It's been brought to my attention that Scribd.com has begun charging people to download my free e-books hosted on their site. To get around my copyright and the free distribution notice I've placed in each e-book, they are using an archive subscription scam to make their money (this also neatly avoids them having to pay me any royalties on the profits they make.) Evidently all the money they've been raking in from the Google ads they've posted on my e-book pages hasn't been enough for them.
I was not made aware of this new policy by Scribd at all; a reader kindly brought it to my attention. If you have free stories or documents hosted on this site, chances are they're doing the same to you.
I immediately contacted Scribd.com and demanded an explanation, which they provided at their leisure. Basically they washed their hands of any liability and ethics by telling me it was my problem, not theirs. In order to prevent Scribd from further profiting from my free books, I have to remove each e-book individually from their archives (for instructions on how to do this, see Scribd's instructions here.) As I discovered this morning this is going to take a considerable amount of time for me to accomplish, and it's not a permanent solution; they tell me I'll have to check the documents regularly to see to it that they aren't arbitrarily returned to the archive, where Scribd can then again start charging people to download them.
I find the situation particularly ironic, as anyone can bootleg my work on the internet with no problem, yet when I try to give it away for free, greedy people still try to make a buck off it. Writers just can't win.
Honestly, I do not want to deal with this garbage right now, and I'm tempted to delete the entire library this morning and say the hell with it. However, I've been giving away these books for ten years, and I'm not going to allow the greed of others hoping to make a surreptitious buck off my name to defeat me.
I may still have to take down my library of free reads. For now I will be researching other options, removing my free e-books one by one from Scribd's archive scam, and see if I can find a solution that doesn't cost my readers anything or make my head explode.
In the meantime, please do NOT pay Scribd.com to access or download my free e-books. If you are asked to pay ANYTHING for any of the thirty e-books I have on Scribd, and you can't wait until I find a solution, contact me at LynnViehl@aol.com and I will personally send you a free download of whatever you'd like.
Added: I think I've found a solution, but I still have to test it out and make sure it works. Unfortunately I have to finish some revisions to meet a deadline first. Please be advised that I will be removing my library of free e-books and documents from Scribd.com as soon as I get everything transferred over to the alternative site and make sure the links work. This will happen probably within the next couple of days.
Added 9/2/10: I've temporarily transferred my free library over to Google Docs, which allows anyone to read them online or download them in .pdf format for free. I tried to delete my documents and account on Scribd, but despite numerous attempts their web site was unresponsive, so I've contacted them and told them to take it down. Hopefully they will do so quickly; in the meantime please use the Google Doc links listed on the Freebies page here and please do NOT pay Scribd.com anything to access my free e-books.