Scribd Unveils New Subscription Service for Digital Books

Scribd will now be offering a subscription service, similar to Netflix and Spotify, through which users can access the entire Scribd e-book inventory. The service will offer unlimited access for a monthly fee, and may be a challenge to larger technology companies such as Amazon, Google and Apple. The company offers its service on most platforms and devices, and hopes to offer a new model for the revenue, distribution and discovery of books.

Trip Adler and his startup Scribd have “just unveiled an online subscription service that gives you unlimited access to a large library of digital books for a flat monthly fee, including titles from big-name publishing house HarperCollins,” reports Wired. “It’s a place where you can browse and skim and read whatever strikes your fancy, which might end up as a few paragraphs of the Christie classic sandwiched in between a chapter of Elmore Leonard crime fiction and a cover-to-cover romp through your favorite Neil Gaiman novel.”

Similar to the all-you-can-stream services that Netflix and Spotify offer, the company plans to do the same with books for online readers and publishers. This idea is not to only generate revenue for publishers, but to provide readers access to a wide selection of digital books and encourage them to purchase titles from other sources.

The company currently offers a subscription service of various books and documents. The new subscription service will have unlimited access to Scribd’s library for $8.99 per month, and will be available on most iOS, Android, and Kindle mobile devices, as well as on Mac and Windows computers.

“According Jan Johnson of Red Wheel Weiser Books, one of the publishers providing books for the service, the setup makes sense for her book house not only economically, but because it gives people a way of discovering books they might buy elsewhere,” explains the article. “The service makes particular sense, she says, because it taps the already large number of people that use Scribd, many of whom are already paying a subscription fee. Scribd now claims 80 million active users.”

Scribd faces significant competition in the e-books market from Amazon, Google and Apple, even though these tech giants do not offer a subscription service. Scribd’s availability on many devices gives it an edge. It also has advantage of being first in the market.

“We expect this to change reading behavior significantly. It makes it so much easier to browse, to sample books, to read books in parallel, to search for information within books,” Adler says. “That’s different from what Amazon does.”