[LINK] digital publishing
stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Thu May 21 02:27:28 EST 2009
www.scribd.com .. 60 million readers .. 35 billion words
Site Lets Writers Sell Digital Copies
By BRAD STONE, Published: May 17, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO Turning itself into a kind of electronic vanity
publisher, Scribd, an Internet start-up here, will introduce on Monday a
way for anyone to upload a document to the Web, and charge for it.
The Scribd Web site is the most popular of several document-sharing sites
that take a YouTube-like approach, to text, letting people upload sample
chapters of books, whole research reports, homework, recipes and the
Users can read documents on the site, embed them in other sites and share
links over social networks and e-mail.
In the new Scribd store, authors or publishers will be able to set their
own price for their work and keep 80 percent of the revenue.
They can also decide whether to encode their documents with security
software that will prevent their texts from being downloaded or freely
Authors can choose to publish their documents in unprotected PDFs, which
would make them readable on the Amazon Kindle and most other mobile
devices. Scribd also says it is readying an application for the iPhone
from Apple and will introduce it next month.
Scribd hopes its more open and flexible system will give it a leg up on
Amazon, which has become the largest player in the burgeoning market for
e-books. Amazon sets the retail price for books in its Kindle store and
keeps the majority of the revenue on some titles, which has publishers
worried that Amazon is amassing too much control over the nascent market.
Amazon also allows those books to be read only on its Kindle devices and
in Kindle software on the iPhone.
One reason publishers are excited to work with us is that they worry
that publishing channels are contracting as Amazon and Google are gaining
control over the e-book space, said Jared Friedman, chief technology
officer and a founder of Scribd.
But Scribd also has some hurdles to overcome itself. Though large
publishing firms like Random House have experimented with the site, they
also express frustration that copies of some works have been uploaded to
Scribd without permission.
Trying to address the piracy problem, Scribd is building a database of
copyrighted works and using it to filter its system. If a publisher
participates in the Scribd store, its books will be added to that
database, the company said.
So far, no major publishing houses have signed on to the store, though
the company says it is talking to them. The independent publishers Lonely
Planet, OReilly Media and Berrett-Koehler will add their entire catalogs.
The Scribd store will also give unpublished authors, or authors who are
in a hurry, a well-trafficked Web forum on which to post their books,
charge for them and see immediate results.
Kemble Scott, who has released a novel through a conventional publisher,
said he would post his topical new political comedy, The Sower, to
Scribd and charge $2 for it, partly because standard publishing is so
slow. If this is a book that is going to be interesting to people, now
is the time that it fits into the national mood, he said.
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