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Scribd Unveils Online Book Marketplace

May 18, 2009

Document-sharing Web site Scribd on Monday announced the launch of a new online book marketplace.

Already being compared to Apple Inc’s iTunes music store, the new Scribd Store will include works from Lonely Planet, O’Reilly Media, Berrett-Koehler, World Bank Publications and several best-selling authors.

Until the launch of its new store, Scribd has boasted of offering 35 billion words in a various formats from essays to PowerPoint presentations for free.

The San Francisco-based firm is now offering its online store to anyone who wants to publish their written works to a readership of 60 million.
Scribd will receive 20 percent of all sales, while the remaining 80 percent will go to the copyright owners of the work.

Prices are set by the seller and currently range from $1 to $5,000, the company said in a written statement on Monday.

“Our goal has always been to democratize the publishing process for ‘everyday’ people who have so many great ideas to share,” said Trip Adler, Scribd CEO and co-founder.

“Adding e-commerce capability gives all our users — professional and non-professional publishers — even more options in recessionary times, when every dollar counts.”

“Our goal is to liberate the written word,” Adler said.

Scribd also said it plans to launch an application for Apple’s iPhone that will allow readers to access documents across multiple platforms.

According to the Associated Press, Scribd has an advantage over its rivals because its system allows any document bought from its store to be read on different gadgets, including e-readers.

“That’s the Holy Grail right there, so I think this could turn into a really big deal,” Gartner Inc. analyst Allen Weiner told the AP. “Its ultimate success will be determined by the number of publishers and authors it can get on board.”

The Scribd store will also allow users to purchase individual chapters from works, much like Apple’s iTunes store sells individual music tracks to customers.

Scribd says its sellers will also benefit from its Copyright Management System (CMS), which uses technology to block the upload of unauthorized works onto the site.

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