Novels join online library of documents at Scribd

March 18, 2009 By MICHAEL LIEDTKE , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Scribd Inc. is opening a new chapter by adding hundreds of books to its rapidly growing Web site for sharing documents.

Random House and Simon & Schuster are among the long-established book publishers embracing as a new distribution and promotional channel.

The partnerships being announced Wednesday will expand the eclectic mix of written material that has turned Scribd - pronounced "scribbed" as in scribbled - into one of the Internet's hottest destinations just two years after it started.

Millions of people have uploaded everything from school essays to PowerPoint presentations on Scribd. Traditional media such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Fox Business News also regularly post copies of memos and other material collected during their reporting so they can more easily share the information with their online audiences.

"There is something for everyone on Scribd," said Trip Adler, the 22-employee startup's chief executive and co-founder.

The Scribd alliance is just the latest example of the different ways book publishers are trying to boost sales by branching out to the Internet and other electronic delivery systems such as Inc.'s Kindle.

Publishers have been using Amazon and Google Inc. for several years to display digital copies of - usually as excerpts but sometimes in their entirety.

Scribd could prove to be an even better way to create a buzz about new books or promising but little-known authors because the material on its site can be easily embedded elsewhere, including online hangouts such as Facebook and MySpace where people often recommend music, movies and books.

"Scribd offers publishers an amazing new platform that will surely generate book sales," predicted Matt Schwartz, Random House's director of digital strategy.

The sales will be made through links that will provide a way to either buy a book posted on Scribd or another book written by the same author. Adler said Scribd eventually might sell books directly on its site so it can share in the revenue with the publishers. For now Scribd hopes to make money by showing ads to the readers who come to check out its book section.

Scribd remains unprofitable as it subsists on about $14 million in venture capital raised since its inception.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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