Like a lot of supposed author friendly sites, Scribd has become commercial. In two articles (click here), Scribd (and here) Publisher’s Weekly it was variously announced that Scribd now has 30,000 audio books for sale via a monthly subscription.
I left a comment on the second of the two articles asking – Why would you want the electronic version of your mother reading you a bedtime story?
I recieved the following reply from Andi Arnt, a narrator of audio books – Audio Publishers Association reported 35,713 titles published in 2013, with retail sales in excess of $1.3 billion. Narrating audiobooks is my full-time job, and some of the listeners ONLY experience books in audio form, never print. But yeah, you’re probably right, who would want that?
While I’m all in favour of audio books for the blind put out by mainstream publishers, what Scribd’s CEO and co-founder Trip Adler has done (while hoping to cash in on a lucrative market), is to play into the hands of a growing section of today’s youth who are too lazy to buy and read a real book, and those adults who claim they have no time to read because of their busy lives. To the first group I merely say this – you don’t know what your missing. To the second group I say – make time!
Hopefully Adler is not doing it at the expense of the books’ many authors. My question to him is simply this, are the authors of the works or their legal representatives, being paid royalties for the sale of each copy of books you have made available in your new service? If not, why not?
When Scribd first appeared in 2007, like all writers I viewed the site as yet another place to make my work known. Now, I’m not so sure. There are a number of sites that pirate books without paying royalties to the authors of those books. Is that happening here?
To say that what Scribd is doing seems extremely fishy, is an understatement. Has it become yet another pirate site? It’s already an uphill battle to get people to buy a legal copy of an eBook or a paperback, without sites like this sidelining them.