Scribd – It Was Too Good To Be True

I was supposed to be writing about Winter today, but as it turns out, I have to interrupt my posting schedule with something that’s really pissed me off. I feel I must tell you about it right now because I want to ensure you don’t find yourself in the same depressing-as-fuck situation as me.

You might remember me talking about Scribd in a post I made on Sunday. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, Scribd is ‘the world’s largest digital library,’ where you can read ‘unlimited* books and audiobooks.’ I naively waxed lyrical about how fantastic it was and how I was going to ‘absofuckinglutely’ pay the £9.99 a month for it once my free trial was over.

The day before yesterday, all was well. I was several days into my free trail, I’d managed to get a substantial amount of research done and I was excited to continue. However, when I logged into my account, I couldn’t find the book I was reading – A Woman In The Polar Night by Christiane Ritter – among the books I’d saved to read. Bemused, I tracked it down elsewhere on the site and found a little sign saying it would be available to read by so and so date, which was, conveniently enough, after my first scheduled payment would go out. Fair enough I thought, slightly irritated. There must be something going on over at the publisher’s end. Maybe it’s getting a new cover or something.

I used the site as normal yesterday and nothing seemed amiss – mar the missing book. But today when I logged in, almost every book of the 70+ I’d saved had disappeared. Among the books that had vanished were all of the ones I’d been using for research, most of which had dozens and dozens of highlighted passages from which I was going to take notes from at a later date.

Frantically I stabbed ‘Why have books disappeared from my Scribd account?’ into Google, and was distraught when I discovered it wasn’t a case of a glitch in the system. No. It’s how the bastard company works. I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed.

Bookaholic Dreamer said about the disappearing books: ‘Scribd is controlled by an algorithm that makes certain books unavailable after a certain limit that you cross by using their “unlimited” service. The books are selected by author, genre, publishers and probably also popularity and your interest towards that book. It is an “unlimited” service because Scribd will always have something available that you can read or listen to. That something might be the bible or a random classic in Spanish. But hey, there’s something available so it’s unlimited!‘ You can read more about Bookaholic Dreamer’s experience in her excellent post The Dark Side of Scribd.

Someone else – I can’t remember where – mentioned about the asterisks symbol Scribd use when mentioning ‘unlimited.’ Maybe if I’d paid more attention to this and Googled it when I was excitedly signing up, I wouldn’t find myself in this mess.

Digging further, I also found many stories of people who’d had money lifted from their bank accounts, despite having cancelled their subscription with Scribd. I received my email this afternoon saying my subscription has been cancelled, ‘effective March 16, 2021.’ But what with Scribd being bullshitters, I called my bank and explained the situation. They said that while they can’t prevent a transaction, if money should be taken, they’ll be able to get it back for me if I fill in such and such form. Now I have to watch my bank transactions like a fucking hawk. Brilliant.

Please, please, please keep your distance from Scribd and warn other bibliophiles to keep their distance too. This company deserves to go under. Before I go, I’ll tell you about a line one of their customer representatives wrote in reply to a frustrated customer – ‘keep reading!’ Ridicule of the highest degree, wouldn’t you say?

P.S. I mentioned signing up with Perlego in my other post too. No issues with them, as yet, but I’ll keep you updated.

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