More forward-looking than Kindle et Co.:
“We are interested in getting our books in front of consumers in as many formats and distribution platforms as possible,” said Ellie Hirschhorn, chief digital officer of Simon and Schuster.
Unlike Amazon, which sets the retail price for its e-books and sells them in its own proprietary Kindle format, Scribd is offering publishers considerably more control over how their digital titles are sold.
Simon and Schuster will sell its books on Scribd for 20 percent off the list price of the most recent print edition. Amazon sets a price of $9.99 for many popular e-books, meaning titles there might be less expensive. But Scribd will allow publishers to see what is selling and change their prices accordingly.
Scribd also gives publishers 80 percent of revenue. Amazon reportedly gives publishers about half of the list price of books sold for the Kindle, but also discounts many titles and in some cases chooses to make no revenue itself from those sales.
Simon and Schuster will sell its books with anticopying software from Adobe, which means those books can be transferred to devices like the Sony Reader and some mobile phones, but not to Amazon’s Kindle.
Scribd, a start-up based in San Francisco, also says it is working on a reading application for the iPhone, which should be ready in a few weeks.