Scribd vs Blinkist (Full Review)

Reading nowadays has become more accessible due to e-books and services that distribute them for accessible monthly fees.

Even beyond that, people who can’t, don’t like, or don’t have time to read can listen to audiobooks, and they have many platforms to choose from. Today we are going to check which are the differences between two of those platforms: Scribd and Blinkist.

The first part of this article shall cover the most important aspects of Scribd.

The second shall cover the same about Blinkist. It is nicer this way than bouncing from one service to the other.

In the end, we will give a verdict about which app is better. In case they aren’t commensurable (which can happen when two apps seemingly in the same niche turn out to have different purposes), we are going to tell which are the advantages of each for different publics.

Scribd

Describing Scribd shortly

Scribd is an app that connects you to a vast library of e-books, audiobooks, articles from magazines and newspapers, and other types of readable documents too.

General info about the app

The service was founded back in 2007 by Trip Adler, Jared Friedman, and Tikhon Bernstam. Its headquarters are in San Francisco.

At first, Scribd was only a place to share documents and read those shared by other users. The motivation to create Scribd emerged from the fact that publishing scientific papers takes too long.

That way, Scribd was initially compared to YouTube, as anyone could self-publish their academic writings or pieces of any type.

In 2009, the Scribd Store was created, allowing users to start selling digital copies of their work. Soon, the app started a partnership with the publishing company Simon & Schuster to sell e-books.

Only in 2013, the subscription option was created, allowing users to pay a monthly fee and have access to the app’s entire library of e-books.

In 2014, audiobooks were added. Comic books appeared on the app the year after.

As of 2021, Scribd is available for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook, and also personal computers. This is great as it means you can start listening to an audiobook on your smartphone, pause it, and then keep listening to it on another device.

Because of the feature just described above, Scribd has been several times called the “Netflix of books”.

It surely is a way of the book industry to keep up the pace and give people options so good that they won’t want to pirate books (Netflix and other streaming services have been successfully fighting piracy).

How The Subscription Works

Initially, as Scribd only counted with e-books, users with a subscription had access to those. Right now, however, users which pay the monthly fee have unlimited access to the whole Scribd library, including e-books, audiobooks, and comic books.

A Scribd subscription costs $9.99 (+tax where applicable) per month. It renews automatically, so if you want to cancel, you need to do it manually.

Right now, Scribd allows new users to experience 30 days for free. That is a common practice of streaming services too, as an act of good faith in the belief that users will enjoy the service and keep using it after the free trial.

Where Is Scribd Available?

According to the official site, Scribd is available worldwide. Depending on your location and the language you set up, you will receive recommendations matching those.

However, nothing stops you from listening to and reading books on foreign languages. This is amazing if you are learning a new language, or simply are bilingual or polyglot.

Still, due to contracts and licensing, not everything will be available in all countries. There are some cases in which a determinate e-book or audiobook won’t be available for the audience of certain countries.

How Much Content Is Available On Scribd?

Scribd’s library counts with over 70,000 e-books and 40,000 audiobooks. There are also comic books in the service, but you won’t find official versions of highly popular titles such as Watchmen, Sandman, etc.

We emphasize “official” because a quick search showed that someone uploaded a pdf version of Watchmen.

This much content isn’t actually much when you consider the number of writers out there. So, if the content is a deciding factor for you, check if the books you want to listen to or read are available on Scribd. Sometimes even a small library might have all you are looking for.

Read 7 Popular Fantasy Audiobooks On Scribd

Is It Possible To Access Content Offline?

A common feature of many streaming services is letting users download content to watch/listen to later when they don’t have internet access. Scribd offers the same feature to subscribers.

The service lets you save titles on up to four devices to read offline.

What Is Scribd’s Audio Quality?

Scribd’s audio quality is 32kbps. This is enough quality for audiobooks and any other audible content that is not music (for music you need at least 320kbps).

Blinkist

Describing Blinkist shortly

Blinkist is an app that lets users read or listen to book summaries. It doesn’t offer any full books, only summaries of books to help people catch up with books without reading them in full.

General info about the app

Blinkist Labs GmbH, usually called just Blinkist, is a service created back in 2012. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany.

As of 2021, the service counts with 18 million users.

The short summaries provided by the service are called “Blinks” or “book-in-blinks”, thus the name of the service.

As of now, Blinkist can be accessed through the app which is available both for iOS and Android, or through a computer on its official website.

How The Subscription Works

Blinkist offers new users a 7-day free trial. If you like the app, you simply can keep reading/listening after your free trial ends.

As for the subscription itself, you can subscribe to Blinkist monthly or yearly. The monthly plan costs $19,99. The yearly plan costs $119,99 and is billed at once. You get a discount of 50% if you sign for the yearly plan.

The subscription renews automatically, but you can cancel at any time. Canceling is a no-brainer.

Where Is Blinkist Available?

Blinkist is available for a worldwide audience. However, its summaries are only available in English and German. If you don’t feel like reading or listening to summaries in these languages, then Blinkist doesn’t sound like a good option.

However, if you are fully fluent in any of those languages (if both, better), nothing stops you from listening to the whole catalog.

Since summaries are made by Blinkist, licenses belong to the service, allowing users from all around the world to access all content.

How Much Content Is Available On Blinkist?

Blinkist’s library is rather small. The service counts with only a little over 3,000 summaries. Most of them are summaries of best-sellers, according to Blinkist. That way, the app is perfect to know about some book that everyone is talking about.

But book summaries you will find are not of fiction titles. Categories available are:

  • Career & Success
  • Society & Culture
  • Sex & Relationships
  • Science
  • Religion & Spirituality
  • Personal Development
  • Parenting
  • Nature & the Environment
  • Health & Nutrition
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Education
  • Economics
  • Creativity
  • Motivation & Inspiration
  • Psychology
  • Money & Investments
  • Corporate Culture
  • Communication Skills
  • Productivity
  • Mindfulness & Happiness
  • Money & Investments
  • Politics
  • Technology & The Future
  • Philosophy
  • History
  • Biography & Memoir
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Management & Leadership

With only 3,000 titles scattered across so many categories, you should expect to find only the most popular titles in each area and some other picks made by the site’s curators.

For example, in the Science section, you can find A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn (but this one is also about history of science and philosophy of science!).

Those are some heavily relevant titles, and getting to know at least briefly about each title sounds like a good idea.

Is It Possible To Access Content Offline?

Yes. Blinkist allows users to download content on the app so they can listen or read while disconnected.

This is exceptional for when you are on the go and want to listen to one summary while walking, driving, taking the bus, etc.

What Is Blinkist’s Audio Quality?

There is no information regarding Blinkist’s audio bitrate. However, the quality of its audio summaries is really good. You can listen to both English and German audio with clarity.

Verdict

Scribd and Blinkist can complement each other or can appeal to very different publics. If you are looking to read or listen to full books, then Scribd is a much better choice. Its strong suit is fiction rather than nonfiction, though.

Blinkist, on the other hand, suits well people that want to know what books are about before deciding to read them in full (and even people who don’t want to read full books).

For example, you can listen to the whole summary of Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and if that makes you curious to read the full book, you can read/listen to it on another service.