Document-sharing site Scribd will begin beta tests of an e-commerce platform today in an effort to tap into publishers’ increasing interest in charging consumers directly for digital content. The company also hopes its e-book marketplace will tamp down criticism that it abets online piracy of printed books; complaints about Scribd and competitor Wattpad were highlighted just last week in the NYT.
Scribd, which has offered free uploading and sharing of documents since launching two years ago, believes that the rise of Amazon’s Kindle has made the notion of buying texts online much more acceptable. After this week’s launch, Scribd will focus on a corresponding iPhone app, similar to the idea behind the Kindle iPhone app. But that’s where the similarities end.
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— Publishers will set prices: Unlike Amazon’s revenue-share model, which typically takes as much as a 70 percent split of the revenue from some content providers, the new Scribd Store will let content owners keep 80 percent of the revenue from purchases of their works, said Tammy Nam, Scribd’s VP-content and marketing, in an interview with paidContent. Authors and publishers in the Scribd Store will also be able to set their own prices and DRM options. Prices currently range from $1 for a graphic novel panel to $5,000 for an in-depth market-research report on China.
“For the most part, there