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Scribd, Inc.
Scribd logo (new).svg
Type of businessPrivate
Available inEnglish, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish
FoundedMarch 2007; 15 years ago (2007-03)
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, U.S.
Founder(s)Trip Adler
Jared Friedman
Tikhon Bernstam
Key peopleTrip Adler
(co-founder and CEO)
Jared Friedman
(co-founder and CTO)
Tikhon Bernstam
(co-founder and COO)
ServicesSocial reading and publishing platform

Scribd Inc. /ˈskrɪbd/ is an American e-book and audiobook subscription service that includes one million titles.[1][2][3][4] Scribd hosts 60 million documents on its open publishing platform.[5]

The company was founded in 2007 by Trip Adler, Jared Friedman, and Tikhon Bernstam, and headquartered in San Francisco, California.[citation needed] Scribd's e-book subscription service is available on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as the Kindle Fire, Nook, and personal computers. Subscribers can access unlimited books a month[6] from 1,000 publishers, including Bloomsbury, Harlequin, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Lonely Planet, Macmillan, Perseus Book Group, Simon & Schuster, Wiley, and Workman.[7][8]

Scribd has 80 million users, and has been referred to as "the Netflix for books".[9][10][11]


Previous logo

Founding (2007–2013)[edit]

Scribd began as a site to host and share documents.[10] While at Harvard, Trip Adler was inspired to start Scribd after learning about the lengthy process required to publish academic papers.[12] His father, a doctor at Stanford, was told it would take 18 months to have his medical research published.[12] Adler wanted to create a simple way to publish and share written content online.[13] He co-founded Scribd with Jared Friedman and attended the inaugural class of Y Combinator in the summer of 2006.[14] There, Scribd received its initial $120,000 in seed funding and then launched in a San Francisco apartment in March 2007.[5]

Scribd was called "the YouTube for documents", allowing anyone to self-publish on the site using its document reader.[12] The document reader turns PDFs, Word documents, and PowerPoints into Web documents that can be shared on any website that allows embeds.[15] In its first year, Scribd grew rapidly to 23.5 million visitors as of November 2008.[16] It also ranked as one of the top 20 social media sites according to Comscore.[16]

In June 2009, Scribd launched the Scribd Store, enabling writers to easily upload and sell digital copies of their work online.[17] That same month, the site partnered with Simon & Schuster to sell e-books on Scribd.[18] The deal made digital editions of 5,000 titles available for purchase on Scribd, including books from bestselling authors like Stephen King, Dan Brown, and Mary Higgins Clark.[19]

In October 2009, Scribd launched its branded reader for media companies including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and MediaBistro.[15] ProQuest began publishing dissertations and theses on Scribd in December 2009.[20] In August 2010, many notable documents hosted on Scribd began to go viral, including the California Proposition 8 ruling, which received over 100,000 views in about 24 minutes, and HP's lawsuit against Mark Hurd's move to Oracle.[21][22]

Subscription service (2013–present)[edit]

Screenshots of Scribd's subscription service

In October 2013, Scribd officially launched its unlimited subscription service for e-books. This gave users unlimited access to Scribd's library of digital books for a flat monthly fee.[9] The company also announced a partnership with HarperCollins which made the entire backlist of HarperCollins' catalog available on the subscription service.[23] According to Chantal Restivo-Alessi, chief digital officer at HarperCollins, this marked the first time that the publisher has released such a large portion of its catalog.[24] In March 2014, Scribd announced a deal with Lonely Planet, offering the travel publisher's entire library on its subscription service.[25]

In May 2014, Scribd further increased its subscription offering with 10,000 titles from Simon & Schuster.[26] These titles included works from authors such as: Ray Bradbury, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ernest Hemingway, Walter Isaacson, Stephen King, Chuck Klosterman, and David McCullough.[27] Scribd has been criticized for advertising a free 14 day trial for which payment is required before readers can trial the products. Readers discover this when they attempt to download material.

Scribd added audiobooks to its subscription service in November 2014 and comic books in February 2015.[3][28]

In February 2016, it was announced that only titles from a rotating selection of the library would be available for unlimited reading, and subscribers would have credits to read three books and one audiobook per month from the entire library with unused credits rolling over to the next month.[29]

The reporting system was discontinued on February 6, 2018, in favor of a system of "constantly rotating catalogs of ebooks and audiobooks" that provided "an unlimited number of books and audiobooks, alongside unlimited access to news, magazines, documents, and sheet music"[30] for a monthly subscription fee of US$8.99.[31] However, under this unlimited service, Scribd would occasionally "limit the titles that you’re able to access within a specific content library in a 30-day period."[32]

In October 2018, Scribd announced a joint subscription to Scribd and The New York Times for $12.99 per month.


In November 2014, Scribd added audiobooks to its subscription library.[33] Wired noted that this was the first subscription service to offer unlimited access to audiobooks, and "it represents a much larger shift in the way digital content is consumed over the net."[34] In April 2015, the company expanded its audiobook catalog in a deal with Penguin Random House.[35] This added 9,000 audiobooks to its platform including titles from authors like Lena Dunham, John Grisham, Gillian Flynn, and George R.R. Martin.[36]


In February 2015, Scribd introduced comics to its subscription service.[37] The company added 10,000 comics and graphic novels from publishers including Marvel, Archie, Boom! Studios, Dynamite, IDW, and Valiant.[28] These included series such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Daredevil, X-O Manowar, and The Avengers.[38][39] However, in December 2016, comics were eliminated from the service due to low demand.


In February 2010, Scribd unveiled its first mobile plans for e-readers and smartphones.[40] In April 2010 Scribd launched a new feature called "Readcast",[41] which allows automatic sharing of documents on Facebook and Twitter.[42] Also in April 2010, Scribd announced its integration of Facebook social plug-ins at the Facebook f8 Developer Conference.[43]

Scribd rolled out a redesign on September 13, 2010, to become, according to TechCrunch, "the social network for reading".[44]

In October 2013, Scribd launched its e-book subscription service, allowing readers to pay a flat monthly fee in exchange for unlimited access to all of Scribd's book titles.[45]

In August 2020, Scribd announced its acquisition of the LinkedIn-owned SlideShare for an undisclosed amount.[46]


The company was initially funded with US$120,000 from Y Combinator in 2006, and received over US$3.7 million in June 2007 from Redpoint Ventures and The Kinsey Hills Group.[47] 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.[48] David O. Sacks, former PayPal COO and founder of Yammer and Geni, joined Scribd's board of directors in January 2010.[49]

In January 2011, Scribd raised an additional US$13 million in a round led by MLC Investments of Australia and SVB Capital.[50] In January 2015, the company raised US$22 million in new funding from Khosla Ventures with partner Keith Rabois joining the Scribd board of directors.[51]

In 2019, Scribd raised $58 million in new funding led by growth firm Spectrum Equity.[52]


In July 2008, Scribd began using iPaper, a rich document format similar to PDF and built for the web, which allows users to embed documents into a web page.[53] 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).[54] All major document types can be formatted into iPaper including Word docs, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, OpenDocument documents, 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.[55]

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.[56] 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.'"[57][58]

Scribd has its own API to integrate external/third-party applications,[59] but is no longer offering new API accounts.[60]

Since 2010, Scribd has been available on mobile phones and e-readers, in addition to personal computers. As of December 2013, Scribd became available on app stores and various mobile devices.[citation needed]


Accusations of copyright infringement[edit]

Scribd has been accused of copyright infringement. In 2007, one year after its inception, Scribd was served with 25 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices.[61] In March 2009, The Guardian writes, "Harry Potter author [J.K. Rowling] is among writers shocked to discover their books available as free downloads. Neil Blair, Rowling’s lawyer, said the Harry Potter downloads were 'unauthorised and unlawful'...Rowling's novels aren't the only ones to be available from Scribd. A quick search throws up novels from Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, Jeffrey Archer, Ken Follett, Philippa Gregory, and J.R.R. Tolkien."[62] In September 2009, American author Elaine Scott alleged that Scribd "shamelessly profits from the stolen copyrighted works of innumerable authors".[63] Her attorneys sought class action status in their efforts to win damages from Scribd for allegedly "egregious copyright infringement" and accused it of calculated copyright infringement for profit.[64][65][66] The suit was dropped in July 2010.[67][68]


In March 2009, the passwords of several Comcast customers were leaked on Scribd. The passwords were later removed when the news was published by The New York Times.[69][70][71]

In July 2010, Gigaom reported that the script of The Social Network (2010) movie was uploaded and leaked on Scribd; it was promptly taken down per Sony's DMCA request.[72]

Following a decision of the Istanbul 12th Criminal Court of Peace, dated March 8, 2013, access to Scribd is blocked for Internet users in Turkey.[73]

In July 2014, Scribd was sued by Disability Rights Advocates (represented by Haben Girma), on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind and a blind Vermont resident, for allegedly failing to provide access to blind readers, in violation of the Americans with Disability Act.[74] Scribd moved to dismiss, arguing that the ADA only applied to physical locations. In March 2015, the U.S. District Court of Vermont ruled that the ADA covered online businesses as well. A settlement agreement was reached, with Scribd agreeing to provide content accessible to blind readers by the end of 2017.[75]


To counteract the uploading of unauthorized content, Scribd created BookID, an automated copyright protection system that helps authors and publishers identify unauthorized use of their works on Scribd.[76] This technology works by analyzing documents for semantic data, metadata, images, and other elements and creates an encoded "fingerprint" of the copyrighted work.[77]

Supported file formats[edit]

Supported formats include:[78]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alter, Alexandra (April 16, 2015). "Scribd Expands Audiobook Catalog in Deal With Penguin Random House". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Basich, Zoran (January 5, 2015). "The Daily Startup". The Wall Street Journal.
  3. ^ a b Mac, Ryan (November 6, 2014). "Scribd Adds Audiobooks To All-You-Read Library, Piling Pressure On Amazon". Forbes.
  4. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob (April 16, 2015). "Scribd adds over 9,000 more audiobooks to better take on Audible". The Verge.
  5. ^ a b "Scribd | Interview with its Co-Founder & CEO – Trip Adler". Cleverism. December 10, 2014.
  6. ^ "Scribd - Read books, audiobooks, and more". Scribd. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  7. ^ Carnoy, David (January 29, 2014). "Scribd extends e-book subscription app to Kindle Fire". CNet.
  8. ^ Kellogg, Carolyn (January 5, 2015). "Scribd brings in $22 million to expand e-book subscription service". LA Times.
  9. ^ a b Metz, Cade (October 1, 2013). "Scribd Challenges Amazon and Apple With 'Netflix for Books'". Wired. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Orin, Andy (June 11, 2014). "Behind the App: The Story of Scribd". Lifehacker.
  11. ^ Schnuer, Jenna (November 8, 2013). "We Test It: Scribd's All-You-Can Read Digital Buffet". Entrepreneur. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c Krasny, Jill (June 24, 2014). "Scribd: The Library of the Future?". Inc.
  13. ^ "Best Young Tech Entrepreneurs 2010". Bloomberg.
  14. ^ "Scribd". Y Combinator.
  15. ^ a b MacMillan, Robert (October 7, 2009). "From the desk of [your news outlet] and Scribd". Reuters. Archived from the original on October 10, 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Schonfeld, Erick (December 31, 2008). "Scribd Had A Blowout Year, And So Did the Web Document". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  17. ^ Stone, Brad (May 17, 2009). "Site Lets Writers Sell Digital Copies". The New York Times. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  18. ^ Stone, Brad (July 11, 2009). "Simon & Schuster to Sell Digital Books on". The New York Times. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
  19. ^ Stone, Brad (June 12, 2009). "Simon & Schuster to Sell Digital Books on". The New York Times.
  20. ^ "Scribd to publish dissertations and theses". TeleRead. November 17, 2009.
  21. ^ Gannes, Liz (August 4, 2010). "Prop 8 Ruling Is Scribd's Most Viral Doc Ever". Gigaom.
  22. ^ Siegler, M.G. (September 7, 2010). "HP Confirms It Is Suing Mark Hurd For Potential Leakage Of Trade Secrets To Oracle". TechCrunch.
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  36. ^ Alter, Alexandra (April 16, 2015). "Scribd Expands Audiobook Catalog in Deal With Penguin Random House". The New York Times.
  37. ^ Alba, Davey (February 10, 2015). "Scribd Unveils 'Netflix for Comics'". Wired.
  38. ^ Fiegerman, Seth (February 10, 2015). "Scribd gains the superpower of an unlimited comic book subscription". Mashable.
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  48. ^ Takahashi, Dean (December 19, 2008). "Scribd raises $9 million, hires new president for social publishing". VentureBeat. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
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  50. ^ Kaplan, David (January 18, 2011). "Scribd Raises $13 Million To Support Mobile Moves, Product Expansion". Gigaom.
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  52. ^ Ha, Anthony (November 25, 2019). "Scribd raises $58M for subscription e-books and audiobooks". TechCrunch.
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  54. ^ "Scribd on your iPhone". Scribd. April 5, 2008.
  55. ^ "Global Storage Settings panel". Adobe. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  56. ^ Friedman, Jared (May 6, 2010). HTML5 and The Future of Publishing. Web 2.0 Expo. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
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  58. ^ Albanese, Andrew Richard (July 26, 2010). "Betting the House on HTML5". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
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  66. ^ Rich, Motoko (September 19, 2009). "Jammie Thomas lawyers file suit against Scribd". CNET Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  67. ^ "Lawsuit Saying Scribd's Copyright-Protection Filters Infringe On Copyrights Has Been Dumped". Scribd. TechDirt. July 19, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
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  71. ^ "Comcast User Names and Passwords Exposed". HotHardware. March 29, 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
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  73. ^ "Freedom on the Net – Turkey 2013". Freedom House. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  74. ^ Adwar, Corey (August 20, 2014). "26-Year-Old Deaf-Blind Lawyer Sues Scribd For Alleged Discrimination". Business Insider. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  75. ^ "National Federation of the Blind, et al. v. Scribd, Inc". Disability Rights Advocates. July 14, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  76. ^ "BookID". Scribd. June 29, 2015.
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  78. ^ Jason (February 26, 2009). "Info, FAQs, and Forums/FAQ: Writing, Uploading and Managing Documents". Retrieved October 11, 2010.

External links[edit]