Scribd vs Audible: The Audiobook Subscription Service Showdown

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It’s 2020, so unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know what audiobooks are.

Audiobooks brought in almost $1 Billion in revenue in 2018 and that momentum is continuing to grow.

Whether you queue up a motivational book on your morning commute, listen to Harry Potter while you clean the house or enjoy some historical fiction on your lunch break, audiobooks are continuing their upward momentum for many Americans.

Scribd and Audible are two of the biggest audiobook subscriptions available.

scribd vs audible infographic

Which side are you on in the Scribd vs Audible showdown?

Below, we will breakdown the difference between Audible and Scribd, so you can decide which service is right for you.

Benefits of Audiobooks

Young man listening to headphones on a bus

Here are a few reasons why audiobooks might be better for you than reading a book.


You can listen to books on-the-go in your car or while you are walking the dog. They can be downloaded on your phone, iPad, computer or tablet for easy access whenever you need it with the touch of a finger.

This saves you time and allows you to multitask while learning at the same time.

You can learn new things on your way to work instead of listening to that same radio host every day during your morning commute. Audiobooks are also a great choice for travel. Whether you are driving or flying an audiobook is a great way to pass the time.


Audiobooks can be played at 1.5X or 2X speed.

Meaning you can cruise through books much faster than if you were reading them. If you can still understand the audio, the increased speed should not affect your retention and allows you to digest a lot more information.

Improve Vocabulary

Hearing new words will help expand your vocabulary.

It’s easy to imagine how new words are pronounced in your head, but hearing them spoken out loud will help your comprehension and improve your vocabulary. Sometimes when you read a word, it might not make sense in the context, but hearing it might help you comprehend the meaning even better.


Some people retain information better when they hear it vs. read it. If you learn better by listening than audiobooks can help you learn information and retain information faster. There might be a topic you find really dull if you had to read it, but if you listen to the book it’s much more uplifting and exciting. You’ll remember it better in the long run if you are engaged.

Great for People with Reading Disabilities

Individuals with dyslexia and other reading impairments can retain much more information by listening vs. reading.

If you find it challenging to read audiobooks are a great alternative to absorbing information.

Sometimes people have to use so much effort reading that they are unable to focus on the comprehension and memory part of the story, which makes audiobooks much more desirable and enjoyable.

No Need for Light

It doesn’t need to be light out for you to catch up on an audiobook. Driving at night? Significant other already asleep in bed? Trying to get your baby to sleep? No problem!

You can listen to audiobooks at any time of the day and not worry about disturbing those around you.

Just make sure your headphones are sufficiently charged.

What is Scribd?

Laptop open to a SCRIBD screen
monticello /

Scribd has been around since March of 2007 when they opened the world’s first publishing platform. In 2013, Scribd became the world’s first reading subscription service. It offered readers the option to enjoy massive access to books for one flat monthly fee.

Scribd is one of the most popular audiobook subscription services out there, but they offer a lot more than just books.

On Scribd you can find sheet music, magazines and journal articles. You can also listen to original content available only to Scribd subscribers.

What is Audible?

Headphones next to a smartphone with the Audible logo
Mar Fernandez /

Audible has been around since 1995, when they started producing digital audio players (years before Apple iPods hit the market). They evolved into a leader in audiobooks after Amazon bought the company in 2008.

Audible offers the largest collection of audiobooks of any subscription service in the world. With hundreds of thousands of titles to download and listen to, it is extensive, but it focuses strictly on audiobooks. Currently, it does not offer the option to download other types of audio content.

Audible also creates original content, some of which is spoken and performed by some of the world’s best actors, comedians, and writers. Some of the amazing actors who have recorded for Audible include Zachary Quinto, Leslie Odom Jr. and Rosamund Pike.

Which is Better, Audible or Scribd?

Now that you know why audiobooks are a great alternative to reading. We will breakdown the differences between Audible and Scribd. From content to price to volume to restrictions we will cover it all so you can make the best decision.

Content Offered

Content is a significant factor in any service. Just like Netflix and Hulu, Scribd and Audible have different offerings. And in this case, the range of products is vastly different. When deciding which audiobooks subscription service to choose, it’s important to know what each one provides. We’ve done the research for you to help you decide which service is right for you!

Audible Content Offered

Picture of novels on Audible

Audible is strictly audiobooks. Yes, they have over 100,000 audiobooks, so if all you want to do is listen to audiobooks than Audible is your best option on the market.

Audible, similar to Netflix Originals, offers original content exclusive to them. Specific titles aren’t available anywhere else except on Audible.

And since Audible is owned by Amazon, you can listen to your audiobooks through Alexa. So the next time you’re cleaning the kitchen, prepping dinner or doing laundry, just ask Alexa to cue up your current book. It makes doing household chores SO much more enjoyable.

From new releases to original content to classics, you can listen to Audible books in a dozen different languages. You can even choose from abridged and unabridged versions (depending on your attention span and needs).

Scribd Content Offered

Books available on Scribd

Scribd offers audiobooks and more. They have eBooks, magazines, research papers and sheet music. The Scribd library is much more diverse.

With a premium membership from Scribd you can enjoy thousands of different audiobooks in different genres. You can also access short stories, essays, articles and a variety of different documents in addition to traditional books.

Scribd also offers original content that you can only listen to with a Scribd membership.

Download Ownership

Downloading your books is a great feature offered by both services. But what if you decide to cancel your subscription?

Will you still have access to your downloads? Yes and no.

Audible Downloads

When you purchase and download a book on Audible, that book is yours. It will stay in your library for you to read as many times as you would like on your device. Technically, you are buying a copy of the book.

If you decide to cancel your subscription, you will still have access to your downloads.

Scribd Downloads

Scribd is similar to Netflix. You can download as many things as you want, but you are just borrowing it. You are not purchasing anything but the right to download.

This means, if you cancel your subscription, you will not have access to your downloads anymore.


Price goes hand in hand with content. Price dictates behavior and Scribd and Audible differ considerably in this department too. While the prices for these two services vary considerably, both offer 30 day free trials so you can try them out! You’ll have to input your billing information to sign up for a trial, but it’s a great way to try them out before committing to paying for a membership.

Both Audible and Scribd allow you to cancel your membership at any time. If you don’t want your credit card to be charged, make sure you cancel your subscription before the trial period ends!

Audible Pricing

Screenshot of Audible's pricing structure

It’s important to know that Audible is owned by Amazon.

Audible has different membership plans and gives you various benefits depending on the plan. The cheapest plan starts at $7.95/month and it goes up to $14.95/month. Note: Audible Escape is strictly for romance books. Members can borrow up to 10 titles at the same time.

You might be wondering, what are credits?

Audible credits allow you to purchase any audiobook you would like no matter what the listed price of the books is; essentially, one credit equals one book. Your credits are only valid for one year. If you cancel your membership you will lose any remaining credits on your account.

How many credits you get each month depends on what membership plan you have. Gold plans include 1 credit per month, while platinum plans offer 2 credits each month.

You can buy more credits if you are on an annual Gold or Platinum plan and your credit balance is at zero. In addition, members receive two free Audible Originals every month as well as a 30% discount on purchases. You can listen to as many books as you want each month, but you’ll need to pay for additional credits.

Scribd Pricing

Screenshot of Scribd Membership Details

A Scribd membership is much cheaper, coming in at $9.99 per month for their Premium Package, but remember you do not own anything you download.

However, on Scribd, there is no limit to the number of titles you can listen to every month.

A monthly Scribd membership also provides you with the option to download a variety of PDF files that you can print or read offline. For faithful New York Times readers you can sign up for the Scribd + NYT bundle for $12.99 per month. With this package, you can enjoy all of the benefits of a Scribd membership as well as a subscription to The New York Times.


Knowing if your devices are compatible with a service is so important. You would hate to pay for a subscription and then go to try and download something just to find out it won’t work with your device.

Audible Compatible Devices

  • All iOS devices
  • All Android devices
  • Windows phones
  • Kindles (Fire, Oasis 8th & 9th Generation, Paperwhite and 8th Generation)
  • Sandisk & Creative MP3 players
  • VictorReader System
  • BrailleNote & Apex BrailleNote
  • Garmin & TomTom GPS devices
  • Mac & Windows computers

Scribd Compatible Devices

  • Apple devices iOS-9 or newer (this includes Apple Watches)
  • Android systems that are Android 4.4 or higher
  • Kindle Devices with Fire OS 4 or higher (this does not include paperwhite)

Scribd vs. Audible Summary

SCRIBD vs. Audible logos
  • Content: Audible and Scribd both offer an extensive library to their listeners, but Audible is the clear winner here because it offers basically every book (for a price). If you are determined to listen to a specific book that just hit the shelves, Audible is probably right for you.  If you are looking for more than audiobooks (like magazines and research papers), then Scribd is right for you.
  • Download Ownership: Audible is better if you want to keep your library forever. Scribd works more like Netflix, once you cancel your subscription, you can no longer access the content.
  • Compatibility: Both services work on most smartphones, which is what most people will use anyone. If we had to pick a winner, it would be Audible, but we doubt that’s a major factor for most users.
  • Price: If price is the major factor, Scribd is definitely cheaper. Like most services these days, both Scribd and Audible offer free trial periods for newcomers to test out their products.

Our suggestion is to signup and activate the complementary first-timer membership and see which one you like better! Then, once the trial period is up, you can decide which one you want to pay for moving forward.

You might also be interested in: The 10 Best Forthcoming Novels Of 2020

Christine Devereaux Evangelista

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