Storytel Review: A Standout Scribd Alternative, But With a Catch

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Audiobooks are expensive, and so is an Audible subscription. If you’re looking for inexpensive Audible alternatives, the Storytel app might be on your radar. But is it worth considering? Is it worth trying out? In this Storytel review, we’ll find out if it’s worth the time and money.

This Storytel review will explore everything you need to know about the service: what it is, how it works, what can you expect, how much it is, the quality of the catalog, the amount of audiobooks available, other under-the-hood features, pros, cons, and verdict, among others. Most importantly, you would know what kind of listeners this service is best for and whether it’s a bang for the buck.

But first things first: Storytel is big in Europe, and it’s slowly penetrating the global market. It’s a Scribd-like subscription service that mainly offers audiobooks and ebooks. The titles are in different languages: English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Indian, and a whole lot more. So far, so good. But the catch is that Storytel is not officially available in the United States. Gasp! And to cap it all, it’s not also available in many other English-speaking countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.

So if Storytel is not even available in the U.S. and other lucrative markets, then can it be a viable alternative to Scribd or Audible? Let’s find out.

Storytel Review: App Overview

Storytel is currently available in many countries in Europe, Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. It is offered in more than 30 languages as well.

a Storytel Splash Screen showing a picture of a woman and child with headphones on. The text reads a Storytel Splash Screen showing a picture of a woman and child with headphones on. The text reads

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Its combined global library contains more than 700,000 titles. The subscription fee is determined by the country in which it is offered. For India, the Select option costs 149 rupees per month (roughly $2 USD) and includes unlimited access to audiobooks and ebooks in more than ten regional languages excluding English, while the Unlimited option costs 299 rupees per month ($4 USD) and includes unlimited access to audiobooks and ebooks in English and regional languages. Subscriptions in Singapore, meanwhile, begin at 12.98 Singaporean dollars (roughly $10 USD) per month.

Getting Started with Storytel

After opening the app, it asks where you’re located.

two Storytel screens showing Select Country and Select Language optionstwo Storytel screens showing Select Country and Select Language options

Then, it prompts you to sign up. Upon doing that, it asks you to select languages so it can show you appropriate titles.

From there, you might just want to explore its catalog before committing to a subscription. Remember that the price varies per country, and there are 25 of them. Though Storytel also offers free trials, it usually only lasts up to three days and not an entire month.

One feature that is consistent in each of its version is Storytel Originals, wherein they publish exclusive audiobooks. In the Singaporean version, there’s also a section dedicated to audiobooks that went viral on TikTok. In several markets, there’s a section for Upcoming Releases as well.

the Storytel Coming Soon pagethe Storytel Coming Soon page

A Look Into Its Catalog

Storytel’s catalogs are country-specific. In India, for example, it provides Indian classics in addition to the usual English-language titles. Obviously, certain ebooks are translated, as in Germany, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. In a nutshell, each country has its own library, so ebook and audiobook options will differ based on where you reside.

If you’re multilingual, it’s a fantastic app as you would be able to listen to audiobooks from other countries and in other languages aside from English. It’s a perfect opportunity to dive in to obscure titles from different parts of the world as well. Usually, in Storytel, English-language audiobooks are translated for local markets. For instance, in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us is available in Spanish.

two Storytel screenshots. One shows the Storytel Classics page, showing a Tess of d'Ubervilles audiobook. The other shows the Made Into Movies list, showing a Lord of the Rings audiobook.two Storytel screenshots. One shows the Storytel Classics page, showing a Tess of d'Ubervilles audiobook. The other shows the Made Into Movies list, showing a Lord of the Rings audiobook.

In my case, the default market is India, and there are lots of essential classic audiobooks and poetry titles from Instapoets such as Rupi Kaur and R.H. Sin.

If you want to catch up with adaptations, there’s also a curated list titled Made Into Movies that has plenty of notable titles.

The Downsides and the Verdict

Since it’s not officially available in the U.S., you’d only probably use Storytel abroad. The major drawback is that if you speak more than two languages and want to access other audiobooks in several languages or countries, you might have to subscribe to several countries’ versions of Storytel. You simply can’t access the catalogs if they’re only available in some regions. The selection of titles is scant in other places, and it’s frustrating to keep up which ones are available in what country.

the Storytel Audiobook Playerthe Storytel Audiobook Player

But though Storytel acquired, an American company, last year, they are simply not the same services.

When it comes to the quality of the catalogs, some titles are unfamiliar, so I can’t vouch for their quality. Even Storytel’s bestselling titles don’t mirror the ones usually from the U.S., if that’s what you’re expecting. In addition, Storytel doesn’t show new or recent releases from U.S. publishers, unlike Audible or Scribd. Some titles arrive months or even a year after the original release date. One example is an audiobook, which is already available on Audible since 2016, but is yet to release on Storytel!

To be fair, Storytel is a great service for Europe and Asia — but not outside of those continents. With its plethora of foreign-language titles, it can rival that of Scribd. Accessing those titles, however, might require multiple subscriptions, which adds up.

This app is for those who want to explore and for those who don’t have something specific in mind, letting the app decide what they should read next. Going in with a single title in mind might leave you disappointed.

So, Storytel vs. Audible? It depends on your needs and preferences as an audiobook listener. I hope that this Storytel review gave you enough information to make an informed decision.

Do you want more options for your audiobook listening? I’ve got you. Here are the best audiobook subscription services to try. Those are paid ones, but if you want to get free audiobooks, definitely try something from these best audiobook apps list.

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