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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Daily Links and Deals: Tech to re-energize your reading

daily_links_1Daily Links for Wednesday, March 2, 2016:

Download All 36 of Jan Vermeer’s Beautifully Rare Paintings (Most in Stunning High Resolution) (Open Culture) – Wonderful digital art collection!

The average price for a digital newspaper subscription: $3.11 a week (Nieman Lab) – How does that price sit with you? Too high? Too Low? Rather have surveys or ads?

Tech to re-energize your reading (The Next Web) Interesting tools to revitalize your digital reading.

Pro tip: How to wrap your headphones so they never tangle (The Verge) – Okay, solved that now…

An app for taking notes while you read? (Teleread) – This sounds like it could be great for assisting in writing book reviews.

No More Voicemail is an app that kills voicemail so callers have to text you instead (Techcrunch) – I guess some people really hate voicemail.

Arta Tech Closes Its eReader Store, Cuts Ties to Its Supplier (The Digital Reader) – This makes things interesting for folks who bought from a third-party seller (like Amazon).

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deals includes Killer Run (A Tourist Trap Mystery) by Lynn Cahoon for $1.99.

Amazon is also having a 99 romances for 99 cents sale.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma  for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is Landing by Emma Donoghue  for $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Be Afraid (Morgans of Nashville, Book #2) by Mary Burton for $1.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Leonard Maltin’s 151 Best Movies You Have Never Seen for $1.99.

(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.