Recently: a bunch of Scribd books

So Scribd removed thousands of romance and self-published books from their catalog this week. More about that here and here if you haven’t already heard about it. Basically, Scribd is screwing themselves with high payout rates and low subscription prices; people are reading too many books per month for what they pay in membership prices, and so Scribd thought the best thing to do was remove access to thousands of books. in discretion reesa herberth

They gotta do what they gotta do, I guess, but that in turn means I have over 20 books in my library about to be removed within 30 days, which means I gotta read them quick.1 If I read a book a day, hopefully I’ll be able to get through them all before the month is up!

Here’s what I’ve read this week (including non-Scribd books):

  1. Feet of Clay – Terry Pratchett. ★★★ Another Discworld book set in my favorite City Watch subseries. It’s an early-ish one, which means characterization bumps, but I liked it nevertheless. It has golems! And now I understand certain things in Going Postal more, which is nice.
  2. ODY-C vol. 1 – Matt Fraction and Christian Ward. DNF. A scifi genderflipped retelling of The Odyssey with extremely psychedelic artwork. I had no idea what was going on, even after reading a summary or two, and so I DNF’d it after the first issue.
  3. Necropolis – Jordan L. Hawk. ★★★★ Book 4 in the Whyborne & Griffin series, one of the Scribd casualties. The writing has gotten better and better, to the point where I’m willing to fork over cash to get books 5 and 6. And I can’t wait to review this one because it is set in Egypt and there are lots of scenes with Dr. Christine (my favorite!) and her surprise love interest. Yay!
  4. Meatworks – Jordan L. Castillo. ★★★½ Alternate scifi-ish world where robotics is the big thing instead of smart phones. Mostly I liked this because of how PTSD/trauma recovery was presented, alongside how important it is getting over your old boyfriend so you don’t lose the newer one like a doofus.
  5. Fatal Shadows – Josh Lanyon. ★★★ A mystery with a gay Los Angeles bookstore owner set in 2000. It felt dated? And not just because nobody has cell phones. Maybe because one of the characters is a closeted/homophobic/self-hating bisexual who’s apparently into BDSM clubs (this is less of an important plot point than it seems). And the killer was super obvious, unfortunately. But! I liked the protagonist a lot, enough to want to read the rest of the series (which is no longer on Scribd, argh).
  6. Bound – Megan Derr. ★★★★ Fantasy/war story with multiple princes and dukes who fall in love with each other between battles. Spies! Romance! Yay! This is probably the longest book I’ve read this year (so far) at 738 pages.2 So the pacing is fairly slow. HOWEVER it was such a good book that I didn’t even mind. I very much enjoyed it and I’m going to go track down the other books in the series ASAP.
  7. In Discretion – Reesa Herberth. ★★★½ This is set in the same scifi universe as Peripheral People, which I loved and still need to review. More of a scifi horror novella than anything else but it has a very sweet “ex-boyfriends reunite” subplot running alongside the scary stuff.

I’m kicking myself for not reading these sooner, if only because they were so good! And, tbh, part of the reason why I liked Scribd so much was because I could try out self-published authors without having to fork over $5 or more for their books; I’m not sure what I’ll do now that I don’t have (as much as) that option. Read a lot more samples, probably.

What have you read lately?

  1. It’s not immediately obvious which books are going to be removed, so if you wanna find out you pretty much have to go through whatever romance/indie books you have saved to your library, click on the author’s name and check if the book is still listed on their author page. If it’s gone, or if you can’t find it by search the site, that means it will be deleted by the end of the month. Read fast!
  2. According to Scribd. Goodreads says it’s only 650 pages?

4 Comments

    • I’d definitely double-check any book by a small press for sure, no matter what the genre. I just noticed that all of Seal Press’s books are gone and I’m not sure if it’s because their contract ran out or if they got caught in the mass deletion. They don’t even publish romance books!

    • Yes, well, having a tiered subscription is harder to sell than a “consume everything for one price” model. I think Netflix tried to do a tiered thing a while back and it tanked because everybody hated it. I personally wouldn’t mind paying a few bucks more per month ($10-11?) if it got me complete access, INCLUDING the books they already removed from the catalog. But then I’d feel obligated to read even MORE books from Scribd each month, which would still mess with their pricing algorithms, ha.

      Really, I think they need to work on their terms with publishers– like paying out after 50% of a book is read instead of 10% or whatever it is now (30%?). Though of course that’ll make them less attractive to pubs (which means less deals) and still won’t solve the problem of people reading too many books. Maybe they could pull a Netflix and license swaths of books for a certain time period, then switch them out for others?

      Or they’ll just kill the program entirely and I’ll have to move over to Oyster (or Kindle Unlimited, ugh).

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