Scribd’s ebook subscription service celebrates its first birthday in a month. How the company navigates the rapidly evolving subscription landscape will have at least as much bearing on its future as its accomplishments during the past year (see infographic below).
Related: Subscription Ebooks Enter Act Two
Correction: Scribd launched in October 2013, nearly a year ago. The post has been changed accordingly.
The past few months alone have seen remarkable change and growth in the subscription ebook market.
Amazon entered the fray in July with the launch of its Kindle Unlimited program. Around the same time, Scribd upgraded its mobile apps and expanded onto Windows. Just a few weeks later, its competitor Oyster widened its own reach to include web browsers and all mobile platforms, after adding Android the same month.
And in August Scribd announced a new ebook discovery system combining editorial recommendations and algorithm-selected offerings. As part of that process, Scribd abandoned the popular BISAC categorization system.
In May of this year, Scribd CEO Trip Adler estimated that the ebook subscription service was the fourth largest revenue source for some retailers, putting it ahead of Oyster. At the time, Scribd’s catalog stood at roughly 400,000 titles. To date, its website puts that figure at more than 500,000.
As the subscription ebook market develops and more publishers make their titles available on the services’ platforms, the competition will only intensify further. Apple’s acquisition earlier this year of the ebook recommendation engine BookLamp led to widespread speculation that it, too, is gearing up to launch a subscription service of its own.
In the meantime, here’s an infographic breaking down some of Scribd’s milestones and some trends among its readers over the past year: