Major Book Publishers Tap Scribd For Viral Marketing - InformationWeek

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Major Book Publishers Tap Scribd For Viral Marketing

Random House, Simon & Schuster, and other publishers will share free novels, preview chapters, and excerpts from authors on the online site for readers.

Major publishers have partnered with Scribd to offer books and excerpts from works on the online social network for readers and writers, making the material available for sharing across the Web.

Random House, Simon & Schuster, Workman Publishing, Berrett-Koehler, Thomas Nelson, and Manning Publications have agreed to upload and share at no charge entire novels, preview chapters, and excerpts from authors, Scribd announced Wednesday. The site has a monthly readership of as many as 50 million people.

"These partnerships help cement Scribd's position as the online destination for readers while giving publishers a completely fresh platform to reach a new audience of millions," Trip Adler, chief executive and co-founder of Scribd, said in a statement.

Publishers have offered chapters of books for years on sites such as and Google to entice readers. What's different about Scribd is its iPaper viewer that lets people upload their own writing and view and share the works of others. The viewer, which is built with Adobe Flash technology, can be embedded in a blog or Web site.

Scribd's ability to share works across the Web gives publishers the potential of reaching more customers online. In addition, Scribd documents are indexed by all the major search engines.

"Word-of-mouth, recommendations, and 'hand-selling' are tried and true ways to increase sales, and Scribd makes all those things possible in an extremely cost-effective, online environment," said Matt Schwartz, director of digital strategy for Random House Publishing Group.

The publishers have been offering books and excerpts on Scribd for a few months to test the service. Wednesday's announcement is an indication that the companies were pleased with the results.

Publishers' and authors' dealings with the Web have not always been smooth. Major publishers and the Authors Guild filed separate lawsuits against Google in 2005, challenging the legality of Google scanning copyrighted library books and publishing snippets in search results without permission of copyright holders. Google settled the lawsuits last year.

More recently, the Authors Guild complained that Amazon had added a text-to-speech capability in the latest version of its Kindle e-book reader without agreeing to pay royalties for audible rights to writers and copyright holders. Amazon made technical changes to let copyright holders, on a title-by-title basis, enable or disable the feature that reads the content to the user.

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