Scribd says goodbye to comics

comics-999504_1920Yesterday,  Nate from The Digital Reader reported that subscription service Scribd has removed comic books from its services. According to the article, Scribd confirmed the deletion in a statement, noting that few users had taken advantage of the comics content. They also said that they had notified comics readers via email in early December.

Now, while I am not a comics reader, I am a Scribd subscriber and can testify to the fact that I certainly did not receive any notice of changes to the service. And while I hadn’t read any comics through the service, as a customer, I would have at least expected to be notified of that significant of a change to its catalog.

Over the past several years, Scribd has made several adjustments to their all-you-can-read subscription service. The service removed the lion’s share of romance novels, decreased the number of audiobooks and finally went to a limited credit system with a rotating selection of free content. The sum total of these changes left many customers extremely dissatisfied.

There are several aspects to this change that are particularly disturbing. First and foremost is the lack of communication on Scribd’s part. One cannot help but wonder if Scribd was hoping to slide the change in under the radar of its main bulk of subscribers. Scribd faced a huge amount of public blowback over the previous paring down of its service. Scribd itself acknowledged that the the comics selection was underutilized. I also suspect  that comics readers may be a lot like romance readers in the amount of content that they consume. They may have decided it was more beneficial to the bottom line to alienate a smaller section of their customer base to save money.

I always get concerned when companies stop communicating. In the past, Scribd was fairly actively engaged in keeping contents updated on its blog. Currently, Scribd has two blogs. The main blog, geared towards customer announcements, is seldom updated. The other blog, called Literally, is penned by Scribd’s editors and features reviews, recommendations, quizzes, essays, and other reading related contents (and is also more frequently updated). There was no mention of the comics issue that I could find on either blog.

Scribd’s actions certainly leave its comics readers in the lurch. It also raises questions about the long-term solvency of Scribd itself as a subscription service. What seems clear is that Scribd has once again decreased its offerings and is  offering less content for the same price. That’s certainly a decrease in perceptive value to its customers and potential subscribers.

Personally, I use Scribd predominantly for ebooks (and the occasional audiobook). Most of the books I use the service for are books that either cost more than I am willing to pay and/or are unavailable at the library. Since I also buy books, use the library and to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, even reading one or two books on the service a month is worth the cost for me. However, the company lost a lot of trust with their customers with their previous heavy-handed changes to the catalog. Not openly communicating with their customers certainly doesn’t help that trust issue. While I am not unsubscribing (yet), I sure don’t  see myself purchasing a long-term subscription at this rate.

How about you? What do you think?

NOTE: See my article Free Digital Comics and Graphic Novels for sources of free comics.

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Marvel: Year End Collections Sale

wolverine_For years, stores had huge sales after the holidays to blowout inventory. Fast forward to 2016 and those same year end sales now extend to digital too!

Right now, Amazon is having its Marvel Comics Year End Collections Sale.  It features over 300 popular graphic novels (individual issues and collections). Prices start at 99 cents and the sale runs through January 2, 2017.

These can be read on both the Kindle devices and the comiXology apps.

Daily Links: Kobo downloads, Bendgate, more

From the Digital Reader, How to download Kobo books (including the ones they don’t want you to).

Apple apologizes for IOS 8.0.1, from Mashable and then denies the “Bendgate” problem, fromRecode.

From The Next Web, Google’s latest Chrome build has a hidden game that to play offline.

Cosmixology celebrates Nation Comic Book Day by giving away 25 free comics, from The Digital Reader.

From The Ebook Reader, How to export and edit those Kindle notes and highlights.

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.

 

 

Daily Links: 90% of Public Libraries now lend e-books

From Digital Book World, American Library Association announces 90% of Public Libraries now lend e-books.

From a story in Publishers Weekly, Comixolgy to offer  DRM-free backup copies.

And a couple of e-book finds of the day from my TBR list in the Daily Deals: one of John Brunner’s fascinating SF titles, The Shockwave Rider, and, Midsummer Moon, a humoruous romance by Laura Kinsale (one with a hedgehog, no less!).

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.

Free Comic Books

weird_mysteriesLooking for Free Comic books?

How about free access to over 15,000 Golden Age Comics, including some interesting pre-code horror comics from the Digital Comic Museum?

Or if you want a great deal on something a little more recent, how about a trial subscription to Marvel Unlimited for only 99 cents for the first month?

Found via Open Culture – which happens to be one of the best resources for fascinating free public domain materials on the web. Hint: You should really subscribe to their feed. 🙂

DC Comics make publishing history

DC Comics is making publishing history by offering a Print-Digital combo pack starting with Justice League 1 on August 31, 2011.

This follows on the heels of DC’s announcement that they are renumbering all of their comics, ditching the old numbering system and rebooting so that all the series will start with number 1.

DC Comics’ new pricing strategy addresses several of the issues that eBook consumers have asked for, such as a print-digital package and digital-only pricing discounted proportionately to the print-only version. The fact that the price reduction is scheduled is also a bonus. DC will regularly reduce the price on products at four weeks; currently, ebook customers have no idea when prices will be dropped on any particular book.

Many will see this as a step forward for ebook consumers, especially if other publishers follow suit. Are you listening, Big Six?

This post composed while listening to The Complete Billie Holiday.