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Macmillan Signs Deal With Scribd, Other eBook Subscription Service

scribd[1]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.

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George Naylo January 12, 2015 um 4:09 pm

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

George Naylor January 12, 2015 um 4:11 pm

Miss-pelt my own name: Naylor.

Ebook Bargains UK January 14, 2015 um 2:35 am

No reason to. The Big 5 aren’t in KU. Those having a fit over KU are doing so because of the stealth-royalty cut imposed on most indie authors.

Both Oyster and Scribd pay their authors/publishers at the same rate.

Daniel Vian January 13, 2015 um 10:39 am

>>>>>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.

Nate Hoffelder January 13, 2015 um 10:54 am

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.

Juli Monroe January 13, 2015 um 3:17 pm

@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.

Daniel Vian January 13, 2015 um 3:48 pm

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…

Juli Monroe January 13, 2015 um 4:08 pm

@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.

Daniel Vian January 13, 2015 um 4:41 pm

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.

Juli Monroe January 13, 2015 um 4:54 pm

@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.

Ebook Bargains UK January 14, 2015 um 2:44 am

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

What do you call this?

Ebook Bargains UK January 14, 2015 um 2:52 am

"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.

Daniel Vian January 14, 2015 um 1:36 pm

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

Daily Links: Macmillan signs deal with Scribd, Oyster | The eBook Evangelist January 13, 2015 um 1:56 pm

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carmen webster buxton January 13, 2015 um 4:04 pm

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.

Fbone January 13, 2015 um 8:53 pm

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

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