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Saturday, March 2nd
Everand, formerly Scribd, is a digital subscription platform that stands out not only for its vast collection of e-books, but also as a prominent service for audiobook enthusiasts. Launched in 2007, Scribd initially began as a platform designed for users to publish and share their documents online. It was often referred to as the "YouTube for documents," offering a space for individuals and organizations to share PDFs, Word documents, and PowerPoint presentations.
Evolution introduced audiobooks
However, as the digital reading landscape evolved, so did Scribd. It transitioned into a comprehensive subscription service, integrating an expansive audiobook library alongside other reading materials, making it a notable competitor in the audiobook platform arena. By their own explanation, Scribd kept their advertising costs low in order to pass the savings on to you, the customer. Recently they rebgranded their audiobook service as Everand.
"Unlimited" listening and reading for $11.99
Everand has just one subscription model: pay $11.99 for a month of access to their entire library, which includes 2,000,000+ eBooks, 300,000+ audiobooks, and 1,000,000+ magazines and news articles. When we searched Everand's catalog, we did notice that a few audiobooks we've listened to, which could be considered somewhere between niche and mainstream, were missing. However, they do seem to have all the trending titles covered.
30-day free trial
Like many audiobook platforms, Everand offers a 30-day free trial. You'll have access to their entire catalog during this time, and they'll remind you before you're billed that your trial is coming to an end.
Lower audio quality might not be a concern
Everand's audio quality is a little lower than some of its competitors - 32 kbps versus 64 kbps. Lower-quality audio uses less bandwidth when downloaded or streamed and saves space on servers, which means Everand can pass its savings on to you. For most people, the difference in audio quality between 32 kbps and 64 kbps may not be noticeable or even a big deal, especially when it comes to spoken word content.
Standard playback features
Everand has all the typical playback features, including adjustable listening speed, bookmarking, skipping ahead and rewinding, and the ability to download titles for offline listening.
No credits needed
What sets Everand apart from services where you exchange credits for permanent additions to your library is the level of flexibility it offers. With a credit-based service, each choice of a new book carries a risk: you're stuck with it, whether you end up enjoying it or not. Everand eliminates this issue entirely. If you find that you're not enjoying a book you've started, you can simply move on to another title without any repercussions.
Better recommendations than competitors
Everand's recommendation system is better than other audiobook services that focus on selling you more titles or require you to use credits to own them. With Everand, you'll get a wide range of book suggestions that actually match what you're interested in. Each category usually has several good options to pick from. The best part is that you can start reading or listening to these recommended books right away, without having to buy them separately.
Everand may restrict your access without warning
Is Everand truly unlimited? The simple answer is no. While Everand claims to offer "unlimited" access to books and audiobooks, user reports and official statements suggest that there are, in fact, limitations on the content you can access within a given 30-day period. This limitation isn't arbitrary; it's an effort to manage costs, since Everand has to pay royalties for every book consumed through their platform. For example, there have been cases where Everand removed certain romance titles from view, presumably to deter avid readers in that genre from consuming content at a rate that would be expensive for the company.
What Coming Soon really means
According to Everand's website, while members can "read an unlimited number of books and audiobooks each month," they do reserve the right to restrict access to specific titles within a particular content library until your membership renews for the next month. For example, you might notice an "Available Soon" ribbon over an audiobook you're looking at, and that's what that means. Not everyone may face the same limits; it could depend on how much you read. So, you can listen to a lot of books on Everand, but the list of available books might get shorter as the month goes on, especially if you read a lot.
Lack of transparency knocks them down a few spots
Overall, it seems like Everand is best for audiobook listeners who don't go through a ton of books per month. We wish we could tell you exactly how many books that is, but it appears that Everand will limit access to titles based on several different metrics, including which genres you listen to the most, so they probably can't provide an exact number themselves. As a method for keeping costs low, this is understandable, but we don't like that they aren't as transparent as they could be about it. We rank Everand above some services that require you to purchase expensive credits every month but below services that are totally free.
The world of audiobooks has seen huge growth over the past decade, with industry surveys showing a double-digit increase for ten years in a row with no signs of slowing down. Various platforms for listening to audiobooks have popped up, each one catering to different user needs, budgets, and preferences.
The recent boom in the popularity of audiobooks can be attributed to a few different factors, but one of the biggest reasons is how well they fit into our busy, multitasking lives. You can listen while you're commuting, working out, or even doing household chores like folding the laundry. It's a great way to access intellectually engaging entertainment while getting some drudgery done.
And, thanks to technological advancements, it's easier than ever to access audiobooks. It used to be that you had to confine yourself to a room with a CD player to listen to an audiobook, but now, anyone with a smartphone has thousands of audiobooks available at their fingertips. Plus, as audiobooks have grown in popularity, so has their production quality.
Audiobook narrators aren't merely reciting the words on the e-reader in front of them in the recording booth; they are acting out the story. Accomplished actors and seasoned voice artists can bring stories to life, adding an auditory dimension to characters and settings that can sometimes rival or surpass the imagination. Narrators are often chosen because the story resonates with them personally, adding an extra layer of emotion to the performance and making it feel more human.
For those apprehensive about putting on their headphones instead of picking up a book, it's worth addressing some common misconceptions about audiobooks. Contrary to the belief that listening to a book is "cheating" or less intellectually engaging than reading, many studies show that the comprehension levels between reading and listening are strikingly similar. What's more, audiobooks can be particularly beneficial for those with reading difficulties, allowing them to enjoy literature they might otherwise struggle with. They are not a replacement for traditional reading but rather a complementary medium, broadening the horizons of literary engagement.
When it comes to audiobook services, there are several types to choose from. First, there are library-based services which partner with local libraries to allow users to digitally borrow audiobooks. Much like a traditional library, you can "check out" titles for a specific time frame using your library card. However, be mindful that sought-after titles might have waiting lists. Another option is subscription-based services. With a recurring fee, usually monthly, users can access a broad range of audiobooks. Depending on the service, you might get a set number of credits to pick audiobooks each month or even enjoy unlimited listening. Lastly, there are pay-per-title services where, rather than a subscription, you buy each audiobook separately. While there's no monthly commitment, the upfront cost for each audiobook can be higher. The upside is that you typically get to keep the audiobook forever once you've bought it.
When deciding on the right audiobook service, several considerations can help guide your decision:
If you want a detailed overview of the best audiobook services out there, Top Consumer Reviews has your back. We trust our ranked evaluations will guide you to the audiobook platform that best matches your listening habits and lifestyle!
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