Scribd and Simon & Schuster sign publishing deal

On Friday, Scribd announced that it and Simon & Schuster had signed a deal to sell Simon & Schuster eBooks in the Scribd Store. The 5,000 books already up on the site are by a variety of famous authors including Ernest Hemingway, Steve Martin, Tori Spelling, Dan Brown, and Stephen King.

The news comes as Google and Amazon are competing for the lead in the eBook market.

“Amazon’s strategy of a single price for all titles is right out of Apple’s playbook, and one at which publishers chafe,” wrote one observer.

Take a look at the companies’ mission statements. Amazon’s goal is to be the place “where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”

Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Scribd, which calls itself “the largest social publishing company in the world,” says its mission is “to liberate the written word — to turn everyone into a publisher and create the best possible reading experience on the web and mobile platforms.”

Commentators have noted that in addition to selling books, Scribd provides publishers the opportunity to test the potential popularity of new offerings.

Competition in this area will only increase. Simon & Schuster’s ebooks on Scribd cannot be read on Amazon’s kindle, but in PDF form they can be read on Sony’s reader, and the company is rumored to be working on an app that will let them be read on Apple’s iPhone.

It’s the Internet, and one rule holds true: expect more competition as companies are now competing with counterparties they have never fought before.

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