There was a dark time in human entertainment when we had to get dressed, get into our cars, venture out into the freezing tundra and drive to a place called the video store. Today we don’t even need to get out off our comfortable couch bum-divot to get the latest movie or series. This shift didn’t happen overnight though, a champion of the lazy, a promoter of calorie saving, emerged and offered unlimited movies for a monthly subscription. This noble beast was named Netflix.
Later on Netflix not only created a subscription based streaming service but also created some of their own widely popular content. Why are we talking about Netflix even though the title is about Scribd? Well Scribd is being coined as the “Netflix of ebooks”. The company is currently offering subscriptions to more than 300.000 books and many emagazines, newspapers and research papers.
You might ask why this is significant to me: Mark Average Van Joe. Because Netflix redefined the way we consume media in radical way and it is not any stretch of the imagination that Scribd might do the same to the publishing industry.
When the media you want is on demand, it’s more readily and easily consumed. Printed media has been on the decline in recent years but publishers that jumped on the train headed straight for digital-village fared much better than their traditionalist paper brethren. Maybe Scribd will create a renaissance of the written word like Netflix did with movies and series.
Scribd’s accessibility extends beyond unlimited downloads of books, periodicals, newspapers and essays. It can be used on all major mobile platforms allowing media to be consumed anywhere and at any time.
Will Scribd follow the path trail-blazed by Netflix and become a publisher of premium content? Only time will tell but as all signs indicate, with their constantly expanding library and suite of services it’s not something far from reason.
A further guarantor of Scribd’s success is their low monthly subscription price. Today’s market is not only composed of masses of paid purveyors of digital content, it also has to compete with completely free (although illegal in some cases) content. Scribd’s monthly fee of just under $9 is not prohibitive and for what they offer, over 300.000 books and PDF versions of court cases, academic research papers and self-published books.
A few of Scribd’s competitors in the new unlimited ebook service are Oyster and the ebook veteran Amazon (now with the addition of ’Unlimited’) that both come with advantages and disadvantages to their services. None of the other two offer the court cases and academic research papers which could be the item what turns the tide in favour of Scribd.
With the decline of printed publishing and booming ebook publishing we should be witness to a complete shift in the way the written word is published and distributed.
Do you have and e-reader or use your tablet to take in some Oscar Wilde? Or are you a traditionalist that prefers a nice dog-eared paper-back? Let us know in the comment section below!