Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Two Years on Scribd

This week marks the second anniversary of moving my virtual library over to Scribd.com*, and while last year I had a lot of positive news to report, much changed with the site over the course of 2009 that didn't improve the service. The two primary changes that happened last year: 1) Scribd Twitterized itself, wiping out the helpful e-mail correspondence service it provided for me and replacing it with social media "scribbling" that I can't use because it's incompatible with my VRS, and 2) Scribd became an online publisher ala Amazon.com's self-pub via Kindle store.

As an experiment I did test Scribd's self publishing for profit venture by putting up Way of the Cheetah for a couple of months at a token $1.00/copy. It's safe to say that the only copies that sold were due to my announcements here and other writers who supported it on their blogs. I have not yet been paid for any of the copies that were sold on Scribd (evidently they hold onto the money until you earn $100.00, and since I don't intend to sell anything else on Scribd I'll probably never see a dime.) Since Scribd refuses to sell documents to overseas readers, I won't be using them again. Still, in good faith I have donated an amount matching what should have been my portion of the WotC Scribd profits to help out another writer with a legal battle (100% of my profits from WotC, btw, have been used to assist other writers and aspiring student writers.)

The few times I contacted Scribd's staff about a problem in 2009, I received mildly indifferent to moderately hostile responses. Which I find as puzzling as the aggressive tone of the unsolicited e-mails they've sent me. I'm fairly approachable, I think, and I always try to be polite, but I really don't care for some marketing person telling me to start immediately responding to messages from the twelve thousand people Scribd decided to give access to the "scribbling" area sprawling down the center of my home page -- this without even asking me if I wanted to participate in this social media blitz. In Scribd's defense, they obviously didn't know about my unusual situation or how much I depend on VRS now.

Also, when I politely asked that they remove my name off whatever star-studded author list they put me on (which I assume resulted in the flood of scribblers) they did finally stop the tsunami. The person handling that was very terse and unpleasant about it, however, and did not to restore my old account as it was, so I felt that wasn't resolved appropriately. A friend suggested I manually unsubscribe from all the unwanted scribblers, but I didn't subscribe to them in the first place; I don' feel it's my job to go through the unsubscribe process 12,000+ times (plus how do I pick and choose?) So now the few but helpful comments and messages I was getting from my readers on Scribd are lost among the thousands of irrelevant messages, spam, and other crap flooding my account (and I apologize to anyone whose comments or questions on Scribd that I missed since last August when they did this to me.)

On the plus side, Scribd remains (for now anyway) a free hosting site, and I'll probably keep my virtual library with them for as long as they don't try to charge me for the service. I don't know if I will upload any more free books to the site, though; I'm not really a fan of their staff or how they're doing business. I might talk to the guy over at LibraryThing (which is more my style anyway) and see if I can work out some kind of hosting thing there. I think with the direction Scribd is taking, they're going to eventually be gobbled up by Google or Amazon anyway, so it's probably best I start looking for some new accommodations for my freebies.

*Note 9/3/10: Since Scribd.com instituted an access fee scam to charge people for downloading e-books, including those I have provided for free for the last ten years, I no longer recommend using their service. See my post about this scam here.


  1. Wow, thanks for the head's up. I always learn a lot here.

  2. Darn it. And just when I finally got around to trying Scribd. Lucky for me, I have not had any problems yet...

  3. Love the new digs!

    I use smashwords. I love them. *love*


  4. I was thinking about Scribd. This is great info. Thanks lots, as always!

  5. I've never really been sure about Scribd, but I love LibraryThing. Whatever way you go, there's a core group of us who will follow you. Guaranteed.

  6. I am so sorry you've had to go through all of this, or anyone else for that matter. Such a shame too, to see a site that was so user friendly (yes, I know, they all have their unique problems) turn into just another money-centered, lousy service, waiting to be gobbled up site.

    I only ever went there for your things anyway and have never used them myself. Now, I know, I never will.

  7. I officially hate Scribd for hosting illegal downloads of my work. Will never support the service, ever.

  8. As an alternative to Scribd for hosting pdfs can I make a suggestion:

    As you have a Blogger blog, and therefore a Google Account, you can upload pdfs to Google Docs and make them available to view &/or download. You'd just have to set up a page or sidebar to link to each document.

    The document size limit is 10mb, so possibly not for large image heavy pdfs, but should work for short/basic docs. I don't think there's a limit on downloads.


  9. Krzysztof8:17 AM

    You may be interested in using Azouk.com to store your documents online.

  10. You actually did make at least one sale from someone who found you by searching for Way of the Cheetah, which had disappeared from another venue at the time, so I went looking. I am so sorry to hear that you may never get my dollar, but ever so grateful I went for it when I did. And here I was about to put it in my monthly writers' resource and inspiration (and a couple of recipes) newsletter. I hope you can find another way to sell it, it is such a good resource, worth a lot more than one dollar. I'll keep my virtual ear to the ground (or you are welcome to let me know—you can always reach me via my website, write-em-cowgirls.com) to try to see if it becomes available again and I'll put it in the newsletter then. Meanwhile, thank you very much for a resource that I know will help me be more efficient.

    I've enjoyed those your books that I've read (quite a few of them), and have started other readers out on the Stardoc and Bio Rescue by giving them the first books as gifts. I learned about you on FM, where I was coming in (posting as SharonID) as you were more-or-less fading out. Take care, write on, and I hope you find some way to once again offer your excellent e-book resource.