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Anne's Randomness

Netflix for books

That's how a website called Scribd (which I'm guessing is pronounced with a long I) has been described. You pay a flat fee, currently $8.99, for a month's worth of unlimited reading, anything in their library. Why do I bring it up? Because Smashwords, the indie publisher through which I reach non-Amazon sites, has just signed a deal with them.

Shipments of Smashwords e-books to Scribd are slated to begin in January. I'll keep you posted on exact timelines. For a writer like me, and readers like you, this seems awesome. You wouldn't be here if you didn't like to read a LOT of words, and Scribd has access to a LOT of words -- and even more once Smashwords fully uplinks!

So how it works on your end is that you pay your $8.99 (first month is free, by the by) and get access to Scribd's library. They list "unlimited reading on-demand" as one of their major selling points, which I would imagine means you can have as many books as you want for that month. Anyone else feeling that "kid in a candy shop" thrill?

On my end, I get a royalty, pretty close to my standard payment for sales, whenever a subscriber reads past a certain point in one of my books. It's also logged to my account when someone "browses" my book, meaning they read a small amount of it... and ten "browses" are credited to me the same as one sale, so even that's good!

Quite honestly, I can't see any major downsides to this arrangement, unless it's that you, O readers, don't get to keep the book after your month is up. But neither would you with a library copy, and besides, if you're subscribing long-term, you can reread as many times as you like. And if you eventually want a copy you own, I still sell those! 

So who here thinks a subscription to Scribd might be in their future? I admit, it does cost money, but... books. LOTS of books, for only a little more than a single paperback or a pair of e-books would run you. Thoughts are welcome -- let me know if you approve, disapprove, or just want to dance. See you tomorrow, with fanfic fun!

4 Comments to Netflix for books:

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Dawn on Saturday, December 21, 2013 1:37 PM
"Scribd (which I'm guessing is pronounced with a long I)" Oh - that would make it 'scribed', which would make a lot more sense than 'scribb-dee', which is what I've been saying. Anyway, it sounds interesting, I'll have to check it out.
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Carole on Saturday, December 21, 2013 7:29 PM
I'm not seeing any downside to this as a reader. As fast as I read, this sounds like reader heaven! Plus it means that I can try out books to see if I really do want my very own copy. I don't think I will ever grow out of wanting the paper copies of my favorites. Nothing like curling up to read, and being able to caress the pages, and flip back to check out what he/she said earlier in the chapter...
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Geoffrey on Sunday, December 22, 2013 1:53 AM
This brings to mind a conversation I had circa 2005 when I was meeting a new friend. I had just discovered that she was a librarian, and we got to discussing the impact of ebooks on libraries. There was no such thing as a Kindle or iPad, or any sort of remotely usable tablet. And I was wondering what the point of libraries would be when ebooks didn’t take up space, or even require a building to go to. Libraries, I assumed, were going to become obsolete. Of course, I badly underestimated the utility of the building, not really having had a sense of how typical patrons use the services offered. But the question still lingered without a resolution: can libraries exist when books are digital? So Scribd sounds like a digital library, one with a subscription fee. This makes sense: after all, libraries cost money, but are paid for by the government. At my own library, the costs are covered by a special property tax of $140 per year per resident, which is paid by everyone one way or another. That’s more than a Scribd subscription. Therefore, I think it’s time to update my predictions. I don’t think libraries are going to go away, and in the not too distant future, no one will have to pay for ebooks anymore. Thanks, Anne, for the interesting discussion.
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Jenna on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 11:21 AM
Sounds great, but I don't know if, as usually happends, it will fail to work with Screenreaders. I think I'll check it out to see though. :)
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