Simon & Schuster, the publisher behind Angels & Demons and He’s Just Not That Into You, has agreed to add its 5,000 e-book offerings to social publishing site Scribd. The books will be sold in the Scribd Store, which began beta tests last month.
Unlike Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) in the case of the Kindle, Scribd lets the content owners keep 80 percent of the revenues from e-books sold through its store, which was one of the main attractions for Simon & Schuster, said Ellie Hirschhorn, EVP and chief digital officer for the book publisher, in an interview with paidContent. In addition to the 5,000 e-book titles, she noted, users will be able to browse through 7,000 Simon & Schuster books not currently available electronically. Consumers will be able to buy those physical books directly through Simon & Schuster’s own commerce site. More after the jump
“The benefits of the deal with Scribd is two-fold,” Hirschhorn said. “We get to expand our distribution to Scribd’s 60 million users, plus we expect incremental revenue. As for the revenue split, we don’t talk about that specifically, but we always look at the margins as well as the marketing opportunity.”
Although some titles in the Scribd store can be bought piecemeal — for example, the Lonely Planet community and travel guide site is selling single chapters starting at $2.50 — Simon & Schuster will only be selling complete works. Prices will mirror that of the most recent print edition, but with Scribd’s 20 percent discount. At some point, the publisher may decide to sell smaller parts of books, such as single chapters. “One of the things we like is that Scribd offers us lots of flexibility to experiment with different pricing models,” the rep said.
Overall, Simon & Schuster views its involvement with Scribd as still in the experimental stages. While it has deals with most of the major e-book distributors, such as Amazon’s Scrollmotions Iceberg Reader (app for the iTunes store), Sony (NYSE: SNE), Fictionwise (bn.com), eBooks.com and others, the company wants to ensure that that it establishes now as products like the Kindle have finally helped e-books gain some acceptance among general consumers. “The Kindle has done a great job of creating awareness, but we’re not betting on one single distribution point,” Hirschhorn said. “We want to be everywhere readers are, and being on Scribd helps us achieve that to a greater degree.”