Scribd Jumps into E-Book Rental Industry

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Considered the most popular site for sharing documents on the web, Scribd has made a bold jump into a new market that some are calling a leap of faith. Earlier this month, Scribd officially launched an e-book rental service that is built directly into its existing platform. Although the site will continue to allow users to host, share, and read documents, Scribd is now home to the majority of the HarperCollins U.S. catalog of books.

Subscription-Based Model

For $8.99 per month, users will be able to access various titles from the catalog and read them on their iPhone, iPad or Android devices as well as on the web. Users will also have the option of purchasing books that are not available for rent through the service. According to reports, Scribd began testing its new service back in January before signing on with HarperCollins. In addition to one of the industry’s big five, Scribd also has the support of six smaller publishers.

A Nonstarter?

Despite these partnerships, some experts fear that without the support of the other four heavyweights, the service could be a nonstarter for many avid readers. Scribd, however, seems to be banking on their early start in the space. One competitor, start-up Oyster, has also agreed to terms with HarperCollins and is offering a similar e-book subscription service for a monthly rate of $9.95. According to a story in The Verge, no service has been able to pull together a majority of the major players in the publishing industry.

Although Scribd does show some promise, we’ll stick to borrowing titles for free from our local library for now.