Scribd has struck a deal with Penguin Random House to add over 9,000 of the publisher's audiobooks to its subscription book service. It's a big grab for Scribd that gives its subscribers access to audiobooks for some of the publisher's most popular titles, including A Game of Thrones, Gone Girl, and Fifty Shades of Grey. There are also some recordings for literary fans to dig into, with titles from Alice Munro and Junot Díaz. This is Scribd's second direct audiobook deal with a major publisher, its first being HarperCollins.
Audible has more books, but it also costs more
The additions bring Scribd's audiobook library up above 45,000 available titles. That's in addition to the over 1 million ebooks and comic books that it offers as part of its $8.99 per month subscription service. Both comics and audiobooks have been added to the service over the past several months, helping Scribd differentiate its service from ebook subscription competitors like Oyster.
But this deal with Penguin Random House is about more than Oyster. It's about taking on Amazon-owned Audible, which has long been the dominant name in audiobooks. Audible has a lot more titles — over 180,000 — but it also has a subscription that's nearly twice the price and only grants access to one book a month (though subscribers get to own that book). With Scribd's library quickly growing, audiobook fans may find themselves looking at an increasingly viable alternative. That Scribd offers ebooks in addition is a pretty nice benefit, too.