Scribd Looks To Apps And E-Readers To Lift Its Profile


Social publishing site Scribd is hoping to capitalize on the hype over apps and e-readers with a slew of products aimed at portable devices in the coming weeks. The San Francisco company’s founder Trip Adler tells the WSJ Scribd will unveil a “send to mobile” feature this month that will make it easier to bring its 10 million documents to smartphones and e-readers.

The effort is part of an “open strategy” that will make Scribd’s documents compatible with all manner of e-reader devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Amazon’s Kindle, Google’s Android system and beyond. Scribd, which wants to build on the roughly 50 million users it attracts every month, realizes it’s going up against the forces of DRM, although the EPub open format has been getting some traction.

Still, Scribd will have to convince mobile users that the trade-off for free and open document sharing requires putting up with ads around some content and paywalls on copyrighted works from its e-commerce store, which offers publishers an 80 percent take of the revenue.

E-commerce has been an area Scribd has wanted to grow. And while it sees an opportunity with the proliferation of devices, the e-commerce effort has remained fairly small since it started last spring. Currently, the WSJ notes, only 5 percent of the e-books on Scribd are copyrighted. For now, with devices fighting over prices for copyrighted material, Scribd is content to make its big mobile push with free stuff. After it hooks more users with its free docs and e-books, the hope is that it could make some more moves on the e-commerce end.



If you look at Scribd’s quantcast numbers ( ), most of the company’s userbase is international ( 11 of the 51 million are US based ). Not sure if the majority Scribd’s users would find this useful . . . but doesn’t hurt to have it in place.

Alan Soon

I like this. It’s all about content agility. The debate between PC vs Mobile is soooo 2009. We’re now talking about screen sizes. It’s not mobile; it’s about formatting for whatever screen you’re looking at.

Kim Reader

This can only be a good move by Scribd. The next advertising battlefield will be in the handheld devices. Whoever gets it right fast will surely win, particularly in the e readers segment.

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