Today’s guest post is by Diamond Grant, a freelance technology blogger and a huge bookworm.
Thanks to the rise of e-readers, there are now thousands of books released every day. If you’re an avid reader, it’s difficult to keep track of them all. Even if you can whittle them down to ten books a year, the cost adds up. Plus, if you’re a bookworm, ten books aren’t enough to get you through a year. Luckily, there are now several e-book subscription service options.
So what’s an e-book subscription service and why get one?
If you read many books a month, an e-book subscription service can save you a lot of money. For a monthly fee of $9.99, you can have access to thousands of books, ranging from indie authors to best-sellers. The best part? You can take as long as you want to read them; plus, you don’t have to leave your house to get access to these books. If you really like a book and want to own it, many of these services also offer an a-la-carte purchasing option. So long as you average two books a month, the subscription service will pay for itself quite quickly.
Like Netflix and Pandora, you don’t actually own the books when you’re part of these e-book subscription services. If you do end up cancelling, you’ll lose all of your saved books. Unless you’re reading multiple books a month, the cost of the service will end up being more than if you bought the books individually. Considering the average American only reads four books per year, it might not make a lot of sense for the majority.
The biggest drawback, however, is that best-sellers will come out months later to these providers, if at all. Why is that? Well, it’s all up to the publishers. Publishers want to bolster their physical book sales. Others may not even have a contract with subscription providers. So if you’re looking to get ahold of the latest book, you’ll have better luck at your local bookstore or Amazon Prime lending library.
Of course, there’s the other issue of accessibility. While most of these services allow you to download the books so you can read it offline, if you want to get some new ones when traveling abroad, you may run into issues with geo-restrictions. Luckily, you can access blocked content by using a trusted Virtual Private Network.
With all that said, if you want to give these services a shot, most of them offer a 30-day free trial. So which one should you choose? There are a few options:
- Kindle Unlimited – At $9.99 a month, Kindle Unlimited priced a bit higher than other options. The benefit, though, is its direct integration with your Kindle as well as Apple and Android devices. In addition to offering over one million titles, you also gain access to thousands of audiobooks. Unfortunately, you can only download 10 titles at a time, but you can always get some more once you’ve finished them off. The big drawback: Amazon doesn’t have contracts with some of the biggest publishers, so you won’t have access to popular titles.
- Scribd – Coming in at $8.99 per month, Scribd is a fairly affordable option and not only offers books and audiobooks but comics as well. You can read or listen via their app or through a browser. Unfortunately, you are limited to only three books and one audiobook per month, so if you’re a fast reader, you’ll have to wait until the following month to pick up more. Unlike many other services, Scribd only offers a 14-day free trial.
- BookBub – Unlike e-book services, BookBub acts as more of an alert versus a subscription service. By signing up, you’ll receive emails of when there’s a free special promotion, discounted books from retailers and more. You can then redeem these deals through the Book Bub link. It’s a great way to keep your physical and digital libraries stocked. The best part? You own these books free and clear!
- Bookmate – What do readers love more than books? Sharing recommendations with friends, of course! Bookmate combines the best of both worlds. The subscription service offers thousands of books and allows you to get recommendations from friends, experts and even editors. Depending on where you’re from, the costs will vary, but it is generally around five dollars a month, making it the cheapest option. Of course, it does come with its limitations: It has a small library, and there are no comics or audiobooks.
When choosing a service, ask yourself whether you’ll actually read enough a month to warrant the costs and if you want access to books from top publishers. Once you figure that out, these choices should provide you with a good starting point.
Have you ever tried an e-book subscription service? Let us know how you liked it in the comments below.
About the Author: Diamond is a freelance technology blogger and a huge bookworm. Both her physical and digital bookshelves are filled to the brim. When she’s not writing, she’s working her way through the shelves at her favorite reading spot.