The subtext of every one of these types of posts is “If you can’t beat them, join them”. Scribd has become a haven for pirated content but given that it commands 50 million viewers per month, it has a market that is hard to ignore. Simon & Schuster is the most recent publisher to avail itself of the Scribd platform by making over 5,000 of its digital titles for perusal and ultimate sale on Scribd.
I think part of the strategy is to not only for publishers to expose themselves to Scribd’s audience but hopefully to reduce the possibility of Amazon becoming a dominating market force in digital publishing.
I linked to the Crain’s article because I thought this passage was particularly illuminating:
Ms. Pittis said that piracy is “probably pretty low in this country,” but worries about it more overseas, where millions of Scribd users live and where “there’s such a culture of piracy.” Asked to identify a book damaged commercially by piracy in another country, Pittis said she couldn’t, but added, “I don’t want a HarperCollins title to be the test case.”
Simon & Schuster’s prices are high. For example Seduce the Darkness by Gena Showalter has the “retail” price of $9.99 and is being sold at a fake “discounted” rate of $7.99. I say fake a) because someone from Simon & Schuster informed a reader at Dear Author that S&S was going to lower its ebook prices to be in line with its mass market equivalents and b) because it is a price higher than the mass market equivalents.
It will also be interesting to see if S&S maintains its policy to release the digital versions one week after the paper release. (If so, S&S, I think that is wildly stupid).
I hope that Simon & Schuster isn’t lying about its pricing to individual consumers who inquire about it. I have written for a clarification. I hope I get a response.