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Scribd Launches a Global 'Spotify For eBooks'

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the because-customers-want-more-subscriptions dept.

Books 53

Nate the greatest writes "Scribd threw its hat in the ebook subscription ring today. The site is expanding on its existing ebookstore with a new $9-a-month all-you-can-read ebook subscription service which offers a selection of ebooks from a number of publishers, including HarperCollins, E-Reads, Kensington, Red Wheel/Weiser, Rosetta Books, Sourcebooks, and Workman. That's a better selection of commercial ebooks than the Kindle owner's lending library, but not quite as broad of a selection as the recently-launched Oyster. However, Scribd is charging less and they're offering better platform support. While Oyster is only available on the iPhone, Scribd has apps for both Android and iOS, and you can read the ebooks in your web browser."

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53 comments

So... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 9 months ago | (#45006237)

Can I or can't I read it on my e-book reader?

And what formats do they offer? If with DRM what devices support the DRM? All which support the format?

And if I want to is there a crack for removing the DRM?

The stuff that matters, things for geeks.

Cool ad though... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 9 months ago | (#45006263)

"New e-book store / subscription service, pay^wjoin now!"

Offer me e-books like indie game bundles, pay what I want, DRM free. That will sell more content than "pay more than physical books!" .. also libraries are "for free" (though I wish they was all shut down, especially in the cases where they are robbing society for e-books.)

Re:Cool ad though... (1)

RMingin (985478) | about 9 months ago | (#45006759)

It's not exactly what you want, since it's not truly pay-what-you-want, just pay-nearly-what-you-want-with-a-minimum-and-less-granularity, but it does approximate that one point and hit all the others:

http://storybundle.com/ [storybundle.com]

Also, Humble Bundle themselves have done ebook bundles twice now. Ask them to do more.

Re:Cool ad though... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 9 months ago | (#45008337)

Thank you. Though I kinda meant in general.

A cousin of mine had just read a recently popular book and mentioned it on Facebook. I followed the link or googled for it and the pocket book was 49 SEK and the ebook was 59 SEK.

Now I must say I would personally prefer the e-book (at least at a better price) because it uses up less space, bookmarks itself and so on (just wish the readers was way better, perfect and fast PDF, higher resolution and larger screens, possibly color, more storage, ..) but I consider a real book higher value because you can for instance sell it, trade it, lend it, more work was put into generating it, way higher distribution/shipping costs.

But still at a higher price. Only reason I can see for that is that they know demand for e-books are high enough and that it still sells, or something such.

Biggest positive factors of e-books is 1) Huge library 2) Cheaper price. Please don't mess up 2, because then 1 likely wouldn't happen anyway.

Now personally I guess I'd just copy the shit out of it (the content/books) if it's too expensive. But I buy the Indie bundles and feel somewhat bad about missing out even though I feel like I can't buy ALL of them and even less so don't see how I would ever be able (or even interested) in playing all the games. Last game I bought before those though was Warcraft III and the expansion The Frozen Throne for it (though I had booked World of Warcraft and would had bought Starcraft II had I a good enough machine for it.)

Anyway I'm quite sure I read some story about the insane amount the libraries had to pay for each lended copy of an e-book, I think it was higher than their cost for books? Possibly much higher. Which make no sense at all. I don't know whatever they pay extra for books or can only lend them a fixed amount of times or pay a fee per time or for a license / good will for using them. But e-books of course doesn't wear out and could be lended out in masses but there has to be some negotiation on price I guess, or have been somewhere, but it seemed completely f-d up.

If anyone got any details please share.

I don't own a reader atm. Kindle still seem like the best option but the limited storage (unless you actually buy books from Amazon), vendor lock-in (they sell books in their own format and the most popular one you can't use on their readers) and finally the Sony reader had much snappier zoom and scroll (?, may have been just one of them.)

Re:Cool ad though... (1)

RMingin (985478) | about 9 months ago | (#45008655)

I have no counterpoint or argument to most of your post. I just wanted to mention that the Nexus 7 (2013 version) and Nexus 10 both make fantastic ereaders, if you don't mind a backlit device.

If you prefer non-backlit, my daughter has the Kindle Paperwhite and I put all the books on there for her. It doesn't accept ePub, true, but Calibre is your friend and can convert everything to AZW or mobi and then copy it to your Kindle for you.

Calibre: http://calibre-ebook.com/about [calibre-ebook.com]

Re:Cool ad though... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 9 months ago | (#45009121)

I imagine the e-ink would be nicer. But anything over sitting in front of the computer with the wrong aspect ratio (could be fixed .. But size and comfort and all.)

I know about Calibre, but the other problem is the limited storage vs say the Sony readers which have microSD slots.

Re:Cool ad though... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 9 months ago | (#45010077)

I know about Calibre, but the other problem is the limited storage vs say the Sony readers which have microSD slots.

In practice, the amount of storage probably doesn't affect the usefulness of the device that much. I currently have ~700 books on my Sony device, which occupies just 690MB of the 1.41GB internal storage, and I haven't needed to touch the SD card yet.

Re:Cool ad though... (1)

RMingin (985478) | about 9 months ago | (#45010185)

I have North of 2000 books on my old second generation Kindle. It's only about three quarters full.

On my Nexus 10, I have almost the same number, but it's four GB. Why? Graphics-heavy books and manuals don't work all that well on eink, for me.

Re:Cool ad though... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 9 months ago | (#45010043)

I don't own a reader atm. Kindle still seem like the best option but the limited storage (unless you actually buy books from Amazon), vendor lock-in (they sell books in their own format and the most popular one you can't use on their readers) and finally the Sony reader had much snappier zoom and scroll

The device you choose really comes down to what look & feel you prefer. I opted for a Sony PRS-T1 [sony.com.au] (now superseded by the somewhat prettier PRS-T2) for a variety of reasons, at the top of which was the fact that it supports the widest range of formats.

However, in practice I now convert everything I can to ePub, which IMO is by far the most useful, since I have become fairly good at manipulating them with Sigil [wikipedia.org] . I try to avoid PDF if possible, since you can't reflow text, so you're stuck with the format you've got. Whichever device you opt for, my suggestion is to use Calibre [calibre-ebook.com] to manage content.

Re:Cool ad though... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 9 months ago | (#45010817)

But there's lots of rule books and such as PDFs, also likely scans of stuff not released officially / from the beginning as ebooks.

Maybe magazines too?

But the screen size, resolution and lack of color and the speed of the device and how heavy PDF is to handle are additional issues with those.

Re:Cool ad though... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 9 months ago | (#45008429)

Also a book bundle unless it's like thousands of books doesn't really do it for me. Not that I know what I want to read or not or should read or not but I've always read very little and as if if I'm going to read something I'd likely pick something which I find interesting and which I look up. But if the e-book cost more than a physical copy or about the same why get that one instead?

Also I hate having to buy things multiple times. Why would I ever have to pay again to go from a movie I own on VHS to DVD to blu-ray? Imho I have already paid for the production and license so to say. All the various formats is just a pain in the ass.

I buy board games but I know the tablet versions are often free or very cheap. But I assume the price difference may not ONLY be in production and distribution cost (and seriously screw the retailers, who needs them? Why can't I just order from a freaking massive distribution center what I want myself rather than pay some additional middle man?), anyway, the argument could be that they make some money there and that helps with development of games. Yeah. Good. But is the system fair? I don't know. So I can't tell, but I'm curious.

Anyway, why can't they put a small "key guard" on the box inside the plastic with a key for the electronic copy of the game if you buy the physical copy? Like, "play the physical copy with your friends if you get the chance, if not you can always play the electronic version." Just mark it with "Includes a copy of Ticket to Ride for iOS and Android" for instance.

Formats change. The product remain the same or about the same (freshed), let me get access to it regardless of format!

The obvious question (3, Insightful)

CdBee (742846) | about 9 months ago | (#45006253)

Which can apply to most media subscription services: What's Excluded?

I suspect that new releases wouldnt be in it, which dilutes the customer value somewhat as in the UK at least, new books start appearing in Charity shops within a few months of the release anyway, and their price for old-releases only has to compete with the negligible cost of pre-owned literature.

Selection at charity shops (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45006617)

In my experience, each particular charity shop carries a tiny, poorly organized selection of books. This means e-books compete with online charity shops that charge shipping. Goodwill, for example, has a store on Amazon. So if e-book rental costs less than shipping, it's a win.

ebooks? Project Gutenberg! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45006459)

Re:ebooks? Project Gutenberg! (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 9 months ago | (#45006533)

And what if I wanted to read a book that was _newer_ than Steamboat Willie, and not written by Cory Doctorow?

Re:ebooks? Project Gutenberg! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45009015)

"And what if I wanted to read a book that was _newer_ than Steamboat Willie, and not written by Cory Doctorow?"

Just torrent a couple of thousand, since they don't have a very effective brute squad yet.
I have around 65000 of them in my Calibre, for the rest of my life.

Re:ebooks? Project Gutenberg! (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about 9 months ago | (#45012543)

So you plan to ignore all books written in the future? 65k sounds like a lot but really unless you have no preferences and read simply to kill time, there are maybe 2k titles in there (and a lot of stuff you won't like but someone else will). Good luck with that.

Re:ebooks? Project Gutenberg! (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 9 months ago | (#45014913)

65k books should be enough for anybody.

The Sonny Bono wall (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#45006551)

If you rely on what's available through Project Gutenberg, you might get the mistaken impression that the world ended in the early 1920s. That's how outdated Gutenberg has to be under current law.

Fuck Scribd (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 9 months ago | (#45006545)

Fuck them right in the ass. We don't need another service shitting up search results with paywalled data. Experts-exchange was bad enough.

Re:Fuck Scribd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45006691)

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Re:Fuck Scribd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45006785)

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Anybody have a torrent?

Re:Fuck Scribd (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 9 months ago | (#45006805)

Agreed. Not to mention the countless number of times I'd search for something, and not realize it was on scribd until my browser screeched to a halt like a fly caught in sap.

Didn't take me long to blacklist their domain. I don't want anything to do with them.

Re: Fuck Scribd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45007579)

Yeah, explain to me why Scribd can just take files from the net and put them behind a paywall.

If my stuff ends up there, can I shut the site down with DMCA?
If not, why not?

Re:Fuck Scribd (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 9 months ago | (#45011609)

Experts-exchange was bad enough.

Well. If you want a sex change, I don't see what's wrong with demanding an expert.

Books are not music (1)

guanxi (216397) | about 9 months ago | (#45007367)

At least for non-fiction, books are fundamentally different than music. A book contains knowledge that you may want to retain for the rest of your life; a song is an experience that you can have a few times and move on to something else.

I'm not sure I want my books owned by a third party.

Re:Books are not music (1)

Tom (822) | about 9 months ago | (#45008745)

Amen.

I'm sticking with actual books for most things. There are a couple exceptions where I really like the searchability of an e-book, for example.

Re:Books are not music (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45009023)

ebooks are fine if you retain 'ownership' of them locally on your device ( and local backup media )

Re:Books are not music (1)

Tom (822) | about 9 months ago | (#45011653)

Even then physical books have advantages. For example, lending an e-book still requires that the recipient uses that same reader.

Re:Books are not music (1)

guanxi (216397) | about 9 months ago | (#45016597)

Even then physical books have advantages. For example, lending an e-book still requires that the recipient uses that same reader.

I'm actually looking into this issue right now, trying to find an ebook format not tied to a particular reader, which I own and is free-as-in-speech, and which will be readable in 20 years.

I just started looking into it; isn't EPUB platform independent and free at least? I also came across TEI, but I'm not sure it's really what I'm looking for.

I'd also like something I can annotate and retain the notations, but at some point I may decide a word processor is a better application for my needs.

Re:Books are not music (1)

Tom (822) | about 9 months ago | (#45018315)

epub is pretty good as it's basically HTML. I don't know about the free part (could be, could not).

That's a steep price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45007545)

When most of the ebooks I buy are £1 or £3 (so think $1 $3 [US])
£9 a month seems like an awful lot of reading I'd have to do to make it worthwhile.

Whilst there are spurts where I read voraciously, there are also long periods where I read slowly and steadily (i.e. around one novel a month)

Having an "all you can eat" might be great if you're buying textbooks (which are shockingly expensive) or fine for super speed readers, but anyone who reads less than a couple of books a month will surely be better off paying on a per book basis?

Furthermore, the all you can eat philosophy is actually quite demeaning to authors and publishers. It suggests all books are of equal value and therefore equal merit. I'm sorry but that just isn't true. You're average Dan Brown-exactly-the-same-story-as-the-last-one, or your faux-celebrity-ghost-written-"autobiography" is not the same as you Pulitzer/Booker prize winner novel, your 100,000 epic or your highly researched non-fiction /textbook. Whilst price does NOT equal quality in a book, I would argue that some books are worth more than others.

e-book reader? (3, Informative)

MisterBuggie (924728) | about 9 months ago | (#45007593)

So, all the books I want, but I have to read them on a backlit LCDscreen. No chance of settling down for a proper read on any e-ink device? What use is an e-book subscription if you can't use it on an e-book reader?

Re:e-book reader? (2)

PlastikMissle (2498382) | about 9 months ago | (#45008015)

Just speculation here, but if they're going to offer an android app, then chances are that you can use it on any of the Android e-ink devices (Kindle and Nook being the most well known) after you root it. I have a rooted Nook Glow that is now basically an e-ink Android tablet. Not really well suited for games and video, but awesome when it comes to reading static text and images.

Re:e-book reader? (1)

MisterBuggie (924728) | about 9 months ago | (#45008753)

So you only have the Android devices... And even then you have to void the guarantee. I have a Kobo Touch. The Kobo e-readers are most likely the most common here in France as the Fnac stores sell them, they're probably the only e-readers sold in physical stores in the country.

Re:e-book reader? (1)

PlastikMissle (2498382) | about 9 months ago | (#45009479)

If you take a backup of your device before the root you can always revert it to it's unrooted state whenever you need.

Re:e-book reader? (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | about 9 months ago | (#45021515)

Assuming your device allows you to back it up.

Re:e-book reader? (1)

PlastikMissle (2498382) | about 9 months ago | (#45028069)

For the Nook at least there's a way to do this using noogie.img [the-ebook-reader.com]

Re:e-book reader? (1)

hendrikboom (1001110) | about 9 months ago | (#45060123)

The ASUS Transformer TF101, which I have, has an app for backing up apps, but it seems to crash whenever I use it. It looks as if I'll have to root my machine before I can do a backup with a normal Linux tool. And the root methid has to not destroy my file system.

Alternative: keep nothing I really need to keep on the tablet.

-- hendrik

Re:e-book reader? (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 9 months ago | (#45022763)

I also bought the Nook Simple Touch Glow with the explicit intention of rooting it. I consider it one of the best purchases that I've made in my life, I use it daily for studing with Anki or browsing with Opera. However, being stuck on Android 2.1 is exceptionally limiting. I'm looking for any E-ink device that is capable of being rooted and running Android 2.3 or 4.x. Backlight prefered, of course!

Re:e-book reader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45023691)

Does the e-ink kindle run Android? I thought it just ran a regular stripped down Linux like the Kobo. I think the Sony e-ink readers run Android though.

"Spotify For eBooks"? (2)

Delusion_ (56114) | about 9 months ago | (#45008151)

Why use such a tortured comparison? Just say "library", or if you must "digital public library".

Re:"Spotify For eBooks"? (3, Insightful)

odie5533 (989896) | about 9 months ago | (#45009247)

Libraries aren't usually thought of as being per-user subscriptions.

Re:"Spotify For eBooks"? (1)

Delusion_ (56114) | about 9 months ago | (#45010697)

And this "spotify for ebooks" isn't exactly streaming content, either, the thing most identified with the Spotify experience.

Some Issues (4, Informative)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 9 months ago | (#45008555)

Before committing to anything you might want to read this follow up post. [the-digital-reader.com] Apparently there are titles shown in the library that may not actually be available in your geolocation. In addition, you won't find out about that until you actually try to open the book. It's really quite disingenuous of them to show you books and let you add them to your library, when they clearly later know that those titles are not available to you for actual reading.

Re:Some Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45011593)

Now you know how the rest of us feel, when we keep on running into "not in your geographic area, neener, neener"-walls.

There's more, though: They've been trying to make people pay for access, or have them "upload" something before giving them another download. In effect, they're charging for content they don't own.

scribD was a scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45008945)

They offered free access to get their stock up, then started charging, even for your own content.

An Alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45009299)

Please try out : https://register.blib.us for an alternative to the Netflix model for books. In this case you can own your library.

Re:An Alternative (1)

BookScanner (3178527) | about 9 months ago | (#45010233)

Worth checking out I think, compared to using Scribd's model.

Re:An Alternative (1)

xigxag (167441) | about 9 months ago | (#45010671)

blib.us is your site. How about mentioning that and not hiding behind an AC sockpuppet to pimp yourself? It speaks poorly as to the integrity of your business.

Re:An Alternative (1)

BookScanner (3178527) | about 9 months ago | (#45010929)

Indeed I am part of that effort. I apologize for not mentioning that explicitly last time. I will keep that in mind next time I post.

No (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 9 months ago | (#45011211)

They are not charging less. Amazon Prime is $79 a year and includes the free lending option.

Re:No (1)

Saethan (2725367) | about 9 months ago | (#45012763)

Not to mention streaming video, and free shipping.
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