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Why My Books Are No Longer On Scribd

Never a dull day around here as an independent author! So, about six months ago, maybe, I decided to finally take the plunge and put my books on Scribd. The lovely people at Draft2Digital made publishing to Scribd easy, one click of a button, and I knew that if I published my books on Scribd, it would also help shield my books from being pirated on Scribd. You see, before Scribd was a book subscription program, it was a file sharing system and a harbor for book pirates, and they promised that if you put your books in their subscription program, that it would help them keep your books from being pirated.

Okay, fine. I hated their stance on pirating, but I was willing to give their subscription service a try as an author. Let me be clear. I am not a Scribd reader/user. I prefer to just buy my books on Amazon, and I haven't even tried the Kindle Unlimited service as a reader. But the basic idea is that readers pay a flat-fee to Scribd to read however many books they want per month. Services like this only make money if (1) readers don't read their fair share or (2) they get plenty of capital venture funding.

Turns out that romance readers, voracious as they are, were reading Scribd out of house and home. (Please know I use “voracious” in a light and sarcastic way because I AM one of those “can't get enough” readers). In direct response, INSTEAD OF DOING SOMETHING SMART like raising the fee readers pay or consider cutting royalties to authors a few percent, Scribd decided to cut 80-90% of their romance catalog.

I am disappointed in this decision to say the least. There is nothing dumber than alienating a large part of your subscriber base (romance readers) and penalizing romance writers. We are a feisty bunch, and I doubt this will go over well for Scribd. It is probably the beginning of the end for them.

Wednesday morning, all of my books were on Scribd. By lunch time, only my two Kami No Sekai short stories and REMOVED were left. They kept REMOVED because IT IS FREE. That's right. They are keeping all the free books because they don't have to pay those authors, BUT they gain money from the reader.

I decided that if they aren't going to keep the rest of the series listed so I can make money from my work, then I am not going to help them stay afloat.

I apologize to any readers I found via Scribd. I know there were a few of you, and I hope you're able to continue reading my work from one of the other vendors (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and All Romance eBooks) who gladly carry all romance books.

If you are a Scribd user and you're unhappy about this situation, please contact them and let them know that you want your romance titles back!

2 thoughts on “Why My Books Are No Longer On Scribd”

  1. I have never heard of Scribd before this issue was raised. I have recently heard of a dutch subscription service initiative one of the local bookstores here is starting, so I am assuming scribd is the similar. I have never used it though, I prefer to buy the books I want directly.

    It sounds weird that instead of uping the price for their subscription services scribd are cutting authors. It just doesn’t make sense from a marketing perspective. I can imagine they might not want to up the prize of their regular subscription service, but maybe they could’ve added another program, like if you read more than X books each year or month you have to pay more. Seems like that would’ve both kept their readers and authors happy and give them a way to make more money. Now they made a bunch of readers and authors angry and only get negative publicity in return.

    I can understand you removed the few books they didn’t cut as well. Why help them, when they basically only keep your free books so they don’t have to pay you.

    1. Right. I feel as thought this was a knee-jerk reaction instead a well-thought out plan. I can’t imagine this is going to do them any good, AND it’s just going to piss of readers and authors. Bah. I was hesitant to work with them because they harbor book pirates and I’m glad to see my instincts were right. Oh well.

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S. J. Pajonas