Scribd, a San Francisco-based company known for online document viewing, has launched an eBook subscription service that reminds us a lot of Netflix for movies. For $8.99 (£5.50) a month, users will have access to Scribd's cloud-based book subscription service, letting them read books on iOS, Android, and web browsers.
Scribd quietly launched the service to select users earlier this year, and has been growing 60 per cent each month since launch.
The company says it offers a global library of more than 40 million books and documents, in 100 countries and 80 languages worldwide. HarperCollins has become the first firm to sign on with Scribd as a major publishing partner, making the majority of its backlist catalogue available for Scribd's digital book subscription service. Some popular HarperCollins titles include Sh*t My Dad Says, The Alchemist, Lost Girls, and Carved in Bone.
If a users find a book that really sparks their interest, the full HarperCollins catalogue can be purchased in the Scribd retail store. It's worth noting that not all titles will be available for rent under the monthly plan, but it says “thousands” of bestsellers are included.
Besides HarperCollins, smaller participating publishers include Workman, Kensington, Sourcebooks, RosettaBooks and E-Reads.
In early September, a service dubbed Oyster launched with a similar mission, offering more than 100,000 book titles for $9.95 a month. Scribd gets a step-up on Oyster though, as it expands beyond iPhone to other platforms.
"Since starting Scribd six years ago, we have gained a lot of experience building a library of books and written works, growing a global community, and gathering data on what readers and publishers want," said Trip Adler, CEO and co-founder of Scribd.
"Those insights have helped us build a product that we believe delivers on a new and better reading experience by giving our customers instant access to a vast collection of books to read, across a wide array of the top digital devices, all for one low monthly price. We are thrilled to be working with HarperCollins on such an innovative and pioneering partnership."
It's an interesting business model that is sure to appeal to hardcore readers. We just wish it was more of a wide-ranging selection - but the same can be said about Netflix, too.