Dear Author has posted a really useful and comprehensive review of Kindle Unlimited, Scribd and Oyster—the three main eBook subscription services. They look at not just the title selection, but also the usability of the apps and the overall user experience.
I was heartened to see that Scribd, the only choice available internationally, took top marks from them. Scribd has both traditionally published and self-published titles, allows up to 20 borrows at a time, and has an elegant and nicely produced user interface. There were a few in-progress improvements called for, but overall, it surpassed the more limited catalogue at Oyster and the somewhat clunky web-based user menu at Kindle Unlimited.
I was pleased to see Canada-friendly Scribd take the lead, but I am still not subscribing. I prefer to read on e-ink, so that rules it out on one front (everybody except for Amazon is tablet-based for now) but on another front, I still have access to so many free or low-cost books that I have plenty to read. Even if I buy one new title a month to supplement my library borrows, it’s still less than the cost of a month’s subscription. Perhaps one day, when I have exhausted my backlog of unread purchases, I could see myself switching over to such a model completely. But for me, not yet. My next subscription trial is going to be magazines, since I can’t get those elsewhere and I can read enough of them per month to make a subscription worthwhile.