Scribd made its $8.99-per-month ebook subscription a better deal Thursday by adding 30,000 digital audiobooks to the package. The move helps Scribd stand out from rival services Oyster and Kindle Unlimited and could attract new users who previously used services like the Amazon-owned Audible. Scribd’s service already included around 500,000 ebooks.
Audiobooks are “a natural extension of Scribd’s existing content offering,” CEO Trip Adler said. “This has been one of our most popular requests.”
To start, Scribd has audiobook deals with HarperCollins, Blackstone, Scholastic and Naxos. Blackstone is an independent audiobook publisher that works with other publishers like Hachette and Random House, meaning that through the deal Scribd gains access to audiobooks from publishers that aren’t working with it on the ebook side — and users will be able to listen to audiobooks that aren’t available on Scribd as ebooks.
The fact that Scribd is adding audiobooks to its service while keeping the price the same could be the deciding factor for users who are trying to choose among all-you-can-eat ebook subscription services. Oyster, at $9.95 per month, doesn’t have audiobooks. [company]Amazon[/company]’s Kindle Unlimited, $9.99 a month, includes about 2,000 “Kindle Unlimited with Narration” titles that allow users to switch back and forth between an ebook and its audio version, but they are not standalone audiobooks. Amazon still has its own separate paid audiobook subscription service, Audible, which has a much larger catalog than Scribd is offering but is also much more expensive — $14.95 per month for one book.
Audiobooks are available now to Scribd subscribers using Android, Kindle Fire, Nook tablet and web users. The company said it’s submitting its iOS app update to Apple on Monday, and audiobooks will be available through Scribd’s iOS app once Apple approves the update.