Subscription-based ebook service Scribd announced yesterday that it will expand its content library for subscribers through a new Scribd Perks program. In addition to the millions of ebooks, audiobooks and magazines the company offers now, Scribd will offer free access to music, movies, documentaries, comics, educational games and more. Scribd Perks will offer complimentary subscriptions via premium partners including Pandora, TuneIn, Peak – Brain Training, CuriosityStream, Cinedigm’s CONTV + Comics, FarFaria and MUBI.
“With millions of people around the world continuing to shelter in place, having access to different forms of enrichment is more important than ever before,” said Trip Adler, CEO and co-founder of Scribd, in yesterday’s announcement. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with leading consumer brands to offer a more accessible way for people to easily stay informed, entertained, and connected. Scribd is designed to help people explore the world’s best content, and now, with the launch of our new Scribd Perks platform, there’s even more premium content to discover.”
In the announcement, Scribd shared details of what subscribers can expect to receive through its partners:
Pandora Plus: ad-free music and podcasts, personalized for listeners based on their favorite artists, songs and genres
TuneIn Premium: commercial-free news (MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News Talk), music and podcasts and live sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL)
Peak Pro: educational games for “brain training” to help app users develop cognitive skills with stimulating games and workouts
CuriosityStream: documentaries and series featuring topics including space, art, history, travel, cars and more
CONtv + Comics: movies and nearly 10,000 digital comic book issues from IDW, Valiant, Dynamite Entertainment and others
FarFaria: a read-aloud story book app with thousands of illustrated books for children ages 1 to 9.
MUBI: A curated collection of films
“Scribd’s mission is to change the way the world reads. We have been at the forefront of the bundling movement by bringing together documents, e-books, audiobooks, magazine articles, and more into one reading subscription. With these new partnerships and the launch of Scribd Perks, we are excited to expand on our bundling model and continue to diversify and improve our content offering for subscribers,” said Scribd in the announcement.
Scribd subscriptions are $9.99 per month for unlimited content, after a 30-day free trial. Subscriptions are automatically renewable. Some restrictions apply; see Scribd’s terms and conditions for details. The company compares its subscription offer to its top competitors – Audible and Kindle Unlimited, both owned by Amazon.
Launched in March 2007, Scribd was the first open publishing platform for people to share documents with each other. In October 2013, the company launched its reading subscription service with access to books for a flat fee. In November 2014, Scribd added audiobooks, and in December 2015, sheet music, followed by magazines (November 2016), news articles (May 2017) and Scribd Originals (April 2019). In January 2019, Scribd boasted it had grown to 1 million subscribers.
Though Scribd seems to be stable now, adding and expanding over time, there were some bumps along the way including pricing and content adjustments. For example, in July 2015, the company cut back on its romance catalog because frequent readers were accessing too many books. In January 2017, they pulled digital comics from the service, and in February 2018, Scribd returned to the unlimited subscription model. For the last several years, all the news coming from Scribd has been positive, including the addition of magazines, newspapers and exclusive content from bestselling authors. At a time when so many are stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is a great time to add more value for Scribd subscribers.