How can you maximize Scribd’s 30-day free trial? A few months ago, I asked myself the exact same question. But I’m getting way ahead of myself. Before I share all my tips and tricks on how to maximize your Scribd free trial, let’s first start this blog post with the basics, shall we?
- What is Scribd?
- How can you maximize your Scribd free trial?
What is Scribd?
On the off-chance that you don’t know, Scribd is a monthly online subscription service for books. Moreover, some people would describe it as “Netflix for books.” However, this comparison can be quite misleading. Because unlike Scribd, Netflix does not put a cap or a limit on how much content you can consume within a month. In other words, Scribd imposes a limit on the number of books that a user can access within a 30-day period. This is believed to be a means to curtail the company’s costs.
Are you interested in trying out Scribd? Click here to claim your 60-day free trial.
When does Scribd start limiting access? Some have guessed that the cap starts after you finish your second or third audiobook. But honestly? We can’t say for sure. Unless the company decides to become fully transparent about the algorithms that they use.
One thing is for sure, though. The more you read, the more your access is restricted over time. In fact, according to The Verge, “voracious readers will find themselves throttled if they read or listen to too much.”
This particular limitation has been a long-standing pain point for regular Scribd subscribers. In addition, to no one’s surprise, the same limit is applicable to Scribd’s free trial. And consequently, this brings us to the big question:
How can you maximize your Scribd free trial?
Last March, I signed up for a 30-day free trial on Scribd, and I asked myself the exact same question. Afterward, I attempted to Google search my way into finding the secret formula to take down Scribd’s capitalistic enterprise. Unfortunately, my search results were not promising at all.
Now, I assume that you stumbled across this blog post because you’re facing a similar predicament:
wanting to give capitalism the middle finger wanting to maximize your Scribd experience without hurting your wallet. Well, you’ve come to the right place! Because I think I’ve figured things out. Some things, at least.
In fact, here is a summary of my free trial experience with Scribd:
- Length of free trial: 30 days (March 2020 to April 2020)
- Number of ebooks read: 5
- Number of audiobooks listened to: 19
- Total number of books: 24
With that said, I want to clarify that the end goal of this post is to help you read as many books and audiobooks as you can. Furthermore, in the context of this post, “making the most” out of your Scribd isn’t about finding the best books. Instead, it’s geared towards finishing the greatest number of books before your trial expires.
1. Prepare a TBR and sort your priorities.
Before anything else, you need to know what titles are available. First, search for new titles and backlist titles that you are interested in. Next, based on your search results, compose a list of books that you want to read before your trial expires. Make sure that you take note of the formats (i.e. audiobook, ebook), the genres, and the release dates of every title on your list. Afterward, arrange all the titles from highest priority to lowest priority.
While it’s important to consider how badly you want to read a particular book, you must also factor in the following:
- Newer and more popular titles are usually the first to become “unavailable.”
- Audiobooks are more quickly and more severely restricted compared to their ebook counterparts. In fact, I did not experience a cap on the number of ebooks that I could access.
- Some titles are available in both formats.
Personally, I prioritized titles that were more prone to disappearing over those that were most likely to stay available. This means that the top of my list consisted of new releases and popular titles in audiobook format, while the bottom of my list was entirely composed of less popular backlist titles in ebook format. For instance, Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When You Land is an audiobook of a new and highly popular release. On the other hand, the audiobook of Elise Kova’s The Alchemists of Loom probably has a lower demand and less popularity. (By the way, I highly recommend both of them!)
I also considered the book’s length or duration, which is thankfully readily available information on Scribd. As a result, I prioritized titles that needed less reading/listening time. In fact, I typically stayed away from audiobooks that were longer than 11 hours.
There’s a floating conspiracy theory that when you save and/or download a bunch of books, the access restriction will be activated earlier. Not going to lie, I don’t know if this theory stems from a factual basis. However, throughout my free trial, I did not download any books nor did I frequently use the ‘save’ option.
2. Listen to Scribd audiobooks while doing simple tasks.
Sadly, I tend to fall asleep while listening to audiobooks. To make matters worse, the probabilities drastically increase if I’m lying down and not doing anything. What’s a natural sleepyhead to do? Start listening to audiobooks while occupying yourself with light and menial tasks. For example, doing household chores (e.g. washing the dishes, vacuuming, cooking), working on your bullet journal, organizing your bookshelves, and exercising. These tasks aren’t mentally taxing, which will allow you to still pay attention to the story.
As for me, listening to an audiobook as I worked on my sunflower painting easily became my favorite form of relaxation. Aside from this, I also enjoyed occasionally testing my limits. I wanted to know how focused I could be as a person and how well I could multitask. In simpler words, I liked to mix things up and experiment.
Here are some things that I tried doing while listening to an audiobook:
- Making and updating my spreadsheet trackers
- Playing videogames with my younger sisters
- Revising and proofreading my thesis manuscript
- Reading another book
Just so you know, the last item’s effectiveness depended on the genres of the books. It only worked for me when the physical book was a low or light fantasy, while the audiobook was a contemporary or contemporary romance novel. And even then, it was quite slow-going. Unfortunately, it turned out that my limit is listening to an audiobook while writing a newsletter. I just couldn’t do it.
3. Listen to Scribd audiobooks until you fall asleep.
Accidentally falling asleep while listening to an audiobook? Bad. Purposefully using an audiobook to help you fall asleep? Brilliant. Excellent. Iconic. We love to see it.
When I was a little kid, my grandmother would read to me until my eyes closed shut. For obvious reasons, I’m way too old for that now. Thankfully, however, Scribd can work as the perfect substitute for bedtime stories read aloud by grandparents.
There’s an available countdown feature that can help facilitate that bedtime experience without you worrying about missing too much of the story! I don’t know about you, but drifting off to dreamland has never sounded so pleasant. (Just make sure that you don’t select a thrilling, high-stakes epic fantasy that ends every chapter with a huge cliffhanger.)
4. Gradually increase the speed of your Scribd audiobook.
Audiobooks have listening times that can range from 4 hours to 13 hours. Scribd comes with the option to speed up the audiobook’s narration. The regular speed (1x) can be decreased to 0.8x or increased to 1.2x, 1.5x, 1.8x, 2x, and 3x. Naturally, if you’re trying to maximize your Scribd free trial, it’s advised that you listen to audiobooks at a faster pace.
Personally, listening to an audiobook in its regular speed makes me more likely to fall asleep. 1.5x or 1.8x speed is the usual sweet spot for me. However, throughout my free trial, I trained myself to feel comfortable listening at 2x and 3x speed. I did this very gradually. So if you’re struggling with increasing the audiobook’s speed, try speeding up gradually.
5. Strategize based on genre.
One thing I learned from my free trial run is that my attention span is strongly affected by the book’s genre. For me, science fiction and fantasy audiobooks required more effort so that I can pay attention to the story. In contrast, contemporary and romance audiobooks were significantly easier to absorb. Especially when I was multitasking.
As a result, I listened to contemporary and romance while I was doing menial tasks (e.g. updating spreadsheet trackers) and more mentally intensive tasks (e.g. proofreading my thesis manuscript). I also had to keep the audiobook speed at 1.2x. Meanwhile, I listened to science fiction and fantasy when I could dedicate my full attention, such as, before going to sleep. Speeding up was also a non-issue when I wasn’t multitasking.
Basically, my tip is to build a strategy around genres. Make sure that you are mindful of your own quirks so that you can consider them as you strategize. Which genres require more effort from you? Which genres can you multitask with? Which genres can you listen to at a faster speed? Experiment with different combinations until you find a mix of genre, speed, and activity that works best for you.
6. Mix up your formats.
Fatigue is a real deterrent when you’re trying to binge content. Listening to consecutive audiobooks will eventually take a toll on you and cause fatigue. It’s important that you alternate between reading ebooks and listening to audiobooks. That way, you’re less likely to “get sick” of a particular format.
This also means letting yourself to take breaks. Especially when you aren’t in the mood for books. While I understand the desire to make the most out of a Scribd free trial, it shouldn’t come at the expense of your enjoyment. Burning yourself out will do more harm in the long run.
7. Finally, share your referral link with other people.
When you register for Scribd, you’re given a referral link. Every time someone accepts your invitation and uses your link to claim a free trial, you will earn a free month. For free trial users, you will earn a 30-day extension of your trial. You can find your invite link in Account >> Read for free. This is what the invitation would look like.
The need for social distancing and isolation has really affected everyone’s lifestyle. People are more susceptible to boredom. At the same time, people are also more open to trying out new things! This means that now is a great time to invite your friends, especially those who aren’t avid readers.
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I’d love to hear from you!
🌻 Do you listen to audiobooks? Which service or membership are you subscribed to? Have you ever tried Scribd?
🌻 Did you find this blog post helpful? Did you learn any new tips that can help you maximize your Scribd experience?
🌻 I am always on the lookout for more audiobook recommendations on Scribd! Drop your favorite Scribd audiobooks in the comments below.