Scribd adds Selects, other features today

Scribd_Selects_500Last February, Scribd announced changes to its subscription service that would begin in mid-March. Planned changes included limiting monthly reads to only three books and one audio book, along with offering a limited selection of unlimited access titles.

Scribd began implementing the new system today. They started by unveiling the first installment of Scribd Selects on their blog. Selects are an assortment of books, audio books and comics chosen by Scribd editorial team, which can be read without additional cost or having to using one of the three allotted Monthly Read credits. This is the unlimited access portion of the subscription that Scribd previously told us about.

These titles also come with a bit of extra reading time. If you don’t have time to finish a Scribd Select during a month, you have an additional two weeks to finish the title before requires the use of a Monthly Read credit for continued access.

The March selection of titles draws books from various categories, including history, art, biography, children’s books, leadership,self-help, food, as well, as a variety of titles from genres like mystery, fantasy, science fiction and romance.

You can find the Scribd Selects lists on the Editor’s Picks Pages. They can also be found throughout various category sections. Or, you can find them on the Scribd website where they are listed separately as a book list, an audiobook list, and a comics list.

Scribd has updated its app to incorporate the new membership features. These app changes include adding Scribd Selects, filtering the library to hide previews and filtering full access  titles in the user library. The buttons on the book page have also been reorganized. Users are required to agree to the new terms and conditions when installing the new app.

There are a few interesting points in the Scribd Paid Access End User License Agreement:

The new TOS clearly distinguishes between direct purchases and membership. This made me wonder if Scribd is also attempting to position itself as an ebook retailer.

There are also a few restrictions:  One says “You may not exceed usage limitations set by content providers (participating publisher or user).” I am not exactly sure what that means. Does that mean we can be throttled for reading too much content? I wonder.

The terms also state that you can only accumulate three monthly audio book credits or nine monthly book credits at one time. Since Scribd gave everyone several free credits in February when they announce the new content terms and since I seldom listen to audio books through Scribd (I had an Audible subscription), I now have six audio book credits built up. I need to check if those will expire.

One important point clarified in the TOS: Once you have accessed a monthly book or audio book on the service you will be able to continue to read or listen to that title as long as your membership remains active in the material remains available on Scribd’s services. That means it is not exactly like a a library book that expires.

The TOS also states if Scribd removes commercial content that you have purchased, it may provide to you, at its sole discretion, a limited window of time in which to download such removed commercial content. I intend to ask for a clarification of this one before I buy anything. Does this mean I am buying it or not?

At the present time, you can purchase additional audio books from the service, but you cannot purchase additional monthly reads or comics.

Is it just me, or do some of these new terms sound a little murky? Or murkier than than the typical legalese….

So, what do you think of the changes to Scribd? Does this sound like what you expected it was going to be like?

Amazon called to say “update”

phone_640I’ve been talking a lot here on the blog about the critical update Amazon has been rolling out for the older Kindles. I’ve talked about the e-mails (here), the Web messages (here), the snail mail (here), and even the the fact that addressed the rumors surrounding the update. There’s been no doubt that Amazon wants to make sure its customers install this critical security fix.

Today, however, Amazon took it one step further. We actually got a recorded phone call at the house from Amazon reminding us that we need to update our Kindles in order to keep accessing the Kindle libraries and Amazon’s servers. The recorded message, which was repeated twice, re-iterated the instructions on the Kindle update page and emphasized that Amazon customer service was available any time to offer assistance by calling 1-866-321-8851.

The recording instructed us to please disregard the message if we had already updated within the last few days. (We had done all of ours over the last few days.)

[Please insert Adelle “Hello” joke here.]

Did you get a phone call about your update?

Daily Links and Deals: Is the Term ‘Mobile First’ Becoming Outmoded?

daily_links_1Today we have stories on  iPhones, Chromecast, Mac Books, and telescopes. There are also stories about the current mobile first philosophy and a look at how our TV sets are being reinvented. And in the deals department,  you can get The Host by Stephanie Meyer for $3.99

Daily Links for day, March 20, 2016:

Everything Apple announced at today’s iPhone SE event (Quartz) All the news about the baby iPhone new iPhone, ipads and other news from the Apple event.

The Joy of Owning an Eight-Year-Old MacBook (Gizmodo) With all the fuss over all the new Apple tech, I found this amusing.

Eye to the sky: Austin Public Library now offers a pair of telescopes for checking out the night skies (Austin Daily Herald) Big +1 for this library. Great tool for learning!

Google rebrands its Chromecast app to Google Cast to reflect expansion to more devices, including speakers (Techcrunch) It’s not just for the Chromecast anymore. And, Vizio is making TVs and soundbars that work with it. And in the Deals department: Star Trek novels!

Is the Term ‘Mobile First’ Becoming Outmoded? (ReCode)Is it really mobile first or do we need to optimize for all platforms?

REMOTE, CONTROLLED: How Vizio and Google radically reinvented the TV (The Verge) Having had a ROKU box go belly up because of a wifi remote problem, I am not sure about this one…

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deals includes Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica for $1.99.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Coup de Foudre by Ken Kalfus for $1.99.The Romance Daily Find is Dragon Fall (Dragon Fall Series #1) by Katie MacAlister for $1.99.

Barnes and Noble is promoting James Patterson’s new BOOKSHOTS series, all-new, original stories that feature a “cinematic storytelling experience” in 150 pages. The stories include favorite characters  like Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, and the Women’s Murder Club.  They are available for pre-order now.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving for $1.99.

In other deals, continuing through March 28, Kobo is still featuring bestsellling memoirs for $2.99 and under.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Host by Stephanie Meyer for $3.99. An adult sci-fi novel by the author of Twilight. This is one of my personal favorites. ♥  Amazon , Kobo and Barnes and Noble have this one too!

Google has a selection of Limited Time deals starting at 99 cents. Lots of Star Trek novels in this lot, if you are interested. 🙂

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.