Scribd, long known for being a YouTube for online documents, is today launching a book-subscription service.
The key details: It costs $8.99 per month, includes unlimited online access and an offline library of 20 books at a time, the only major publisher participating is HarperCollins, and the available books from HarperCollins will be those that are at least a year old.
Will that description, at that price, appeal to avid readers? Perhaps. Scribd notes that work from authors including Paulo Coelho, Neil Gaiman, Marian Keys and Elmore Leonard will be included. (Writers will be paid based on how much their work gets read, just like a book sale.)
And, after all, Netflix’s successful subscription-video service doesn’t have all the new hits, either.
But perhaps if people like renting books that much, they can invest in a free local library card.
“We don’t have all of the books in the world, but we have enough that it’s a really interesting product for $8.99,” said Scribd CEO Trip Adler in an interview about the launch.
“By having a book-subscription service, we can create an interesting experience around book discovery,” Adler said. “There’s no obligation to finish, so this really changes book discovery — you can sample, browse and read in parallel.”