Wednesday News: Changes to Scribd, join a bookclub, Reedsy book editor, and RPF goes mainstream
Scribd Announces Major Changes to Subscription Service – While Nate Hoffelder characterizes this as Scribd “gutting” its ebook subscription service, that’s like more the case for the so-called “power reader” than for the reader who can read one book a week, max. Scribd is pushing this as a more “sustainable” model for the “long term,” and it is cheaper than Audible’s Gold membership level, which is $15/month for one audiobook.
As part of the re-structured service, all Scribd users will receive unlimited access to “Scribd Select” books and audiobooks, a rotating collection spread across a variety of genres. In addition, all users will have access to three books and one audiobook of their choice each month from the entire Scribd catalog. Titles from Scribd Selects do not count toward the user-chosen titles.
The monthly fee will remain $8.99, and the changes will go into effect sometime in mid-March. – Digital Book World & The Digital Reader
Social group memberships in retirement are associated with reduced risk of premature death: evidence from a longitudinal cohort study – Despite the persistent idea that retirement equals improved life condition, this is not always the case. Health and an overall sense of well-being can actually decline in retirement, especially for those who do not have a strong support system. In some ways, the major finding of this study involving about 850 “older adults living in England” is common sense: joining a social group — like a book club — can improve quality of life after retirement. Does engaging in the online book community count, or would that be more of a retirement stressor?
In the present paper we argue that part of the variance in health and quality of life of retirees can be explained by the implications that retirement has for people’s social group memberships—and their social identities or the sense of self that is derived from membership in one or more social groups.10–12 In more formal terms, we define a social group as a group of any form that a person is a member of and that he or she sees as an important part of their identity. For example, these groups can be leisure groups (eg, a book club), family, friendship or community groups (eg, a church group), sporting groups (eg, a tennis club), work groups (eg, a sales team), professional groups (eg, a trade union) or any other groups that a person sees as an important part of who they are. More specifically, we argue that retirement has an important bearing on health and quality of life because it typically involves relinquishing social group memberships (eg, as a member of a particular professional group, a particular organisation, a particular work-team) that have been a key focus for people’s self-definition for years or decades. At the same time too, it can also provide opportunities to develop new group memberships, and hence for particular forms of socially engaged life. In line with previous work that has pointed to important links between group membership and health,13–15 our general argument is that the consequences of retirement for health and quality of life will depend in part on its implications for the constellation of group memberships that define an individual’s sense of self. – BMJ Open
Reedsy Launches Book Editor To Seamlessly Turn Your Draft Into A Book – Self-publishing services sure are growing, and Reedsy has added an editing function that allows collaborative work on a document as well as access to actual editors who can help the self-published author work on a manuscript. As someone who hates Google docs with the passion of a thousand suns (okay, maybe only 999), I can see how this might be useful for collaborative writing projects other than books.
You could think about this book editor as a Google Docs for books. It lets you write and edit in your browser and everything is saved in real time. Multiple persons can edit at the same time, make comments and track changes. It replaces the cumbersome back-and-forth process involving Word documents and weird file names.
When everything is done, you can tweak the layout and export your book into a publishable ePub and PDF. After that, authors can self-publish their books on the Kindle Store, iBooks Store or do whatever they want with them. PDFs are compatible with most print-on-demand services. – Tech Crunch
IMAGINES: Celebrity Encounters Starring You – Oh, to be a fly on the wall during the editorial meeting where this book was pitched to the Simon & Schuster bigwigs. Real person fan fiction from a traditional publishing house. I still can’t quite wrap my head around it. Led by Anna Todd, the Wattpad author whose One Direction fan fiction novel, After, got her a sweet and unusual deal with Gallery Books, the book is described as a collection of “stories from Wattpad writers that immerse you in a fantasy world of fame, adventure, and flirtation with your favorite celebrities.” Wattpad is definitely an interesting community writing model, and you can only imagine how many words like “never” and “not us” and “no way” are being eaten in New York publishing these days.
Let your fantasies take over! That’s what the top Wattpad authors have done in this special collection of fictional scenarios that bring you up close and personal with the real celebrities you love—star alongside about Zayn Malik, Cameron Dallas, Kanye West, Selena Gomez, Dylan O’Brien, Tom Hardy, Jamie Dornan, Benedict Cumberbatch, and many more! – Simon & Schuster
How can the RPF book be legal? What happens if celebrities rightfully object? I have the feeling not a lot of thought was put into this.
I guess my question about that RPF book is why would I outsource my fantasy life to Wattpad authors? They can’t actually write about *me* flirting with my favorite celebrity, but I can imagine that if I want to, exactly the way I want to. And I’m not a particularly creative person.
Ah, I remember the glory days of the 3-month free Scribd subscription through DA, during which I probably read 25 to 30 books. It was great while it lasted. Then they gutted the romance novel selection. Now they are limiting open access to three books and one audiobook/month? Glad I never became a paid subscriber.
Despite my rather epic loathing of Wattpad, I’m actually amused by the publication of Imagines. Whether or not people like it, the lines between fanfic (yes, even RPF) and professionally published fanfic (or profic for short) have merged beyond what anyone thought possible. It might not seem like it, but Wattpad is ridiculously huge in the world of self-publishing (more so in Asia, from what I know, than in the US, but still).
As for the Scribd changes, it’s made me think that unsubscribing from them earlier this month was a good move. I’d liked the service at first: there were so many things available! Once they added audiobooks, I was in heaven! However, they started doing things that made me pause (including deleting a lot of M/M books). By the time they began to limit the audiobooks (to one free per month, any additional one for $9), my side-eye was out in full force.
Although I can understand why they had to tweak things, it all left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
I can’t wait for the first lawsuit over celebrities’ right to publicity vs. protection of free speech regarding a public figure. S&S is selling this for a list price of $16.99 trade paper/$7.99 ebook so there’s definitely money changing hands, and they are using the celebrities’ names to publicize this even though the solicitation says there is no endorsement or involvement. I’m guessing S&S’s lawyers think they have an argument why this is legal, but I’m still getting my popcorn ready….
Correction: Right OF publicity, not right to publicity. Although no doubt celebrities also think they have a right to publicity as well.
Also adding Scarlett Johannsen sued a French author over fraudulent use of her name and won; of course, that was in a French court so it hasn’t been tested in US courts yet.
Just fyi, I have a Scribd annual membership which works out to $3.99/month. So, even if I were to only read 1 book a month it still totally pays for itself. Just wanted to throw that out there in case people don’t know about this option. There’s no way I’d pay $8.99/month with the reduced romance content and now the new business model that limits the amount of books you can read.
I’ve been thinking about letting go of my Scribd subscription, but I’m trying to finish up a long series, and Scribd just happens to have the four remaining books that I need to read, so I’m at least holding onto it until I read those books. I do also listen to the 1 audio per month (and think wistfully of the glory days of unlimited audiobooks over there, because I was averaging 4 to 6 per month then). I’m a moderate-paced reader, and I read more than romance, so whether it’s worth it depends on the selection. I was disappointed when selections were taken from the catalogue, but if they cap open access to 3 ebooks/1 audio per month, then I am hoping they’ll be able to bring back more selections to choose from. If they don’t, I expect to cancel in another month or two. Sadly, Amazon works best for me for buying books. My local public library is so bad, I had to subscribe to Free Library of Philadelphia to find any decent selections. I’m not ready to give Amazon Prime my business since I give them so much business in other ways. Scribd worked for me for having a slightly wider selection to choose from when I couldn’t find what I wanted at the FLP. I also use Open Library for older books. Sometimes I think this is a sign that I should start reading more of those older books and classics that I can find for free.
Correction: I meant Kindle Unlimited instead of Amazon Prime above.
What Susan S said. Exactly.
Dear god. No. Gross.