The great American author and Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck once famously said, “I guess there are never enough books.”
As a book lover, I believe reading is one of the most underrated superpowers out there and you should read every day.
While there are way too many books to read in your lifetime, there are some books that are life-changing and I keep re-reading them regularly.
If you're looking to read more this year and want to save money, you'll love digital reading subscriptions. Some of them are as affordable as one book!
Here are the 7 best eBook subscription services to check out in 2021.
🌟 My Top Pick: Kindle Unlimited
The best option for most book lovers.
Amazon launched its eBook subscription service Kindle Unlimited in 2014, and in a short time, the platform became one of the big players in the industry.
Kindle Unlimited offers unlimited reading on any Amazon device or Kindle app, contrary to the popular notion that it’s available only for e-reader devices.
A major downside of the Kindle Unlimited subscriptions is that among the wide selection of books you won’t be able to find titles from the “Big 5” publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster).
The Kindle store lacks best-selling authors and contemporary literature, but it offers a great choice of indie and self-published authors.
When it comes to reliable rating systems, Kindle Unlimited beats the competition.
Just like any other product on Amazon, books on Kindle unlimited also get thousands of reviews. So, if reading reviews helps you avoid lousy books, then Kindle Unlimited may be the best eBook subscription service for you.
- Readers get unlimited access to over 1 million eBooks and audiobooks.
- The Kindle reading app is available for free on iOS, Android, Mac, Web, and Windows.
- A great selection of magazines including Time and People magazine.
- The platform offers a reliable rating system.
- User-friendly app.
- Customer support team available via live chat 24/7.
- Unlimited reading for $9.99/month.
- 30-day free trial.
Scribd is considered “the Netflix of books” and for a good reason.
For $8.99/month you get unlimited access to Scribd’s entire database of eBooks. We're talking about 1 million eBooks, plus Scribd’s amazing digital library which includes audiobooks, magazines, sheet music, academic papers, and court filings.
You can also upload and share your own papers and eBooks with over 700,000 monthly subscribers.
Scribd is the perfect platform for keen readers eager to browse through thousands of books and students looking to gain access to academic papers.
- Over 1 million eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, and documents.
- Access to over 1,000 publishing houses including Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins, and Hachette.
- Users can upload their own papers, documents, and books.
- Users subscribed to Scribd get free access to other cultures-and-arts-oriented platforms including MUBI, AUDM, and Farfaria.
- Available on Web, Android, iOS, Kindle Fire and Nook devices.
- Available worldwide.
- Unlimited reading for $8.99/month or $84.99/year.
- 60-day free trial (using my affiliate link).
Bookmate is a mobile reading app and an eBook subscription service.
Bookmate's users can browse through 12 million titles organized by genre and editorial lists.
What sets Bookmate apart from its competitors is that the platform offers users a chance to browse through friends’ feeds and bookshelves. Users can also upload their own EPUBs and FB2 books and sync them across all devices.
Bookmate offers an amazing reading app which is well-designed and has a user-friendly interface. Users can highlight words, look up definitions, and use translation words.
One downside of Bookmate is that Bookmate’s library lacks well-known titles, so don’t expect to find recent New York Times bestsellers.
However, if you're interested in discovering new titles, Bookmate is a good choice.
- Users get unlimited access to 12 million books from 600 different publishers.
- Books are available in 12 languages.
- Users can upload books in EPUBs and FB2 formats.
- Amazing comics selection.
- Readers can save audiobooks on their devices and listen offline.
- Bookmate is available on Web, Android, iOS and Windows Store.
- Unlimited reading for $9.99/month or $99.96/year.
- 7-day free trial.
One thing that distinguishes 24symbols from other eBook subscription services is the social element.
Readers can create their own library and fill bookshelves with digital books. They can also manage their personal profile and tell others what’s on their reading lists or what they’ve read recently.
Aside from that, 24symbols offers you book recommendations they think you’ll like based on your digital library. The platform is cloud-based, which means that you won’t need to download files.
You can browse through an extensive selection of books, including bestsellers, biographies, history novels, memories, romance, science fiction, and even dictionaries.
Plus, books are available for reading offline in case you love reading on a long flight.
- Readers get unlimited access to over 1 million books.
- Users can create their own digital library and personal profile.
- Books are available for reading offline.
- Nicely designed and user-friendly app.
- The app is available on Web, Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, and Blackberry.
- Unlimited reading for $8.99/month.
- No free trial available.
Best for people looking for summaries and efficiency over full experience.
Blinkist is designed for busy individuals who don’t have time to read as much as they wish to. So, subscribers have access to book summaries created by a team of experts who squeeze the crucial ideas of non-fiction books into bitesize text and audio.
The platform features 3,000 titles and the team adds 40 titles each month.
- Each Blinkist book summary can be read in 15 minutes and it comes in audio and text versions. Readers get 8–12 crucial insights from every book.
- The platform features bestselling non-fiction books focused mostly on mindfulness, motivation, psychology, and leadership.
- Blinkist has a user-friendly interface and is available on iOS, Android, and Fire devices.
- Unlimited access to every title.
- Offline listening is available as you can download book summaries and listen to them at any time.
- Blinkist Premium plan costs $14.99/month or $89.99/year.
- 7-day free trial. You can cancel at any time.
TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations
Discover new authors from around the globe and delve into books you’ve never heard of before.
Tailored Book Recommendations book subscription service also known as TBR might be just the thing you need.
This platform offers personalized recommendations by asking you a series of questions about your preferred books and genres. You can even share your Goodreads account so the team at TBR can get a better idea of what’s already on your reading radar.
The best part?
Every reader gets a personal expert bibliologist who crafts a list of recommendations and a personalized letter explaining why they chose each book.
A great way to discover new titles and maybe get to meet like-minded friends.
Two subscription levels – recommendation and hardcover.
- The recommendation level offers 3 personalized picks by a bibliologist delivered to your email inbox. This subscription level is available worldwide.
- The hardcover level offers 3 hardcover books delivered to your doorstep plus a recommendation letter explaining your picks. Available only in the US.
- The recommendation-only level costs $15/quarter or $50/year.
- The hardcover level costs $79 + $4.79 shipping per quarter, or $300 annually with free shipping.
OverDrive is a digital platform that offers access to 43,000 libraries and 10,000 school libraries in the U.S.
The platform is completely free. All you need is a library card from a public library within the US to get started with unlimited reading on OverDrive.
OverDrive offers an impressive selection of titles including New York Times bestsellers and Marvel comics. It may come as a surprise, but there are higher chances to find today’s bestselling authors on OverDrive than on paid e-book subscription services.
Public libraries collaborate with the “Big 5” publishers but don’t send their titles to Kindle Unlimited. OverDrive has its own app Libby which you can use for reading.
The only downside of using OverDrive is that you may have to wait to get a book. Their system functions similarly to borrowing physical books from a public library, so there is a limited number of digital copies available.
- Open access to 43,000 libraries and 10,000 school libraries in the United States.
- Great selection of bestselling authors including titles from the “Big 5” publishers.
- Great selection of audiobooks and streaming videos.
- Digital access to magazines, movies, and TV shows.
- Nicely designed and user-friendly app.
- Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Amazon Kindle, Nook, Mac, and Windows.
- Free. All you need is a library card from one of the public libraries that collaborate with OverDrive.
Comparison of the Best eBook Subscriptions
Recommended Reading List
There you have it. Multiple eBook subscription options to choose from. Try them out and choose the one you like the most.
If you don't know what to read next, check out my recommended reading list.