Article Corrections on December 30, 2013:
Below there is some information about Scribd that was incorrect, and I would like to clarify what those parts are:
- Scribd is available on Android as well as Apple phones/tablets as well as computers
- You can search the catalog of books by title or author without a subscription if you click on the search bar in the upper left corner of your screen next to the Scribd logo. It the the little magnifying glass icon–the third button
Thank you for understanding!
First, I want to share a fantastic website dedicated to books, book events, gadgets, and reviews. If you didn’t check it out during the cover reveal, The Novel List is definitely worth a read. The site is both interactive and informative, and today I am thanking The Novel List for reviewing Minutes Before Sunset.
Find out why The Novel List said, “Shannon A. Thompson was really inventive with the romance bit. I didn’t even think anything would happen until it did, and when it did my toes curled.” Check out the full review here.
As a an avid reader and working writer, I focus on changes in the industry, and I try to learn as much as I can about what is happening behind the closed doors of publishing houses and libraries. I may not be the most timely person, but I’d rather watch what happens to changes before I discuss them. Because of this, I am talking about Scribd and Osyter today – two reading programs that have been out for a couple of months now.
Scribd and Oyster are e-reading programs nicknamed “The Netflix for Books.” Oyster is $9.95 per month, while Scribd is $8.99 per month, and for these costs, you can read an unlimited number a books on your Apple device.
Because I want to be completely fair, I want to share what I like first:
Unlimited number of books for a small fee – this is great for the avid reader. (If you only have time to read one or two books a month, this probably won’t save you money.) From the reviews I can find, the app looks clean and easy to use. It has features that allow you to search for certain words or phrases. You can discuss what you’re reading or what you want to read. Your bookshelf can be public or private, allowing everyone to compare books and see if they would like something someone else is reading. (In this case, it sounded like a Goodreads or Shelfari on top of the app.) It builds a community, but I’m still not sure it’s a community I would want to be a part of.
This is what I don’t like:
Neither website allows you to search their bookshelf before joining it. This is important, because they don’t have every book available – according to this article, these apps are missing novels from four of the five major publishing houses (Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster.) And I take this sort of concealing as a HUGE red flag.
The app is only available for Apple run services – although they are hoping to get one out for Android soon. (I am an Android person myself, so this is a big deal to me.) On top of this, it seems these apps are only available in the U.S. They are hoping to expand, but there isn’t much clarification here.
As a writer, I could not find any information on how the authors get paid. The companies have only been vague, basically stating, “it varies from publisher to publisher.” They haven’t even mentioned the authors aside from encouraging Indie authors to join, which I don’t like considering how minuscule the information is. However, they have stated that they plan on releasing more information – along with everything else…eventually.
That being said, I think there are still benefits for authors.
These company programs can help newer authors build a broader audience. Even though the cost might seem like a risk, there are libraries, which is pretty much the same concept – just in a building. It will be interesting to see if these websites build audiences and how they affect the industry as they continue to grow and expand.
When I asked for your opinions on my Facebook Author Page, here were some of your answers:
Raymond Vogel Smashwords is in on it, with AEC books expected to be added (possibly already). So, we’ll see soon enough how/if it works from a company perspective.
Marci Balk-Ruggiero said, “I read so fast it would be awesome for me.”
David Thompson said, “The publishers make all the money. The authors get screwed – a small percentage of the fee. I’ve seen the stock photo/illustration industry go down this path. 10 years ago artists often made 50% of the money. Today it is way below that – 25% on good sites and pennies on the dollar for the biggest sites.”
Rusty’s Reading said, “Not for me. I like owning the books so they are at my fingertips any time I choose to re-visit their story, it’s an attachment thing for me. Let’s not forget sales are authors bread and butter!”
Joe Harwell said, “It’s another step back for the income stream of authors.”
So what do you think? Do you have different opinions as a reader and/or writer?
I’d love to know. Share below!