collection absolutely dwarfs Audible’s negligible assortment. So weigh your format preferences here—Scribd for book lovers, Audible for audio fans.

Now you might be wondering…how many audiobooks can I really listen to per month? Is Scribd‘s smaller catalogue still sufficient?

Let‘s do some quick math with Audible credits as the benchmark:

  • At $14.95 per month, you get 1 credit
  • A typical audiobook costs $30-$50 from other retailers
  • By using credits, you save around 50-75% per listen
  • So realistically you can comfortably absorb 1-3 audiobooks per month

With this is mind, Scribd’s catalogue of 40,000+ provides more than enough choice for the average listener burning just 1-3 credits worth of content each month.

However, heavy audio users plus niche genre fans will likely still prefer Audible’s unparalleled breadth and depth spanning literally every imaginable category.

Audio Quality Differences

In addition to raw library size, Audible also outperforms Scribd when it comes to audio quality:


  • 64 kbps bitrate streams


  • Offers a range from 64-256 kbps
  • Majority of audiobooks at 128 kbps
  • 80% recent bestsellers available in CD-quality format

Without getting overly technical here, higher bitrate recordings contain more captured detail from the original studio master. This gets translated to your ears as improved clarity, dynamic range and overall listening fidelity.

So why does audio quality matter when choosing a service? Lower bitrate titles on Scribd can ultimately sound a bit flat, lifeless or muffled—especially for longer multi-hour listens. Audible‘s superior encoding keeps your books vibrant and immersive over time.

Now many casual listeners streaming in noisy environments may not notice huge differences. But discerning ears will definitely appreciate Audible‘s audio advantages.

Availability and Supported Devices

When it comes to accessing content across platforms, both services aim for ubiquity:


  • Web browser access
  • iOS and Android apps
  • Offline downloads offered


  • Online streaming
  • Apps for iOS, Android plus Windows
  • Alexa voice integration
  • Downloads available for offline play
  • Direct sync with Kindle e-readers

As you can see, Scribd and Audible take very similar mobile-first approaches. But Audible expands further into desktop operating systems while also directly integrating with Amazon‘s Kindle ecosystem.

This gives Audible a slight edge for users already immersed in that branded hardware environment. But otherwise the two offer broadly equivalent access options.

Special Features and Perks

Beyond just browsing for titles, both platforms offer some nice additional features:


  • Easily share documents or book links via email and social media
  • Up to 5 profiles supported per account
  • Download ebooks and audiobooks for offline usage
  • No long-term contracts—cancel anytime


  • Send audiobooks in your library to friends or family
  • Add notes and bookmarks while listening
  • Control playback speed as needed
  • Audible Originals: Get access to exclusive audiobooks
  • Daily Deals: Top titles discounted by 50-80%
  • Own your books forever, even after canceling

As you can see, both subscription services aim to enhance the core listening and reading experiences with useful bonus features. Audible perhaps goes a bit further with deep social sharing, personalized listening controls like playback speed, plus some temptation hooks like Daily Deals and originals.

Over time, small perks like these can really improve quality of life for heavy users on either platform.

Scribd vs Audible: Which Should You Choose?

Now that we’ve conducted this comprehensive feature-by-feature analysis, let‘s boil down those key takeaways into a quick decision guide:

Top Reasons to Choose Audible

  • Massive audiobook selection with over 220,000 titles
  • Higher audio quality for an improved listening experience
  • Credit system often works out cheaper long-term
  • Sync seamlessly with Kindle ecosystem
  • Keep all purchased books forever, even after canceling

Top Reasons to Choose Scribd

  • Cheapest entry-level price at just $9.95 per month
  • Addition of 1 million ebook titles for book lovers
  • Simpler single subscription with no credits required
  • Easily share documents and book links with others

So in summary:

If your goal is to maximize audiobook consumption every month across a vast range of categories and titles, Audible can‘t be matched for overall user experience.

However Scribd becomes the superior blended ebook/audiobook option if you also read traditional ebooks while listening on the go.

Hopefully these tangible insights help better frame both services against your specific usage, budgets and content format preferences!

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