Amazon Kindle Unlimited vs. Scribd vs. Oyster: E-book subscriptions conflict it out

October 3, 2014 - Kindle Unlimited


Nate Ralph/CNET

E-book subscription services are all a fury this year, interjection in partial to Amazon. The decades-old book tradesman denounced a possess total book subscription, Kindle Unlimited, on Jul 18, aiming to contest with Oyster and Scribd, allied services that have been around given 2012.

With 3 really identical e-book lending libraries opposed for your income any month, it’s tough to tell a differences between them during a glance. I’m diving into any use to prominence a best facilities and limitations.

How they work

With any of these e-book subscriptions, we get total entrance to their whole book libraries for a monthly fee. You can review as many books as we want, for as prolonged as we want, and with any service, we can download books for offline reading. Unlike a normal library, there are no due dates, so we can hang on to a book for as prolonged as like, usually like we would with a Netflix DVD. But like a library, we do not possess a books we read, and if we cancel your subscription, we can no longer entrance any of a titles you’ve saved.

Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited costs $9.99 per month, and offers around 600,000 books that we can lease for as prolonged as we want. The book catalog includes many renouned and best-selling books we won’t find in a other services, including a “Hunger Games” and “Harry Potter” array and “Life of Pi.” There are also copiousness of classics, such as “Animal Farm,” “Moby Dick” and Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”

There’s no dedicated Kindle Unlimited app; instead, we pointer adult for a service, crop Amazon’s website for books, and download them to your Kindle device. You can also use a Kindle apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone to find and review books. One of a biggest downsides of this use is that browsing and acid Amazon’s website for books can be tedious, given even when we hunt within a Unlimited titles, you’ll still get formula that aren’t free. The upside, is that distinct Oyster or Scribd, we can also emporium for paid e-books on Amazon while also grabbing giveaway books.

If we use a Kindle e-reader, Kindle Unlimited is a your best gamble here, given we can't download Scribd or Oyster books on a e-ink readers. If we have a Amazon tablet, such as a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, or a Fire Phone, we can use Oyster or Scribd. However, conjunction app is accessible in a Amazon Appstore, so you’ll need to use a workaround to get them onto your device.

Best for: Kindle Unlimited is good if we already have an Amazon device and wish to review giveaway e-books on it, as good as emporium for paid books. It’s also a best choice if you’re looking for a wider operation of popular, complicated array and newer titles.


Oyster’s categorical offered indicate is that a app is beautifully designed, and it gives we several ways to customize your reading experience. It’s easy, even enjoyable, to crop a catalog of 500,000-plus books to find something to read. There are many contemporary and classical choices, including “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” Anthony Bourdain’s “Medium Raw” and “The Great Gatsby.”

While reading, we can use one of 5 themes to change a rise style, content accent tone and credentials hardness of any book, trimming from a elementary black-and-white thesis to a colorful and complicated design. Most books are formatted so they are easy to read, yet we beheld that some cookbooks and other books with lots of visible elements had some formatting issues.

Overall, Oyster is a beautiful e-book subscription service. It costs $10 per month and is accessible for iOS and Android. Though it’s lacking many best-sellers and new releases, it offers copiousness of books to keep we busy.

Best for: Oyster is my tip choice if we wish to review e-books on your iPad, Android inscription or smartphone. The app’s pattern is enticing, and a book preference is sundry and easy to browse.


Last on my list, Scribd is really identical to Oyster, yet with a few singular features. It has a catalog of some-more than 500,000 books that we can steal for usually $9 per month, one dollar cheaper than Kindle Unlimited and Oyster. The app is simply designed, with books orderly into genres and curated collections for we to browse.

The preference varies a small from Oyster’s, yet both services have many of a same books and seem to supplement a same books during a same time. However, Scribd is blank several titles that Oyster has, so usually keep in mind a preference is a bit some-more limited. However, Scribd recently combined around 15,000 new e-books from publisher Harlequin, that is best famous for a intrigue novels.

One perk of Scribd is that over usually e-books, a Android and iOS apps also give we entrance to thousands of documents, that embody justice cases, systematic studies, and even self-published books.

Best for: A tighten second to Oyster, Scribd is good if we wish to save a dollar any month and don’t mind blank out on a few titles. It’s a good choice if we wish to review books on your computer, as good as an Android or iOS device.

Don’t forget a library

While paid e-book subscription services are a good proceed to get your hands on books we competence not buy individually, and they offer a preference of no due dates, it’s during slightest value looking into your internal library’s e-book offerings.

In many cities, libraries lift endless catalogs of mint releases and comparison e-books that we can borrow for free. All we need is a library card. In San Francisco, for example, a city’s open library complement mostly gets new releases as shortly as they come out. The usually downside to this proceed is that a books we steal have a singular lending duration with an death date, and it’s infrequently formidable to replenish e-book titles.

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