The Scribd reading experience
I recently wrote about Scribd now having a
app for their “all you can read” for $8.99 a month subser (subscription service).
I’m in the midst of the free trial (and have almost finished a book on it), and I thought I’d give you some feedback on how it is as a reader.
My general impression is that it is a good, bare bones reader.
It’s interesting to me how I am missing some things which I never had with a p-book (paperbook), though, and which I do use when reading in the Kindle application on my Fire or on one of our non-Fire readers.
Especially noticeable to me are the lack of:
- Text-to-speech. At this point, that by itself will keep me from renewing. While I have a philosophical objection to publishers blocking text-to-speech, I don’t think it’s necessary for every device or app to have it. It is impractical for me not to have it, though. I use it often in the car, and I almost feel like I only have half the book without it
- Dictionary look-up. I don’t use that all that often, but there is no kind of look-up (web or otherwise) that I can see
- Highlighting. I’ve held my finger on the screen several times not thinking about it, wanting to highlight a passage. That might be because it was an interesting quotation, or because there was a minor error (this book is well proof-read) about which I might want to notify the publisher
You have the text on the “page”…that’s about it.
Even “long pressing” a picture didn’t seem to do anything…I don’t think it has a zoom function.
On the good side, there are controls over the appearance of that text, and navigation controls.
I think my favorite feature is one that the Kindle doesn’t have: “pages left in chapter”. Rather than pages, that’s actually a reference to the number of screens that are left…and if I change the text size, the number adjusts. Interestingly, that’s the most useful measure I’ve found…the amount of time I have left in a chapter just doesn’t seem to be very accurate. I often leave my Kindle open on a screen while I do things, and I think that might be throwing it off.
Speaking of increasing the text size, you do get some good controls there. Tapping in the middle of the page invokes some controls.
One looks like a book, and brings up the Table of Contents (in at least the book I am reading now, you can use it for navigation).
In your bottom right, there is an Aa button, similar to Amazon. Tapping that, I can increase or decrease the text size (there appear to be fourteen options), choose from Default, Sans-serif, or Serif typefaces, and choose white, black, or sepia backgrounds. I’ve been reading the default text on a black background, and it is crisp.
You have the ability to download the book to the device, so you can read offline. That is an icon in your bottom right that looks like a cloud with down arrow on it.
At the top of the screen (after you tap the page), there is a library symbol (three books), with which you can add it to or take it away from your “favorites”. There is a sharing symbol, which lets you like it on Scribd, e-mail it, or “other”. I haven’t played around with that much…e-mailing it would be information about the book, presumably.
So, I would describe it as being all about the reading, without the ability to annotate (or listen to TTS).
Would I pay the $8.99 if they had TTS? Maybe…my Significant Other hasn’t really checked it out enough yet to give me the impression of a less techy user.
The book I’m reading, by the way, is
by Kevin Randle. Randle is going through all sorts of reported UFO crashes, and generally dismisses them for various reasons, or simply lists them without endorsing them.
The author is a recognized expert on the Roswell Incident and has been seen as an advocate of the reality of an extraordinary event there.
It’s interesting, therefore, that even though this is what we used to call a “seed catalog” type listing, it certainly doesn’t come across as the work of a simple true believer.
Randle writes more about some of the cases, including Shag Harbor and Kecksburg. I would describe the writing as largely intentionally dispassionate, which isn’t all that common (from Skeptics or true believers) in this field. I find that refreshing, although some of the customer reviews on Amazon describe it as “boring”.
I also want to mention that I’ve started to look into
another e-book subser, recently promoted on the Ellen Degeneres show.
It’s a very different concept, much more like Amazon’s own Audible.
You pay a flat rate a month, and can get a certain number of e-books.
For example, you can pay $9.99 a month and get two books. That’s pretty much how it works: about $5 per book, with a strict limit as to how many books you get.
However, you do own the books. If you stop paying, you still get them…so, in a way, it’s like getting an AmazonLocal coupon.
The selection seems very impressive, and they do have a free trial.
The books use the Adobe DRM (Digital Rights Management) system, but they do have an app for a Kindle Fire (hm…I wonder if that app would allow you to read other Adobe DRM books on your Fire?).
I haven’t tested this all much, yet, but I thought I’d let you know.
Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.
* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.