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So it turns out the Netflix-for-ebooks model doesn't work, as evidenced by the 2015 demise of services like Entitle and Oyster. That left behind Scribd, which also abandoned the unlimited model in favor of something a little more Audible-like.
More on that in a moment. For now, this: Groupon is offering a three-month Scribd subscription for free. As you might expect, that offer is for new subscribers only. Normally you can get only the first 30 days free, so this deal is worth about $18.
Indeed, should you decide to continue, Scribd will run you $8.99 per month. You'll need to pony up a credit card if you want to take advantage of this extended trial, and you'll need to remember to cancel before month four kicks in -- assuming you want to cancel.
So here's the 411 on Scribd. (Is that even a valid expression anymore? Do people still use 411? I guess I should say, here's the Google on Scribd. Here's the wiki on Scribd? Discuss.) It's a content service that hooks you up with ebooks, audiobooks, sheet music, magazine and news articles (from the likes of Fortune, Money, People and Time) and more.
The subscription nets you three ebooks and one audiobook per month, plus unlimited access to everything else. Assuming Scribd's library has content you genuinely want to consume, it's a pretty stellar deal.
And that's where the trial comes in: You've got three months to determine just how much of that content you find interesting. Scribd's ebook selection still pales in comparison to, say, Amazon's, and offers few newer releases, but there's no shortage of good reading material.
Curiously, Scribd does a lot better on the audiobook front, with new titles like Amy Schumer's autobiography, Colson Whitehead's "The Underground Railroad" (which I'm currently reading in ebook form, though it's not available here, alas) and the buzzy YA novel "The Sun is Also a Star."
But, hey, you'll have to see for yourself whether it's worth $9/month. And you've got 90 days to figure that out.
By the way, "The Underground Railroad" is excellent. Harrowing and hard to read in places, but an important work and worth your time. The audiobook can be yours free as part of the deal.
Bonus deal: The folks at Cyberlink apparently haven't checked the calendar, because their Christmas sale is still going. Which is great news for you: You can get PowerDirector 15 Ultra, PhotoDirector 8 Ultra, the Holiday Pack 8, 15 Pro Audio Tracks and a Cyberlink Cloud 25GB one-year license for $39.99. That's after applying promo code SURPRISE20 at checkout, and after removing the Extended Download Service option from your cart. They're all for Windows. Currently that same bundle, minus PhotoDirector, runs $60.
The heavyweight in this deal is video editor PowerDirector 15, the latest version of a PC Mag Editors' Choice from last year. For the budding moviemaker, it offers tons of features and a reasonably shallow learning curve. That tool alone is well worth the $40 price of admission; everything else is gravy.
Speaking of gravy, Ebates users can score another 7.5% cash back, bringing the effective total down to $36.99!