Mark of Smashwords had this to say: "It's ugly. The problem for Scribd is that romance readers are heavy readers, and Scribd pays publishers retailer-level margins for the books."There's been a good bit of screaming going on, none of it screams of pleasure. (Sorry, couldn't help it.) Here's Selena Kitt's take on the subject:
"Look, if we don’t stop this ride now, we may never be able to get off. And this particular ride ends at welfare-ville. So let’s not go there. There are plenty of erotica authors who have made a nice living from writing. And we are satisfying a very voracious readership. Why shouldn’t they have books they want to read, too? And why shouldn’t we get paid for them?"Selena points out that the Erotic Romance genre has taking a hell of a hit in the wallet.
Scribd, the fast-growing ebook subscription service, today announced dramatic cuts to their catalog of romance and erotica titles.WoW! Read the rest HERE
Effective immediately, I (Mark Coker) estimate 80-90 percent of Smashwords romance and erotica titles will be dropped by Scribd, including nearly all of our most popular romance titles. Books priced at free are safe and will remain in their catalog.
Based on what I've been able to glean, the lower the price and the higher the word count, the better the odds the book will remain. Few books priced $3.99 and above will remain. Scribd is not publicly revealing the formulas for what stays and what goes, probably because much of this is still in flux. They're cutting all publishers and distributors with the same blunt knife.
It's ugly. The problem for Scribd is that romance readers are heavy readers, and Scribd pays publishers retailer-level margins for the books. In a letter to publishers and distributors delivered earlier today, Scribd said:Dear Publisher
As you know, in starting Scribd, we bore the majority of the risk when establishing a business model that paid publishers the same amount as the retail model for each book read by a Scribd subscriber. Now, nearly two years later, the Scribd catalog has grown from 100,000 titles to more than one million. We’re proud of the service we’ve built and we’re constantly working to expand the selection across genres to give our readers the broadest possible list of books for $8.99 per month.
We’ve grown to a point where we are beginning to adjust the proportion of titles across genres to ensure that we can continue to expand the overall size and variety of our service. We will be making some adjustments, particularly to romance, and as a result some previously available titles may no longer be available.
We look forward to continuing to grow subscribers, increase overall reading, and increase total publisher payouts in a way that works for everyone over the long term. We of course want to keep as many of your authors and titles on Scribd as we can, so we’d love to discuss our plans and how we can best work with you going forward.
Thank you for your business.
Bottom line, romance readers - readers we love dearly at Smashwords - are reading Scribd out of house and home. Scribd's business model, as it's set up now, simply can't sustain the high readership of romance readers. They're not facing the same problem with readers of other genres.
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