Uh-oh, looks like the audiobook fiends have joined the romance novel fiends as an unwanted financial drain on Scribd’s subscription program. The company reports on its blog that it is cutting back its audiobook catalog offerings available to subscribers of its $9/mo service.
After thirty days, audiobooks available to $9/mo subscribers will be limited to a “rotating catalog of thousands of audiobooks.” Subscribers will also receive one credit per month that they can put toward an audiobook outside that limited catalog, or they can pay $9 per credit for additional audiobook credits.
This marks the second cutback to Scribd’s service in two months. In July, Scribd purged a huge amount of romance and erotica e-book titles from its catalog, as readers were just reading too darned many of them. Now audiobooks follow suit.
As Nate points out at The Digital Reader, Amazon seemed to go about its Kindle Unlimited service a lot smarter, starting with a limited selection of audiobooks from the outset and gradually expanding. The problem with making unlimited audiobooks available is that they do tend to cost more money. Without the cachet of being named “Amazon,” Scribd wanted to make its service attractive to new subscribers—which they did, but possibly too attractive. The important thing in running a service like this is that you want to attract people who will subscribe to the service for the sake of having it, but won’t actually use it enough to get their money’s worth.
It should be a lot less attractive under the new terms. Given that $9 per audiobook isn’t too much better than what you’d get subscribing to Audible, Scribd is going to be a lot less of a good deal for frequent audiobook listeners now.