24symbols review: is it better than Scribd?

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Competition in eBook and audiobook subscription services has flourished in recent years. While many have gone bankrupt, Scribd, a major player in the industry, remains very popular with many bookworms. But now it’s being challenged by other subscription services, including one called 24symbols. In this 24symbols review, we’ll explore what makes this service unique, including the pros, cons, and the verdict.

Is 24symbols better than Scribd? Should we make the change? Let’s take a look under the hood.

24symbols was launched in 2011 and has been dubbed “Spotify for Books”. It offers eBooks and audiobooks for a flat monthly fee of $ 8.99. And just like other subscription services, ebooks are limited to waiting lists, and the majority are novels, sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, and fiction.

How to configure 24 symbols

It’s easy to get started with 24symbols. You can create an account using your existing email address, Facebook or Google.

When registering, this will not require you to register immediately; you will have the option to do this later on the subscription page.

24symbols is available on many devices and platforms. You can even read on an e-reader as long as a modern web browser is installed on it.

Unique features of 24symbols

24symbols offers different experiences on desktop and mobile. Obviously, the desktop version has some features that are not available on the mobile app. But if you’re not overly invested, the mobile app is decent, simple, and straightforward.

Screenshot of the 24symbols homepage

On the mobile app, the left panel includes the following tabs: Want to read, Reading, My shelves, and Subscribe. Below them are Featured Books, Free Books, and Categories.

Screenshot of the left panel of the 24symbols mobile app

The Wanna Read section contains all the ebooks that you have marked as favorites. The Reading and My Shelves sections are pretty self-explanatory. Also, when you create a bookshelf, there is an option to make it private, so that whoever follows you won’t be able to see the eBooks that you are not proud to show.

Speaking of tracking, 24symbols looks like a social network and a reader app – a mishmash of Goodreads and Scribd. When you click on My Shelves, it will show a link to your profile where you can see the Subscribers and Subscribers tabs. On top of that, when you check out a book, you can see how many liked it, saw it, or commented on it.

The featured page shows listings curated by 24symbols: contemporary fiction; the most read; test; crime and thriller; body, mind and spirit; Historical novel; biography & memoirs; romance; science fiction and fantasy; business and economics; short stories; to travel; horror; and young readers. The Categories section shows the same things.

If you are multilingual, it is easy to change the language. You can do this in the Settings icon in the upper left corner of the mobile app. At first it only shows three languages: English, Spanish and German. And when you click on More Languages, these are displayed: Afrikaans, Bosnian, Catalan, Danish, Basque, French, Irish, Croatian, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Latin, Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Russian , Serbian, and Ukrainian. If you change the language and click Featured, ebooks in the language of your choice are automatically displayed.

Meanwhile, on the desktop, the Recommendations page displays lists of users that you can follow like a Spotify playlist. Each shelf displays the number of ebooks and the number of subscribers it has.

Screenshot of featured shelves from desktop version of 24symbols

There’s also this Reader Community page where it shows updates from friends, editors, authors, and categories that you follow. This is where you can watch for new releases – the 24symbols news feed.

As for the reading application, it is more or less similar to other applications. While reading an ebook, you can change the font, increase the brightness, update the font type, switch between light and dark modes, save bookmarks, and control navigation.

Screenshot of 24symbols Ebook Reader

What types of books are on 24symbols?

The most popular genres in 24symbols are romance, fantasy, classics, and general fiction. If you are a subscriber, you can choose from a selection of around 30 ebooks in a specific category. Remember, however, that these are backlist titles.

If you are looking for a specific publisher or author and their available titles, you can check out the Libraries section. Check every publisher / author page because not all ebooks appear on the first page. I have found that this is the best way to find something to read in 24symbols. I wouldn’t even have known that the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas and (former Book Riot contributor) Eric Smith Brand are available here without digging.

The 24symbols team also does a weekly roundup of the books that caught their attention: “The best books of the moment”. This is a great place to start if you want to explore 24 symbols.

Is 24symbols free?

24symbols is not free. You have to pay a monthly subscription of $ 8.99, which allows you to access its catalog of over 500,000 ebooks in 11 languages, and listen to one audiobook per month.

It does offer “free” eBooks, however, but the caveat is that you can only read their first few pages. Technically, it’s not free, and 24symbols should call it that: a preview. You can find them on the Free Books page, which has a mix of all genres.

If you want to give gifts, 24symbols also sells gift codes. When you buy one, which costs $ 27, that gives you three months of access to its catalog.

24symbols against Scribd

24symbols is similar to Scribd – they are both eBook and audiobook subscription services that charge $ 8.99 per month. They both have apps on different platforms. 24symbols offers over 500,000 eBooks in 11 languages, while Scribd has roughly the same number of titles.

The differences are in their catalogs. 24symbols ebooks are aimed at a European audience while Scribd’s catalog is aimed at American readers.

In 2020, Scribd began offering magazines as part of its subscription. 24symbols does not have a magazine number in its catalog.

What I didn’t like about 24symbols

24symbols doesn’t offer a free trial, so it’s very hard to see if you like it or not.

The company’s support team is also disappointing, in my experience. For this 24symbols review, I repeatedly contacted their support team for press-related material. I also went so far as to contact his employees on LinkedIn, but got no response.

As for its catalog, while an audiobook is included in the subscription, the selection is so meager. There isn’t much to see other than the classics.

Honestly, I can’t find anything that I would like here other than a few classic poetry ebooks. But you and I are different types of readers, so maybe you would find 24 symbols to be of great service.

24symbols Review: Verdict

While 24symbols is a decent Scribd alternative, it’s not really “Spotify for Books”.

When you subscribe to Spotify, there is no limit to what you can listen to. Spotify’s catalog is also extensive. When it comes to 24 symbols, however, there isn’t a wide range to choose from, and you only get one audiobook per month throughout a month’s subscription. But then again, music and eBooks are apples and oranges, and it’s not fair to compare one media format to another.

Still, it’s not appropriate to call it “Spotify” and tell readers to “read (or listen!) Whatever book you want,” because that’s just not the case.

24symbols is intended for casual readers who aren’t looking for anything specific; it’s a great service for those who just want to read all that is available. But for voracious readers who want the latest versions, this one is a jump.

For more on reading apps, here’s a guide to free apps, along with a StoryGraph review.


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