App Showdown: Oyster vs. Scribd

I read all the time. Although there’s nothing like a hardback in my hands while I lay in my hammock, my wrists don’t always let me hold up a novel, and it’s much easier to carry around an ereader or tablet than it is to lug around a stack of books. So, to be honest,  I do most of my reading on my tablet these days.

Since I can’t shop at the used bookstore for ebooks, and since my library sadly doesn’t allow you to check out ebooks yet, this left me spending a lot of money on books. Even more money than I spend on makeup and cute sweatpants, which is saying something. So, when I saw that Oyster and Scribd let me try a free month of unlimited books, I had to check it out. For science.

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Here’s a shot of my app shortcuts on my tablet. The logos are pretty basic, a stylized oyster for Oyster and a giant S for Scribd. No one is really getting any points for logo creativity.

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Okay, next we have the Scribd home page. There are a lot of popular books here. Navigation is a little difficult, and the way the genres are divided made it hard for me to find books I wanted to read. Do I check under fantasy or fairy tales in YA? Hmm, maybe it’s under Myth?

I wasn’t really a fan of the layout of Scribd. However, they had a great selection of popular and lesser known books in many genres. Search was fairly easy to use, which was good when I knew a specific book I was looking for.

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Here’s the Oyster layout. Oyster was originally developed for ios, and you can really tell. I liked that it was simple to make a reading list, and that my reading progress was displayed at the top of the screen.  I also found that the layout was easier to browse. Search was also easy to use, although it brought up some pretty weird results when I made a misspelling.

Readability was equal on both apps, with swipe to turn pages and the ability to highlight specific words or passages. You could also zoom in or out on both apps, which wasn’t particularly helpful to me, but is a nice touch.

At the end of the month, I wound up keeping Oyster. It not only has more titles, but I found it more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. It is a dollar more per month, if cost is an issue. Scribd Unlimited is $8.99 a month, versus Oyster’s $9.99 a month.

If you’re looking for an alternative to buying ebooks, and you read a variety of genres, Oyster and Scribd are both worth looking into. I have my eye on Kindle Unlimited, but right now the selection on it is paltry. When they add more publishers,  I plan to review it as well.

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