Scribd, a subscription service that provides an all-you-can eat selection of books and audiobooks, has now added comic books to its lineup.
Available today, Scribd’s comic section contains more 10,000 comic books from various publishers that you can read on computers, phones and tablets.
Scribd isn’t the first to this party. Individual publishers Marvel and Archie comics have also tried their hand a comics subscription services. And there are services like ComicsFix, which offers a subscription to indie publishers.
But Scribd is the first to have a wide variety of comics from both major and indie publishers, including Marvel, Archie, IDW, Zenescope, Dynamite, Top Shelf, Top Cow and Valiant. Sorry, no DC or Image.
Scribd’s comics service is available as part of its regular $8.99 monthly fee, which also gives you access to its more than a million digital books and audiobooks.
I’ve been a longtime subscriber of the Marvel Unlimited service, so I signed up for the Scribd service’s free trial to check out what was on offer.
The catalog is a mixed bag. Some publishers have an impressive number of comics available, while others have a more limited selection. The Marvel stock seems quite a bit smaller than the Marvel Unlimited collection, so it won’t serve as a replacement for that service.
In an interview with iO9, Scribd CMO said the service will continue to add new comics from its publishers and expand its offerings. She danced around the question of whether DC Comics might come to the service a bit, but did say that they are in discussion with the major and indie comics publishers around the world.
Using the Scribd app for iPad, it was easy enough to select and read a comic. The experience lacks the bells and whistles and panel-by-panel reading features of Comixology, the popular online comic store app, but it was adequate and the comics are clear and not excessively muddied by compression.
My biggest gripe is that comics don’t seem to immediately start streaming the way they do on Marvel Unlimited or Comixology. You have to wait a while for them to download.
But mainly, the feeling is one of manic glee. It’s like being set loose in a library with a huge comic book section.
It was inevitable that as comics make the transition from paper to digital services using the popular subscription model would pop up. Time will tell if Scribd’s service will be the eventual winner in this category.