Macmillan Signs Deal With Scribd, Other eBook Subscription Service

Macmillan Signs Deal With Scribd, Other eBook Subscription Service Streaming eBooks The hot news tomorrow morning is going to be coming from Macmillan. The US branch of this publishing conglomerate has signed a couple deals with ebook subscription services to add 1,000 titles to Scribd and (at least) one of its competitors.

To be clear, I do know the name of the competitor, it's just that that particular detail is still under an embargo.

Update: It's Oyster, which now boasts over 1 million titles.

After Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, Macmillan is the third of the "Big 5" US publishers to sign with an ebook subscription service since late 2013, but if you add in publishers like HMH and Scholastic (each of which have revenues large enough to be included in the Big 5) then Macmillan is actually the 5th or 6th major US publisher to do so.

The specifics of Macmillan's deal are not know at this time, but Macmillan CEO Jon Sargent did state last month that he intended to pursue deals with "companies offer “pay per read” plans that offer favorable economic terms". Both Scribd and Oyster offer this type of deal to publishers (Scribd also offers it to ebooks distributed through Smashwords).

Scribd currently boasts 500,000 titles, including 30,000 audiobook titles licensed through Findaway World. They boast 80 million monthly users, with some unknown number paying $8.99 a month to access the ebook subscription service.

Scribd hasn't revealed the number of paying subscribers, but they did recently pick up another $22 million in capital. That suggests that the VCs who invested are satisfied with Scribd's growth.

About Nate Hoffelder (10078 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

15 Comments on Macmillan Signs Deal With Scribd, Other eBook Subscription Service

  1. So, will those currently having apoplectic fits over Kindle Unlimited have the same reaction to this?

  2. >>>>>They boast 80 million monthly users, with some unknown number paying $8.99 a month to access the ebook subscription service.<<<<<

    Don't understand this. 80 million monthly users or 80 million books borrowed or what? Or 80 million visits to the website? Don't all "users" pay the subscription fee? Who doesn't pay? BTW: The Scribd user interface is terrible, no way to see what's available without joining. There is no self-publishing platform. They have strict censorship of content. In general, the way they hide the details of their business makes one think there's a big bluff going on. Considering Amazon's market power and cash reserve and $80 billion a year revenue, one can guess that if Scribd were ever a threat to Amazon, Bezos would just buy them out. What evidence is there that the big trade pubs are not simply playing schoolyard games to spite Amazon? And $22 million in venture capital? Gee whiz. That's not enough to buy a penthouse condo on Central Park South.

    • The 80 million users is like Facebook’s billion plus users. Scribd is counting everyone who either visits the site or interacts with a document hosted at Scribd and embedded elsewhere.

    • @Daniel, what do you mean by strict censorship of content?

      It’s true they don’t have a direct self-publishing platform, but it’s easy enough to get in through Smashwords or Draft2Digital.

      • The same LGBT and Hetero erotica carried by print bookshops and published by trade publishers is not permitted in ebooks by Scribd. Simple erotica, not pornography–not permitted. They will accept ebooks about lust for food and murder, but not ebooks about sexual lust. Now what the hell is it that’s necessary for procreation and the birth of each new generation except sexual lust? And what argument can be made that when ebooks about food and cooking are acceptable but ebooks about sex and lust not acceptable–what argument can be made that such is NOT censorship. I think it was the writer Brigid Brophy who said that what the censors are afraid of is masturbation. Happy day! Can anyone make a rational argument that erotic romance, for example, as a fiction category, should be banned? To what purpose? To prevent masturbation? Every bookshop owner exercises censorship of some kind because they carry some kinds of books and not other kinds of books, so it’s not unsual. But censor the likes of Anais Nin? And censor erotic romance? Gee whiz…

        • @Daniel, they have LGBT erotic romance. Scribd is where I read most of my m/m romance. I have several queued up in my Reading List right now. I haven’t looked for f/f, but I would guess they have it as well.

          • Is it not true that Smashwords and D2D will not accept erotica? If so, and there is no self-publishing platform at Scribd, how does self-published erotica get into Scribd? So maybe what Scribd does is publish only erotic romance already in print by big trade publishers. Hot dog! In any case, I will yield to you since you are a Scribd subcriber and I am not. For me the bottom line is that I have no interest in exchanging one set of gatekeepers for another set of gatekeepers—pardon me, “curators”. Keep in mind that James Joyce’s Ulysses, touted by some (including Random House) as the most important novel of the 20th century, was first self-published because no one would publish it except a woman who owned a little bookshop in Paris. Thumbs down on all the “curators” throughout history–including the likes of Scribd. When they are ready to be as brave as Amazon, maybe then they should be looked at.

          • @Daniel, looks like I can’t nest comments any farther. I don’t know about D2D, but there’s plenty of erotica on Smashwords.


            They do disallow certain things, I think, like bestiality and maybe incest, but other erotica is certainly fair game.

        • Daniel., try checking facts before making these crazy statements!

          What do you call this?

        • “Is it not true that Smashwords and D2D will not accept erotica?”

          NO, Daniel, it is NOT true? Have you ever considered checking these things for yourself?

          Smashwords is generally known as Smutwords because of its the anything-goes erotica policy. It’s one of the few ebook stores that allows graphic bestiality, foe example, alongside pretty much anything else, including pseudo-incest. About the only thing not allowed in Smashwords is under-age sex.

          By contrast you won’t find most of the Smashwords bestiality and incest ebooks on Amazon, because Amazon do not allow them.

          “Gangbang With Grandpa And Three Goats (taboo incest bestiality erotica)”

          Try finding that on “brave” Amazon.

          So much for your gatekeeper theory.

          • You are right about Smashwords. Thanks for the correction. Does Scribd take all the Smashwords bestiality and rape books?

  3. Wow, it sounds to me like the big publishers are exploring ways to counter Amazon’s ebook dominance. It will be interesting to see if it works.

  4. Don’t forget Scribd added 2,500 Bloomsbury titles in December.

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