Last February, Scribd announced changes to its subscription service that would begin in mid-March. Planned changes included limiting monthly reads to only three books and one audio book, along with offering a limited selection of unlimited access titles.
Scribd began implementing the new system today. They started by unveiling the first installment of Scribd Selects on their blog. Selects are an assortment of books, audio books and comics chosen by Scribd editorial team, which can be read without additional cost or having to using one of the three allotted Monthly Read credits. This is the unlimited access portion of the subscription that Scribd previously told us about.
These titles also come with a bit of extra reading time. If you don’t have time to finish a Scribd Select during a month, you have an additional two weeks to finish the title before requires the use of a Monthly Read credit for continued access.
The March selection of titles draws books from various categories, including history, art, biography, children’s books, leadership,self-help, food, as well, as a variety of titles from genres like mystery, fantasy, science fiction and romance.
You can find the Scribd Selects lists on the Editor’s Picks Pages. They can also be found throughout various category sections. Or, you can find them on the Scribd website where they are listed separately as a book list, an audiobook list, and a comics list.
Scribd has updated its app to incorporate the new membership features. These app changes include adding Scribd Selects, filtering the library to hide previews and filtering full access titles in the user library. The buttons on the book page have also been reorganized. Users are required to agree to the new terms and conditions when installing the new app.
There are a few interesting points in the Scribd Paid Access End User License Agreement:
The new TOS clearly distinguishes between direct purchases and membership. This made me wonder if Scribd is also attempting to position itself as an ebook retailer.
There are also a few restrictions: One says “You may not exceed usage limitations set by content providers (participating publisher or user).” I am not exactly sure what that means. Does that mean we can be throttled for reading too much content? I wonder.
The terms also state that you can only accumulate three monthly audio book credits or nine monthly book credits at one time. Since Scribd gave everyone several free credits in February when they announce the new content terms and since I seldom listen to audio books through Scribd (I had an Audible subscription), I now have six audio book credits built up. I need to check if those will expire.
One important point clarified in the TOS: Once you have accessed a monthly book or audio book on the service you will be able to continue to read or listen to that title as long as your membership remains active in the material remains available on Scribd’s services. That means it is not exactly like a a library book that expires.
The TOS also states if Scribd removes commercial content that you have purchased, it may provide to you, at its sole discretion, a limited window of time in which to download such removed commercial content. I intend to ask for a clarification of this one before I buy anything. Does this mean I am buying it or not?
At the present time, you can purchase additional audio books from the service, but you cannot purchase additional monthly reads or comics.
Is it just me, or do some of these new terms sound a little murky? Or murkier than than the typical legalese….
So, what do you think of the changes to Scribd? Does this sound like what you expected it was going to be like?
So glad you did a writeup. I’ve been going mad with all of the changes. Lost well over 100 books that I was reading in the last 15 months. Most of those lost were read more than 60%.
Checking my account, I do NOT see that I received any extra credits at all in Feb. Did not know others received such bonuses. A little jealous actually.
The new TOS are very confusing. And if the TOS detail that books that were read beforehand (“TOS: Once you have accessed a monthly book or audio book on the service you will be able to continue to read or listen to that title as long as your membership remains active”) then Scribd is in major violation on my account. I’ve lost both ebooks and audiobooks from this year. Additionally, I have discovered today that 14 of my previously read audiobooks are “Not Available” plus 2 are “Expiring.” Additionally found 12 audiobooks and 4 ebooks that I had bookmarked to read (or had just started reading) that are also no longer available through Scribd. Publishers may be jumping ship.
Finally, the fact that one cannot use the Unlimited functionality yet shows carelessness. We members are already stressed out over the new changed membership system, why add insult to injury by not having a way for us to see the supposed 150k unlimited books? All I have seen is 240 Selects ebooks. Deeply regretting my annual membership.
I am so sorry! It sounds like you have had a very difficult time with this changeover. A lot of people have said that they were leaving the service under the circumstances.
A couple of points for clarification:
The extra credits do not show in the account as having been sent in February. They are just listed as available credits. I believe the notification was in the email Scribd sent outlining the March changes but I had already deleted the email so I can’t double check.
The new TOS did not take effect until March 21st, so anything that happened before than would have been under the old TOS. Have you contacted customer service about the issues you are having?
I also am very concerned about which titles are available. I have not had a chance to go through my TBR on Scribd list yet. I can tell you that I will be following up on the changes again after I have had a chance to use it a little more on both Android and IOS.
Thanks for your reply, and for the clarification about TOS before and after Marc 21st.
As far as credits, I probably won’t see or receive those because I have the annual account, so my credits always trickle forward to the max amount “bankable.” But who knows, maybe they are in there! Sadly, one of the books I specifically used a credit on is also no longer available. Going to look through my emails and see about that message from Scribd that may reference bonus credits. The bonuses may help me offset the overall losses (well over 100,) though barely. I hesitate to contact support just yet. Surely they must be overwhelmed, and my inquiry about 100+ titles might gain me better options if I contact when things are calmer. Though maybe the reverse is true…
On a brighter note, the Unlimited Titles functionality finally seems to show some books that are *actually* unlimited. It only seems to work one particular way for me at this time. (I’m using browser, so not sure about Droid or IOS versions yet.) If I go to the search box and enter a term like “Vitamin” then click enter, a screen shows “Books Matching Vitamin.” After clicking that, I see a drop down menu above those books that says ‘All Titles,” and I can click to select “Unlimited Titles Only.” Once I choose a book from that grouping, I see “Start Reading” instead of “Start For Free.”
In the link Nate posted, it says:
“We would hate to get in between anyone and the end of a good book, so if you find for any reason you weren’t able to finish a title in time or you’re having trouble accessing certain titles just give our support team a shout and we’ll be happy to help!”
I would call them. “Please and thank you are free” as they say. 🙂
The FAQ suggests that a lot of content was going to be lost in the chageover:
The thing I was not clear about whether they mean lost from the service in general or lost from the unlimited title selection. Upon re-reading today, it sounds like they don’t know what the heck is going.on! 🙂
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