It's been almost a month since a reader informed me that Scribd.com had begun scamming their users into paying to download the e-books I've provided for free for the last ten years. Much uproar followed.
If you missed the debacle, it was pretty short-lived on this end. I don't associate with scammers, so I yanked all my e-books off Scribd.com and deleted my account. I also went through my entire blog archive to mark every single post where I've mentioned Scribd.com with a link to my post about the scam. Then I paid for a file storage account with Google Docs to temporarily host my library while I explore other options. Took me about a week to get it all done -- and that's all I did.
News of people getting ripped off by an online publisher tends to go viral, and so my post started making the rounds. I understand that Scribd.com responded to it indirectly by soft-selling their scam on the Huffington Post. GalleyCat evidently also defended them. Disclaimer: I've not read the posts. I was not interested in Scribd.com's excuses for ripping off readers. I was done with them.
Since I'm now being regarded as the one who blew the whistle on them, however, it's only fair that I post a link to Scribd.com's public apology for their greed. Here's the gist: they have not shut down the scam, but they've provided some ways for their authors to opt-out of it, and they are very sorry we misunderstood their intentions.
I'm not buying it. If daily operations actually have gotten too expensive for Scribd.com (this was the excuse they gave me when I e-mailed them about why they were using my content in their scam), they should have come to me and asked me to pay for the space I was using. I'd have been happy to pay them a reasonable annual fee for hosting my little online library. I now pay Google Docs $5.00 a year for 20 gb of file storage space; I pay Photobucket $40.00 a year to host my online photo archive. But instead, they chose to violate my copyright and non-profit distribution notice in my e-books to rip off readers for something I have always given away for free. They are very sorry about it, though.
And now I am done with Scribd.com.