|Founded||San Francisco, California, USA
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, USA|
|Key people||Trip Adler (CEO, co-founder),
Jared Friedman (CTO, co-founder),
Tikhon Bernstam (COO, co-founder)
|Services||Social reading and publishing platform|
|Alexa rank||352 (December 2014[update])|
|Type of site||Social Software|
|Available in||English, Spanish, Portuguese|
Launched in 2007 by Trip Adler and Jared Friedman, and headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Scribd also features written works contributed by users around the world. Backed by Y Combinator, Charles River Ventures, and Redpoint Ventures, Scribd serves more than 80 million active readers coming to the site every month.
Scribd's subscription service is available on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone smartphones and tablets, as well as the Kindle Fire, Nook, and personal computers for a fee which lets readers have unlimited access to more than 500,000 books from over 900 publishers, including Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, RosettaBooks, and Workman. In November 2014, audiobooks were added without an additional fee to the subscription.
The idea for Scribd was originally inspired when Trip Adler was at Harvard and had a conversation with his father, John R. Adler, about the difficulties of publishing academic papers. He teamed up with co-founders Jared Friedman and Tikhon Bernstamm and they attended Y Combinator in Cambridge in the summer of 2006. Scribd was launched from a San Francisco apartment in March 2007 and quickly grew in traffic. In 2008, it ranked as one of the top 20 social media sites according to Comscore. In June 2009, Scribd launched Scribd Store and shortly thereafter closed a deal with Simon & Schuster to sell ebooks on Scribd. Over 900 publishers, including HarperCollins, Harvard University Press, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Wiley, Pearson, Random House, RosettaBooks, Stanford University Press, and Workman, are now[when?] associated with Scribd. ProQuest began publishing dissertations and theses on Scribd in December 2009.
In October 2009, Scribd launched its branded reader for media companies with The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and MediaBistro. Over 100 media companies now use Scribd’s branded reader to embed source material into their stories. In August 2010, news stories began to break and documents and books began to go viral on Scribd including the overturned Prop 8 and HP’s lawsuit against Mark Hurd’s move to Oracle Corporation.
In October 2013, Scribd officially launched the first unlimited access subscription service for digital books, often called the "Netflix for ebooks", giving readers unlimited access to Scribd library. The company also announced a partnership with major publishing company HarperCollins. The official statement revealed that the "majority" of the HarperCollins US and HarperCollins Christian catalogs will be available in Scribd's subscription service. Chantal Restivo-Alessi, chief digital officer at HarperCollins, explained to the media that the deal represents the first time that the publisher has released such a large portion of its catalog.
As of December 2013, Adler is the CEO of Scribd, where he is responsible for the product and strategic direction of the company. Adler was named in BusinessWeek's "Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs 2010" list.
In February 2010, Scribd unveiled its first mobile plans for e-readers and smartphones. In April 2010 Scribd launched a new feature called "Readcast", which allows automatic sharing of documents on Facebook and Twitter. Also in April 2010, Scribd announced its integration of Facebook social plug-ins at the Facebook f8 Developer Conference.
In October 2013, Scribd launched its ebook subscription service, allowing readers to pay a flat monthly fee in exchange for unlimited access to all of Scribd's book titles.
The company was initially funded with US$12,000 from Y Combinator, and received over US$3.7 million in June 2007 from Redpoint Ventures and The Kinsey Hills Group. In December 2008, the company raised US$9 million in a second round of funding, led by Charles River Ventures with re-investment from Redpoint Ventures and Kinsey Hills Group, and hired as president George Consagra, former Bebo COO and managing director of Organic Inc. Consagra left Scribd and became CEO of Good Guide in August 2010.
David O. Sacks, former PayPal COO and founder of Yammer and Geni, joined Scribd’s board of directors in January 2010. In January 2011, Scribd raised its largest round, bringing in an additional $13M. The latest round was led by MLC Investments of Australia and SVB Capital and included several previous investors.
In July 2008, Scribd began using iPaper, a rich document format similar to PDF built for the web, which allows users to embed documents into a web page. iPaper was built with Adobe Flash, allowing it to be viewed the same across different operating systems (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux) without conversion, as long as the reader has Flash installed (although Scribd has announced non-Flash support for the iPhone). All major document types can be formatted into iPaper including Word docs, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, OpenDocument documents, OpenOffice.org XML documents, and PostScript files.
All iPaper documents are hosted on Scribd. Scribd allows published documents to either be private or open to the larger Scribd community. The iPaper document viewer is also embeddable in any website or blog, making it simple to embed documents in their original layout regardless of file format. Scribd iPaper required Flash cookies to be enabled, which is the default setting in Flash.
On May 5, 2010, Scribd announced that they would be converting the entire site to HTML5 at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. TechCrunch reported that Scribd is migrating away from Flash to HTML5. "Scribd co-founder and chief technology officer Jared Friedman tells me: 'We are scrapping three years of Flash development and betting the company on HTML5 because we believe HTML5 is a dramatically better reading experience than Flash. Now any document can become a Web page.'" In July 2010 Publishers Weekly wrote a cover story on Scribd entitled "Betting the House on HTML5."
Since 2010, Scribd has been available on mobile phones and e-readers, in addition to personal computers. As of December 2013, Scribd is available through the various app stores on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, as well as the Kindle Fire and Nook tablets.
Scribd has been praised by several newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Fast Company, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2013, the company was dubbed the "Netflix for ebooks" by Wired, and is a known pioneer of the "all-you-can-read" model for ebooks.
According to Scribd, more than 80 million readers from over 100 countries use the site on a monthly basis. Their library includes more than 100,000 subscription books from 900+ publishers, and over 40 million documents and books have been uploaded to the site. Scribd readers have access to books by famous authors like Kurt Vonnegut, Paolo Coelho, and Meg Cabot.
Notable users of Scribd include Virginia senator Mark Warner, former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, New York Times DealBook reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin, All Things D Reporter Kara Swisher, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Red Cross, UNICEF, World Economic Forum, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, The World Bank, Ford Motor Company, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung and the Hasmonean High School Living Torah.
Accusations of copyright infringement
Scribd has often been accused of copyright infringement. In March 2009, Scribd launched a "copyright management system" and has made upgrades to its system including the reported addition of OCR. The New York Times reported in May 2009 that Scribd was hosting pirated works by authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, J.K. Rowling, and Stephen King.
In September 2009, American author Elaine Scott alleged that Scribd "shamelessly profits from the stolen copyrighted works of innumerable authors." Her attorneys Joe Sibley and Kiwi Camara sought class action status in their efforts to win damages from Scribd for allegedly "egregious copyright infringement." On May 11, 2009, Motoko Rich, writing in the New York Times, reported on Scribd's hosting of pirated works. Sibley Camara filed a class action lawsuit against Scribd, accusing it of calculated copyright infringement for profit. The suit was dropped in July 2010.
In 2007, one year after its inception, Scribd was served with 25 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices. The total number of DMCA notices that have been served to the company is unknown, but, on 8 January 2013, a single author Steven Saylor notified Scribd of 17 unauthorized uploads of his copyrighted work.
Supported file formats
Supported formats include:
- Microsoft Excel (.xls, .xlsx)
- Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt, .pps, .pptx, .ppsx)
- Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
- OpenDocument (.odt, .odp, .ods, .odf, .odg)
- OpenOffice.org XML (.sxw, .sxi, .sxc, .sxd)
- Plain text (.txt)
- Portable Document Format (.pdf)
- PostScript (.ps)
- Rich text format (.rtf)
- Tagged image file format (.tif, .tiff)
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