The 6 Best Ebook Subscription Services for Unlimited Reading

by / Wednesday, 18 July 2018 / Published in Latest News

Internet subscription services are the future. For TV and movies, you’ve got Netflix. For music, you’ve got Spotify. They offer unlimited streaming of media for a flat monthly rate, offering some of the best entertainment value around.

If there was an internet subscription for literature, that’d complete the trifecta, wouldn’t it? Well, there is! Ebook subscription services have been around for a while now, and if you’re an avid reader, you’re missing out if you aren’t taking part.

These ebook subscription services can unlock an entire world of literature to be downloaded and read on demand. They’re convenient, they’re affordable, and they can save you a lot of money. Should you subscribe? If so, which site is best?

Are Ebook Subscriptions Worth It?

Some scoff at the idea of paying a monthly fee to… read books. Sure, if you aren’t a big book reader to begin with, then you probably won’t benefit much from subbing to one of these sites.

The three most important questions to ask are:

  1. How many books do you read per month?
  2. Which genres do you prefer to read?
  3. Which ebook devices do you have available?

If you rarely read, you probably won’t justify the monthly fees. But if you read too much, it’s possible to outgrow your subscription and run out of content. If you read in obscure genres, you may not find anything interesting. And depending on which devices you have, you may not even be able to use some of these sites.

Regardless, you should always check your local public library first. Most libraries offer free ebook rentals, which is best for one-off readers. Obscure genre readers and readers who prefer new releases are often better off making straight ebook purchases.

But for those who fall somewhere in the middle, ebook subscriptions can be extremely worthwhile. Here are the best ebook subscription services that are worth checking out.

1. Scribd

Scribd was originally launched as a service for publishing academic papers. It exploded in popularity in 2009, when Scribd first inked a deal to sell ebooks. Since then, Scribd has been one of the best places to purchase user-submitted papers and retail books.

In 2013, Scribd launched their subscription service which granted users access to Scribd’s entire library for a monthly fee.

  • Price: $ 8.99/month for unlimited reading
  • Free Trial: Yes, 30-day free trial
  • Selection: Over 1 million ebooks and audiobooks
  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, Nook devices
  • Regions: Worldwide, though some ebooks are unavailable in some regions

2. Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited offers the largest selection of ebooks for a moderate price, but also comes with a complimentary Audible membership for downloading audiobooks. You can seamlessly swap between reading ebooks and listening to audiobooks.

Unfortunately, the “Big Five” publishing houses (Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster) have all declined to participate, meaning you may not be able to find some of the ebooks you want to read, even if they’re popular and mainstream.

  • Price: $ 9.99/month for unlimited reading
  • Free Trial: Yes, 30-day free trial
  • Selection: Over 1 million ebooks and audiobooks
  • Platforms: Web, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
  • Regions: United States

3. Bookmate

Bookmate is a mobile reading app with an accompanying ebook reading subscription. Since its launch in 2010, Bookmate has seen tremendous success in Russia and the CIS, so much so that they’ve expanded to Scandinavia, Singapore, Indonesia, and parts of Latin America.

Two unique aspects of Bookmate include its social element (follow friends to see their feeds and bookshelves) and the fact that you can upload your own EPUBs and FB2 ebooks and sync them across all of your devices.

  • Price: $ 9.99/mo for unlimited reading
  • Free Trial: No, but 3-month trial for $ 0.99
  • Selection: Over 850,000 ebooks
  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS, Windows Store
  • Regions: N/A

4. 24symbols

24symbols is the only service on this list that offers a discounted rate for a one-year-at-a-time subscription, essentially making it the cheapest option by a significant amount. If you’re looking for value, you’ll find it here.

  • Price: $ 8.99/mo or $ 90/year for unlimited reading
  • Free Trial: No
  • Selection: Over 800,000 ebooks and audiobooks
  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, BlackBerry
  • Regions: N/A

5. Playster

Unlike every other service on this list, Playster actually offers a lot more than just ebooks and audiobooks. The full Bundle plan grants unlimited music, movies, games, ebooks, and audiobooks for just $ 34.95/mo. If you don’t want the whole thing, you can opt for individual aspects, such as the ebooks-only plan.

6. Kobo Plus

Awesome would it be if all Kobo owners could take advantage of this ebook subscription service, but Kobo Plus is actually a joint endeavor between Kobo and bol.com, an online retailer that operates in Belgium and the Netherlands.

As such, Kobo Plus, which launched back in 2017, is limited to those two regions only. However, the service has seen resounding success, so if you live in either country, it may be the best option for you—especially if you like reading in Dutch.

  • Price: $ 9.99/mo for unlimited reading
  • Free Trial: Yes, 30-day free trial
  • Selection: Over 50,000 ebooks and audiobooks
  • Platforms: Web, Android, iOS, Kobo devices
  • Regions: Belgium and the Netherlands

The Best Ebook Subscription Services: Which One?

Scribd is the all-around best option. It’s the cheapest service (tied with 24symbols) but offers the widest selection, isn’t boycotted by the “Big Five” publishers, and is available worldwide with partial restrictions for some regions.

Bookmate and Kindle Unlimited are also solid options if you don’t like Scribd. They’re both priced the same, and while Kindle Unlimited has the larger selection, it’s only available in the United States. 24symbols is a strong runner-up to Bookmate.

Playster is only worth it if you sign up for the full Bundle plan—the individual plans are too pricey for the subpar selection. And while Kobo Plus shows promise, its regional restriction makes it all but useless for most of the world.

Read the full article: The 6 Best Ebook Subscription Services for Unlimited Reading

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