It was ironic that a reminder popped up for me yesterday to cancel Oyster. Cancel one service and sign up for another.

Susan has covered the essentials well in her article. What I wanted to write about was my impression as a user. So far, I like it.

The selection is similar to Oyster, and I found plenty to read in a quick perusal. Nate over at Digital Reader noticed that some of the books showing in searches are marked as Unavailable, and when I dug a bit further, I found that to be true. That’s definitely a disappointment. One of the “Unavailable” books was Gone With the Wind, which I’ve been meaning to re-read for a while. Darn!

That said, I’m still favorably impressed. I particularly like the free trial. That was one of my gripes with Oyster, where you have to sign up and pay to even access the selection of books. A free trial is a smart move for Scribd.

Another smart move was availability on more platforms: iPhone, iPad and Android. I downloaded the iOS and Android apps. They are just bare-bones reader apps, with two font choices (Serif and Sans Serif), three background colors (white, black and sepia) and four font sizes. If, like me, you’ve been spoiled by Mantano or Marvin, you’ll find them usable but not exciting. On the other hand, for $8.99 and all I can read, I think I can live with it. The iOS version does have a Collections feature, which is nice, and I hope they’ll add it to the Android version too. Scribd does sync across all platforms, which is handy if, like me, you read on multiple devices.

So far I think they are doing everything right that Oyster is doing (selection, ability to read offline, low cost), and they’re doing several things that Oyster isn’t (free trial, more platforms). Scribd wins in my book.


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