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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Friday, December 30th is Amazon Digital Day

digital_day_2016Over the last few years, Amazon has certainly proved to be the online retailer to beat. They have totally slayed Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They launched their own online shopping day, Prime Day and it has also proved to be a winner. There’s no doubt, Amazon has redefined online shopping holidays.

Now, Amazon is starting a new deal event called Digital Day. It premieres on December 30, 2016 at midnight PST and last for 24 hours. Deals include up to 80% off hundreds of video game titles, 50% off on top movies and TV shows, and 75% off on hundreds of digital comics. You can see pictures on the Digital Day page which hint at possible deals on Amazon Music Unlimited, software, digital magazines and perhaps some deals on video channel subscriptions. I would also not be surprised to see great bargains on ebook titles on Friday along with the other digital deals.

From the Amazon page:

Amazon Digital Day is the deal event for your devices. On Friday, December 30, enjoy up to 80% off hundreds of video game titles, 50% off on top movies and TV shows, 75% off on hundreds of digital comics, and other great deals on popular content for your devices. Whether you’re gifting or receiving gadgets this year, this 24-hour sale is one of the best times of the year to shop for must-have digital content.

You can sign up here to get notified about Digital Day and to get monthly updates on digital deals.

This one looks like fun! 🙂

Saturday Daily Deals: Batman Day 2016! Comics and graphic novels

batman_endgameToday is Batman Day 2016! Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online retailers are offing deals on Batman Comics and graphic novels at discounted prices. Includes titles from the 1930s to the present. 🙂

Deals of the Day for Saturday, September 17 2016:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes a large selection of Batman comics and graphic novels priced at up to 64% off.

In Today’s Deals, up to 30% off top hunting and survival products.

The all-new version of the Fire 8 HD tablet is available for pre-order. The tablet is $89.99 and will be released on September 21, 2016.

Amazon has now released the Echo a second color. You can pre-order the Echo now to get it in white. It will be available on September 28, 2016. There is also an  All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) which will be available in both black and white and retails for $49.99. The Dot is also being offering in a “Buy 5, get 1 free” six-pack and a ““Buy 10, get 2 free” twelve-pack”. The new Echo Dot will be released on October 20, 2016.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is a selection of over a hundred Batman Comics. The Romance Daily Find is Stop at Nothing by Kate SeRine.

Barnes and Noble also has a selection of NOOK Books Under $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is To The Moon and Back by Jill Mansell. The Extra Daily Deal is All I Want by Jill Shalvis.

There is also a selection of Great Reads Under $5 and Bargain Reads in Fiction, in Mystery and other genres. The Kobo Aura One (and the Aura Edition 2 e-readers are now available for order at the Kobo store. (The Aura One is out of stock until September 23, 2016.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Someone Is Watching by Joy Fielding.

Google Books has a selection of Big Books, Big Deals, up to 75% off great reads.

(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.

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?

Daily Links and Deals: Yale Museums Making Thousands Of Artwork Images Available For Free Downloading

daily_links_1Daily Links for Sunday, February 14, 2016:

Hollywood escalates DVD ripping case to international incident (Torrent Freak) –  Really? Escalating it to the level of an “international incident”?

RIP: Adblock Plus (Engadget) – An opinion piece on the ethics of ad blockers’ whitelisting practices.

Yale Museums Making Thousands Of Artwork Images Available For Free Downloading (Hartford Courant) – Thousands of public domain images of Art to download!

Latest Kindle for PC Update Adds Support for Comics, Kids eBooks (The Digital Reader) –  Yes, you have to update, but here are some exciting new features!

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deal includes Bossypants, I Am Malala, and other best sellers on Kindle, from $1.99.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find are Crap Dates: Disastrous Encounters from Single Life by Rhodri Marsden,  How to Get Out of the Friend Zone: Turn Your Friendship into a Relationship by Jet and Star The Wing Girls, and  The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex by David Borgenicht, Joshua Piven, Jennifer Worick. Prices range from 99 cents to $2.99. The Romance Daily Find is the Season of Love Sale – a collection of romance books at up to 70% off.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks for $1.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes All You Need is Love by Marie Force for $3.99.

(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 and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Deals: Best Books, Graphic Novels and iBooks deals

supermanUS Daily Deals for Tuesday, December 29, 2015:

For Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deals today, they are highlighting 10 books from Amazon’s Editors’ Best Books of 2015 at up to 80% off.  There is a mixture of Novels, including Jonathan Franzen’s Purity, several memoirs, and a few non-fiction books. I bought Annie Jacobsen’s The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top-Secret Military Research Agency for $3.99.

Barnes and Noble’s Nook Daily Find is a graphic novel collection,  Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow by Alan Moore, for $5.99. The  Romance Daily Find is Outlaw Hearts by Rosanne Bittner for just 99 Cents.

Kobo is offering Jonathan Franzenss Purity for $$1.99 as their Daily Deal.

The iBooks store has an interesting selection of Weekly Bestsellers for under $4, including Franzen’s Purity and Chuck Wendig’s Zeroes.


 

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.

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

Library Corner 9-8-2015

Library corner imagePilot schemes to give all children automatic library membership (BBC)

British Library rejects Taliban trove fearing terror laws (Yahoo News)

Hoopla digital Adds New Titles from Image Comics (Including the Walking Dead) (Hoopla)

School and Library Spotlight: How Schools Buy and Use E-Books (Publishers Weekly)

Public Libraries Want You to Read Local (The Digital Reader)

Slides From a Recent Conference Presentation About the American Archive of Public Broadcasting Now Online (Infodocket)

Streetlib Now Distributes eBooks to OverDrive’s 33,000 Libraries (The Digital Reader)

DPLA Welcomes Four New Service Hubs to Our Growing Network (DPLA)

Hidden Cornell treasures to be digitized (Cornell Chronicles)

Milestones: UK Medical Heritage Library Digitization Reaches Halfway Point With Over 26,000 Titles, Nearly 8 Million Page Images (Infodocket)

Worldreader and Opera Bring Books to 5 Million Readers in Africa via Mobile Phones (The Digital Reader)

Digital Collections:

Data: Statistics: State Alcohol-Impaired-Driving Estimates 2013 (Traffic Safety Facts) (Infodocket)

University Libraries Officially Open the Digital Ozark Folksong Collection (University of Arkansas)

American Physical Society (APS) Begins Adding U.S. Dept. of Energy-Funded Research Articles to CHORUS Database (Infodocket)

HN and Omaha Public Library create ‘Download Nebraska’; The Good Life premieres new video (Hear Nebraska)

Cool! The Wonderful “Old Maps Online” Database Now Has a Mobile App for iOS and Android (Infodocket)

Report and Data: Texas A&M Transportation Institute and Inrix Release 2015 Urban Mobility Study (Traffic and Commuting in U.S., UK, and Europe) (Infodocket)

Reference: Statistics: CDC Releases New Data on Vaccination Rates For Infants and Children (19-35 Months) (Infodocket)

Special Collections: “LGBT Archive at USC Preserves Personal Stories From a Hidden Past (Infodocket)

About once a week, I post links to digital-related library news articles and information about digital collections available online.  I also post other links of interest about the digital life daily on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.