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Why own media when you can rent the library?
April 30, 2015 | 2:51 pm

eatIs ownership of media passé? Over the last few years, I’ve noticed an interesting trend develop. It started with music, as “all-you-can-eat” services like Pandora and Spotify popped up to offer users a chance to listen to as much music as they wanted either free with advertising, or for a small monthly fee. Amazon, Google, and Apple soon followed suit. Then came video, as the holy trinity of Netflix, Hulu, and (again) Amazon launched streaming video services for television and movies. Next, it moved into e-books, with Oyster, Scribd, and, yes, Amazon launching services. (Amazon doesn’t seem...

Almost a year with Scribd. Has anything changed with my reading?
August 18, 2014 | 4:47 pm

scribd logoI will have been a Scribd subscriber for a year in October, and I've noticed some interesting changes in my reading habits. If you're interested in how a subscription service affects book buying and reading, follow along. According to my Goodreads account, here's the important data: Since January 2014 Books read: 134 Books read through Scribd: 40 Purchased books read: 40 Library books read: 31 The remainder are a mix of review copies, Kindle Unlimited and free books. How is that different from previous years? Going back through my Amazon and B&N purchases from 2013, I'm buying more books books than last year. My library use fluctuates wildly...

Scribd adds new browsing and books discovery options
August 7, 2014 | 10:15 am

scribd logoScribd made some significant changes to their web interface today, opening up new browsing and book discovery options. While I like the concept overall, as an author with books listed in Scribd, I noticed something which bothered me. Let's start with the concept. Scribd’s new browse experience brings the familiar elements of browsing a neighborhood bookstore into the digital realm, from personalized staff picks, to shelves for every category and special interest niche imaginable. I have to say they completely nailed this. The shelves are easy to browse, and the special niches were interesting. Mind you, not that finding more books to read...

Lonely Planet e-book travel guides now on Scribd
April 17, 2014 | 10:25 am

lonely planetThe popular Lonely Planet travel guide e-books have headed to Scribd. The e-book subscription service let customers know about the newest addition through email. When I think of e-book subscriptions, I tend to imagine a digital library with thousands of titles ready for me to read. I think more along the lines of fiction titles and perhaps memoirs and biographies. But the addition of a Lonely Planet makes it seem as though e-book subscriptions can also be used as a reference tool for the price of $8.99 a month. Having guides such as Lonely Planet at your fingertips seems useful especially for travelers. Scribd...

Oyster and Scribd release different, but significant app updates
January 22, 2014 | 6:47 pm

app updatesWhile content will always be important to subscription services, we can't ignore the importance of reading environment. The greatest content in an unusable app won't attract many subscribers. Both Oyster and Scribd recently released app updates, and while they took different approaches, both were significant for users. Oyster added annotation and sharing features to their app. (Hat tip to Nate at Digital Reader for covering it.) While those aren't features I care about, I know lots of readers love the ability to highlight and share passages. Sharing of highlights is also good passive marketing for Oyster. I assume the shares mention Oyster...

Scribd and Smashwords Author Compensation: Why It’s Confusing
December 27, 2013 | 10:47 am

scribd and smashwords author compensationTwo weeks ago, we covered the new Scribd/Smashwords partnership, and one of the things I noticed when I read the announcement was how complicated were the Scribd and Smashwords author compensation terms. I've already covered the first part of my interview with Andrew Weinstein, VP of Content Strategy at Scribd where he discussed piracy. When we finished that subject, I asked him about the compensation terms. You may remember that while Smashwords authors receive payment from Oyster when a reader completes 10% of the book, it's different for Scribd. The short version is that authors are paid in full when a reader completes...

Scribd and Piracy: What Are They Doing To Stop It?
December 23, 2013 | 4:50 pm

scribd and piracyWhen Scribd announced their partnership with Smashwords last week, I did some poking around various boards to check the reaction. What I discovered was that Scribd and piracy were linked together in the minds of many people. On Friday, I had a chance to talk with Andrew Weinstein, VP of Content Strategy at Scribd to ask him what they were doing to change that impression. He was candid, and some of his answers surprised me (in a good way). One of the complaints I had read was from a reader who refused to subscribe to the service because of what she...

Scribd to Partner With Smashwords. Adds More Than 225,000 Titles
December 19, 2013 | 9:45 am

scribdAs an author, Christmas has come early for me. Although I'm still writing the article detailing my experience, I decided last month to distribute my books through Smashwords. One of the reasons was the partnership with Oyster, and I was crossing my fingers that Scribd was to come. And today it has. Scribd just announced their partnership with Smashwords, and there's a lot to like, both as readers and authors. For readers, the number of books is close to on par with Oyster, who has already partnered with Smashwords. Unless I'm missing a partner, that gives both services basically the same book...

First Impressions of new Scribd Service
October 2, 2013 | 3:32 pm

It was ironic that a reminder popped up for me yesterday to cancel Oyster. Cancel one service and sign up for another. Susan has covered the essentials well in her article. What I wanted to write about was my impression as a user. So far, I like it. The selection is similar to Oyster, and I found plenty to read in a quick perusal. Nate over at Digital Reader noticed that some of the books showing in searches are marked as Unavailable, and when I dug a bit further, I found that to be true. That's definitely a disappointment. One of the...

New York school’s summer reading list features hilarious but unforgivable typos
July 11, 2013 | 4:20 pm

summer reading listSome Long Island students might find it difficult to fill out their summer reading list this year. Why? Because some of the books don’t exist. A summer reading list for the Hempstead, N.Y. public school system had more than 30 typos, according to Newsday. Some of the books on the list include "The Great Gypsy" by F. Scott Fitzgerald and "The Lovely Bone" (which sounds like something not meant for children) by Alice Sebold. Some author misspellings include Charlotte Bonte (instead of Bronte) and George Ornell (instead of Orwell). (Scroll down to see this beauty for yourself. —Ed.) One or two mistakes probably would...

Scribd fails to sell news aggregation app to Yahoo
March 20, 2012 | 12:10 am

TechCrunch has a piece on Scribd, the document-sharing platform with 100 million registered users and 90 million monthly active users. The piece focuses on the iOS news aggregation app, Float, that Scribd developed and almost sold to Yahoo for between $2 and $8 million before Yahoo decided to walk away in February. Float had gotten off to a good start, with up to 200 news partners and good ratings at the app store. However, it soon ran up against some stiff competition: “When we originally launched Float, Scribd wanted it to be Instapaper and Read...

Scribd self-censors to stop SOPA
December 21, 2011 | 11:13 pm

Wikipedia isn’t the only site considering a public demonstration of the evils of SOPA. Scribd has gone ahead and done it. Scribd has added a script to its page that blanks out documents word by word before users’ eyes, followed by a pop-up explaining what’s happening and why we should all be concerned about SOPA. This analysis of why SOPA is unconstitutional is cited as an example. (At least, in theory. It didn’t work on my computer, nor on those of some others who posted comments on Scribd’s post.) That puts me in mind of a tool I...

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