Looking Beyond Ebooks, Scribd Bulks up

Scribd digital comics subscription ebooksScribd has doubled its content offering over the past six months, hitting the 1 million mark after adding 10,000 digital comics yesterday.

In the course of that expansion, the label typically used to describe Scribd’s main program–“ebook subscription service”–has become a bit of a misnomer.

Scribd expanded into audiobooks last November, adding 30,000 titles with the twin goals of drawing in new users and getting its ebook-reading base to try out audio.

As it extends its $8.99-a-month platform beyond ebooks, Scribd is joined by a cohort of other subscription providers also staking new ground. Oyster is now also a web publisher, while Bookmate has long argued its added social features shore up its subscription program.


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Ebook Sales Down at Hachette (Pub Lunch)
The publisher’s parent company Lagardere had a weak fourth quarter, with Hachette’s digital sales in the U.S. shrinking from 30% to 26% of total revenue. Hachette acknowledges last year’s trade dispute with Amazon took a toll on some of its recent figures.

Christian Publishers Sanguine Despite Weak Fiction Sales (PW)
Recent Neilsen data shows sales of Christian fiction shrunk 15% in 2014 compared with the previous year, but publishers in the category say they’re holding steady, attributing some of the decline to growing pains as readers get used to cheap ebooks.
Related: When Low Ebook Prices Don’t Cut It

Why Amazon’s Campus Push Isn’t Just about Physical Retail (ZDNet)
Amazon’s new counter at Purdue University isn’t exclusively about testing out physical retail, especially since the location isn’t quite a store in the conventional sense. As one observer points out, it’s also a potentially great way to establish customer loyalty among specific demographic: well-educated digital natives.

Do Used Ebooks Have a Real Future? (Bloomberg)
Whether ebook resale is a viable business in the United States or amounts to piracy remains to be settled, despite a number of recent initiatives meant to test to boundaries of the current legal landscape. But one writer explains why “the question of used digital media may become moot before it ever takes hold.”

Kindle Upgrades iPhone App (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
The newest version of Kindle’s iPhone app includes support for digital comics and e-textbooks and makes the Books Browser feature available to smartphone users.
Related: Mobile Strategies for Authors and Publishers–Free Webcast

Ebook Sales Shoot up for Harper Lee and E L James Titles (DBW)
After debuting on last week’s Ebook Best-Seller List, two titles in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy jump into the upper reaches of this week’s rankings, while To Kill a Mockingbird and Harper Lee’s forthcoming Go Set a Watchman also earn a place each.

Amazon Prime: A Weird Idea that Works (Wired)
The notion that a premium shipping service and a digital streaming platform would sit well side-by-side is a strange one. And when Amazon hiked the price of Prim from $79 to $99 a year, there were plenty of doubters. One Amazon watcher explains why the program has nevertheless become “an unvarnished success.”

Amazon Launches Giveaway Platform (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
Sellers now have the ability to set up promotional contests through Amazon, but the service doesn’t appear to extend to digital content yet.


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