There’s no better day than today to speak about the recent changes at Scribd. Last night, all D2D users received the following email about Scribd:
“As we all know, the concept of a subscription service for books is extremely new. There are several models on the market now for effectively monetizing subscriptions, and none of them exactly matches what we’re used to from traditional sales royalties. As the market experiments with different approaches, there are bound to be some missteps and false starts along the way. In fact, we should expect this business model to evolve even more in the near future.
Scribd took a significant risk putting in place a model that paid authors the same amount as a retail model for each book read by a subscriber. As we all know, romance readers tend to be incredibly avid readers. In trying to cater to this voracious readership while under this progressive payment model, Scribd has put itself in a difficult place. In a bid to better balance these operating expenses, Scribd is immediately slashing the volume of romance novels in its subscription service.
If you are receiving this email, then you are a Draft2Digital author who has published books in the romance genre to Scribd. This means that some or all of your romance novels are likely going to be delisted from their service today. (Books that are priced at free will not be removed.)
While a large number of romance novels will be removed from Scribd, it isn’t all of them. We aren’t privy to the exact guidelines Scribd is using to decide which romance novels will remain, and it’s our understanding that they remain in flux at Scribd. However, over the coming days, we will be working closely with Scribd to resolve the exact criteria and share them with you so that you’ll have the opportunity to restore all of your titles to the service.
Please Note: If you write in other genres, understand that those books will not be affected by this policy change.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and assure you that we are working with Scribd to explore alternative solutions to this challenging problem, always searching for new terms that could restore our full catalog to their service.
Believe me, this situation is just as difficult for Draft2Digital as it is for you. We also stand to lose a significant portion of our revenue due to this change. More importantly, we regret that we couldn’t give our authors more notice, but unfortunately we were informed quite late in Scribd’s decision-making process. It has been our highest priority throughout these discussions to preserve as many of your books in the service as possible, and we will continue to pursue that goal going forward.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
After I finished reading that “important” email, I immediately removed my books from the Scribd catalog. Was it because I was scared that my titles would be axed? No. I do not accept fear as a viable reason to do anything…especially where readers and books are concerned.
My reasons for pulling out of Scribd were all about the readers and taking a stand for all of them who faithfully pay their subscription service fees each month. They pay these fees so that they can choose the books they want to read. Not so some big company can pick and choose, remove the titles they deem to be unworthy.
Last night, I made this statement on Facebook, which also went directly to my Twitter feed.
“For those of you who’ve gotten the email from #Scribd and D2D…
Am I the only one who is pissed that they feel it’s okay to just delist books from their online/virtual shelves that truly don’t cost them anything by sitting there? I’m not really sure that I like a company who will just remove authors and toss their work away like that.
I’d rather pull my work from their site instead of leaving it up to them to “chop me” or have to watch as they show no respect for the authors whose books make that site what it is. And they show no respect for the readers who buy those books. What about the readers???” Here is the direct link: Madison Sevier
This statement was also picked up by Porter Anderson and retweeted here: Porter Anderson
He also has an interesting article that all of you should read: Growing Pains
This prompted me to make another statement regarding exactly how I feel about this recent slaughter of over 20,000 romance titles from Scribd:
“As an indie author, I refuse to allow any site to dictate whether my books should or shouldn’t be on their site.
After the #Scribd email last night, I pulled all of my books from their catalog. Any company who dictates what readers can and cannot read for their faithfully paid subscription money… is not going to get my support. Or make money off of my back.
Whether it was a business decision or not, there were other options they could’ve used. But picking and choosing, taking away 22,000 romance titles without a care for the readers that support their business…is wrong.
So I removed mine before they could deem my books unworthy or expendable.
The good news is…my ebooks are available everywhere else that isn’t a subscription service.”
This is the direct link: Madison Sevier
The bottom line is this:
Romance readers matter! They are all that matter. They pay for, subscribe to, borrow and lend books all day every day. Without readers businesses like Scribd, Oyster, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks along with many others and the many, many authors would NOT survive. So why would a business make the decision to cut the amount of books these faithful readers pay for each month? Why not cut the royalties for authors first? Or at least try that before removing the very things that readers are paying for?
Yes, this move impacted a lot of authors who have had success there. But my opinion is that it affected readers more. I agree that Scribd has the right to choose who or what they’ll allow on their site. That’s fine. However, as an indie author, I also have the right to refuse to support a business that would simply cut away the very things that brings readers to their site, readers who pay Scribd’s bills.
I took a stand for readers and for myself. So what will you do? Will you wait to see if your books are put in the guillotine at the almighty hand of Scribd? Or will you stand up and take your power back as an indie author? You’re indie because YOU wanted to be the one in control of what your readers read, correct? I think it’s time for all of us to revisit what being indie actually means. Once upon a time being indie stood for something, stood for the readers we love so much.
It should be so again.
Think about that as you celebrate #IndiePrideDay. Are you proud or are you going through the motions?