At the dawn of the e-reader era, bookworms the world over lamented the death of traditional print publishing. Many, myself included, vowed that they would never make the shift from paper to Paperwhite. But all it took for me to quickly change my mind was a glorious app called Scribd.
Bibliophiles aren’t looking at the death of books. They are looking at the remarkable rebirth.
I know this isn’t news for many of you. I’m always behind the times. Although, with the times changing so quickly, I’m sure I’m not alone on this.
I still love real books that you can smell, rifle through, and bend out of shape, but as a constant traveller I felt I had to give up my love. Then my brother told me about an app he was using, called Scribd, to listen to audiobooks whilst playing golf. I checked it out and immediately salivated all over my screen.
Read like you own every book in the world. That’s Scribd’s slogan. An audacious claim but, as you flip through their inventory, you really do feel as though you own every book in the world. And it’s right in the palm of your hand. The Library of Alexandria for the digital age.
But with all those books, where do you start?
Well here’s my list of the best books and audiobooks on Scribd.
Best Books for Writers on Scribd
Scribd is great for writers who are constantly honing their craft. Here are some of the writing resources I have personally found helpful:
Ernest Hemingway on Writing – A collection of reflections from one of the best writers of the 20th century. I read a page every now and then whilst writing my first novel to keep me going. It felt like I had Hemingway himself beside me.
Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee – Another book that I read whilst doing daily errands and waiting in lines at stores. I found myself nodding along and agreeing with what McKee had to say.
On Writing Well by William Zinsser (audiobook) – What a fantastic resource for any writer. I listened to this whilst walking from place to place and Zinsser’s narration is wonderful. A real joy.
The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screen Writers by Karl Iglesias – Another great resource to read in bitesize form. This book compiles the working habits and thoughts on the craft from many successful screenwriters. There’s words of wisdom from the likes of Terry Rossio (Pirates of the Caribbean), Tony Gilroy (The Bourne franchise), Steven de Souza (Die Hard), and Eric Roth (Forrest Gump).
The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell (audiobook) – This is a recording of the PBS TV series with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers. This is a fantastic resource for any writer and particularly those who write epics. I listened to this over a few trips to a coffee shop and took notes. It’s a delight to listen to. Joseph Campbell is wonderful.
The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri – This is a great resource for learning to write characters with compelling and believable motivations.
The Art of the Novel by Milan Kundera (audiobook) – I haven’t got around to reading this yet but it’s on my list and I’m excited to hear what Kundera’s opinions are.
Stein on Writing by Sol Stein (audiobook) – Another one I haven’t listened to yet (although I’ve read some of Stein’s stuff) but Scribd has this available and it’s supposed to be a good one.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk – A classic. No harm in brushing up on the basics. You’ll likely learn a lot you never knew.
Best Happiness and Self-Help Books on Scribd
I’m not a huge fan of the term ‘self-help’ but you know what I mean. I think all books have the capacity to be ‘self-help’ books because you can learn something from them all. But these are the books that are specifically targeted at making you happier and improving areas of your life. These are the ones I have enjoyed on Scribd:
Goals by Brian Tracy – I read this one a few years back and it helped me structure my life. I was delighted to see that Scribd has it. I recommend it to anyone and everyone who wants more structure. Scribd has a ton of Brian Tracy books. I also recommend Eat That Frog and Maximum Achievement.
The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan – Another book that has helped to improve my working process. I read this one in a day, then went back over it and made loads of notes, and began implementing it immediately.
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – I love Eckhart Tolle. I read The Power of Now many years ago and it changed my life. It changed the way my mind works and introduced a whole new reality to me. It’s great that Scribd has the written and audio version. I recommend them both and particularly love the audio version because of the meditative effect that Tolle’s voice has on me. Scribd also has a bunch of his other works too.
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie – You are probably familiar with Carnegie’s other seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People, but I actually prefer this one. This is the gold standard for how self-help books should look.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuck – I didn’t really know anything about social media until I read this book. Vaynerchuck’s style of writing is incredibly fun and informative. I consumed this work in less than a day and then was delighted to see that Scribd had his other books too. I then went on to love those.
Get Serious by Brett Osborn – This book is written by a neurosurgeon and anti-ageing expert and it’s great to see him putting forth information that many other mainstream doctors never do. It includes lots of great information about eating right and working out. I recommend this to anyone who is a beginner in this area and is interested in working out for health.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki – A great book for beginners in the entrepreneurial scene.
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne – I haven’t read this yet but I know the premise and I have heard great things about it.
The 50th Law by 50 Cent and Robert Greene – I have literally just seen this on Scribd now as I was browsing. I’m curious to check this one out because I listened to some of Greene’s Mastery (also on Scribd) and enjoyed what he had to say.
Best Horror Books on Scribd
Stephen King – Scribd is a Stephen King treasure trove. Stephen King is the first name I searched for when I signed up to Scribd and the result was enough to justify my subscription alone. I’m going to take a wild guess here and say that if you love reading you probably love Stephen King. Or if you love reading, you have probably binged on Stephen King at some point in your childhood. I remember my days off sick from school with fond memories. Not because I’m a sadist who enjoys bronchitis but because I just used to lie down and blitz through my stack of Stephen King. Seeing Stephen King stuffing the virtual shelves of Scribd made me want to rekindle my literary love affair with a new, electronic spin.
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty – The most shocking thing about this book is how gorgeous the prose is. Truly a fine piece of art. It’s also available as an audiobook on Scribd. I suggest you listen to it in the middle of the night when you have a dark, empty house. You don’t need those new pants.
The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin – Fantastic book. A real joy to read. I had a blast with this one.
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson – It’s also worth checking out The Incredible Shrinking Man. Scribd has the audiobook. Also, did you know that Matheson wrote for The Twilight Zone?
H. P. Lovecraft – I couldn’t choose one story. Thankfully you don’t have to because Scribd has a whole bunch of his stuff.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – If you want to recapture the feeling of the first reader’s of this story, ration yourself to just two chapters a week because it was first released in serial form. It’s an interesting way of reading that we have forgotten. Or you can just binge it in a couple of hours. Why not? It’s great.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson – I remember reading somewhere that Stevenson wrote this in a white hot flash of cocaine frenzy that took only three days. When he was finished he threw it in the fire because he thought it was a monstrosity. Then his wife convinced him to rewrite it. So he did. In three days again.
The Collected Works of Edgar Allen Poe – The original goth reigns supreme on Scribd.
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury – I freaking love Ray Bradbury. I recommend you to read anything you can get your hands on by him, particularly his short stories. The man is a legend.
Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Audiobooks on Scribd
Kurt Vonnegut – Scribd is bursting with Vonnegut goodness (Vonnegoodness?).
Philip K. Dick – Scribd is also a haven for Dick lovers. Philip K. Dick that is. This was another author that excited me and sealed the deal for me. I go through phases in my reading and, just as I was looking at Scribd, I was firmly in my classic science fiction phase (still am). I had read a whole bunch of Dick’s stuff in paperback but I couldn’t wait to read it all again and discover some new stuff. I think Dick would be proud of the format in which his work is now being read.
Neil Gaiman – Scribd is heaving with Neil Gaiman. I was a relative newcomer to Gaiman’s work when I signed up to Scribd. I had only read his Sandman series. But I had him on my list to explore and Scribd gave me the opportunity to explore in bulk. I particularly recommend Smoke and Mirrors. This is a beautiful collection of short stories. The short story format really allows you to see what a great service Scribd is. I read most of these stories on the bus or waiting in line and the supermarket. The stories are magical and they are sure to disrupt your day if you read them in public like me. I bumped into a few things at the supermarket because I was reading this collection.
George R. R. Martin – Another franchise that I’m late to the party for. But Scribd has the whole Game of Thrones collection on audio so I’m excited to dive in. South Park’s wiener song sealed the deal for me.
Isaac Asimov – I recommend starting with The Foundation Series.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I’ve just started this one. It’s a popular one right now.
Orson Scott Card – Ender’s Game is not available yet but there’s plenty of Orson Scott Card’s oeuvre left to explore.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe by Douglas Adams – This is the version with Stephen Fry’s beautiful narration. I can’t think of a more perfect voice to accompany this wonderful series.
The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas – I miss the old days. I have nostalgia for times I was barely even alive for. As a child, I used to spend hours listening to radio plays. Scribd has done a great thing by putting up a bunch of The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas.
Neuromancer by William Gibson – I’ve just started this Hugo Award winner and am looking forward to seeing how it progresses.
Edgar Rice Burroughs – Check out A Princess of Mars and Tarzan of the Apes.
Ursula K. Le Guin – Check out The Lathe of Heaven and The Dispossessed.
Best Romance Audiobooks on Scribd
I’m going to stay away from the erotica side of the romance genre, although Scribd has many of the popular erotica titles if you’re into that too.
Nicholas Sparks – Scribd is crammed with Sparks. There’s The Notebook, The Choice, Dear John, and The Lucky One, and that’s just for starters.
Danielle Steel – If you’re a fan of the best selling authors alive, you will love Scribd. There is a huge collection of her work in audiobook form.
Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James – You’ve probably already read it but have you read the rest of the series? It’s all here.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen – If you loved the movie, check out the book.
Georgette Heyer – Does anyone do Regency better than Georgette Heyer? Her prose is gorgeous, her characters are fabulous fun, and her stories always leaving you wanting the next one. You can’t go wrong with any of her books and Scribd has a bunch of audiobooks to choose from.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I’m currently listening to the audiobook of this and I’m looking forward to seeing how it progresses. The narrator is the fantastic Jim Dale, who also narrated the Harry Potter books.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – A classic.
Sylvia Day – There’s no Crossfire series but there’s a bunch of Day’s other works to enjoy.
Anne Rice – Check out Interview with the Vampire if you haven’t already.
Best Mystery, Thriller, and Crime Audiobooks on Scribd
Scribd really excels when it comes to their thriller audiobooks. I don’t know about you but I think the thriller genre lends itself the best to the audiobook format. These following audiobooks all have great stories, great narrators, and great production value:
World War Z: The Complete Edition by Max Brooks – Because this is a movie tie-in version, this audiobook sounds glorious. It’s like listening to a radio play with stunning production value.
The James Bond Series by Ian Fleming – Scribd has all of the best ones.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – I haven’t listened to this audio version yet but I loved the book and I’m excited to watch the movie soon.
John Grisham – Scribd is well-stocked with the master of legal thrillers. My personal favourite is A Painted House, which steps away from the courtroom environment that Grisham is so respected for.
Lee Child – I recently read a few of Lee Child’s Reacher novels because I had a string of long-haul flights and wanted something to keep me hooked. I inhaled his books and love them. Scribd has a bunch of the audio versions and I highly recommend them.
Agatha Christie – There’s a ton of Christie’s best mysteries here and, of course, they translate to audio extremely well.
James Patterson – Scribd has a vast collection of Patterson’s works too. I can’t say I read much of him but my little sister has nothing but good things to say about his Maximum Ride series.
Cormac McCarthy – Scribd has many of McCarthy’s works but Blood Meridian is the one I recommend first. It’s brutal so be warned.
Dean Koontz – I haven’t gotten into Koontz yet but there’s plenty of him available at Scribd for when I do.
Tom Clancy – Plenty of Clancy here too.
Best Classic Books and Audiobooks on Scribd
There is a huge amount of classic literature on Scribd. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Moby Dick by Herman Melville – One of the greatest books I have ever read.
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad – Also one of the greatest books I have ever read.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Of course, Scribd also has War and Peace. What better use for this app is there than to carry this weighty tome everywhere you go?
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – Another of my all-time favourites.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert – Enjoy le mot juste on demand.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes – Confession time. I haven’t read much of this. But it’s on my list. I promise.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky – I’m going to learn Russian for the sole reason that I want to enjoy this in it’s original form.
Dracula by Bram Stoker – This one scared the crap out of me when I was a teenager.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Colin Firth not included.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde -This is on my re-read list.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Ulysses by James Joyce
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Tess of the D’Urbevilles by Thomas Hardy
Best Young Adult Books and Audiobooks on Scribd
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer – Scribd has this tale of glittery teen vamp love in audiobook form.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I haven’t read this yet but I’ve seen the movies and this is definitely on my list.
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – Fantastic story.
The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot – Also check out How to Be Popular.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld – What a fantastic premise for a book. A world where everybody turns supermodel gorgeous at sixteen. I’m excited to see what happens in this series.
In Summation: Scribd Rules
These lists are really just scratching the surface of what Scribd has to offer.The amount of books they have astounds me. And for just $8.99 per month. It is easily the best recurring payment I have set up. Check out the service. The first month’s free. Then report back and let me know what gems you’ve found on the platform.