Posted on 2014-Mar-05
Read an eBook Week
Starting last Sunday, Smashwords’ Read an eBook Week stirs interests among authors who participate in the event giving their eBooks a deep discount or making them free. The titles opted into the promotion will be shown on this page. While most of the titles are available for free, others offer a big discount when used with coupon. Readers can filter the price range from 25%–100% off and specify the length from under 20,000–100,000+ words based on their preference.
How to Enroll
In order to participate in the promotion, log onto your Smashwords account and go to Dashboard setting page. Click Manage Site-Wide Promotions as shown below.
Choose the discount plan to create the right coupon for your paid titles. If you have already had free eBooks in the store, your free eBook will be “Automatically Enrolled.”
The promotion period runs until Mar 8 and the coupon will become invalid after that. For animal-loving fans, check out Through the Eyes of a Ridgeback: Gunnar's Deep Thoughts written by Gunnar D. Ridgeback and use the 50% coupon for your pleasurable read.
Smashwords Official Page on Scribd
Now that Smashwords readers must be busier checking out their favorite titles at a reasonable price, Scribd users can enjoy a wider variety of reading choice. Thanks to Juli Monroe of TeleRead, readers can make the most of their spare time discovering great eBooks published on Scribd via Smashwords. According to its official page, so far 206,728 eBooks have been published and the page has been viewed 488,830 times. While the screenshot on the left shows the original value discussed in the previous sentence, to my surprise, the one on the right indicates the surge in the number of views that has grown to 496,182 (7,352 more views) within a few hours.
The Piracy Concern
If you are worried about the piracy issue that has been the center of the heated debate, Scribd’s fingerprint system can reassure you that their stricter security measure will at least prevent unauthorized users from uploading your book onto the server. When your Smashwords-generated eBook is uploaded, the eBook will be recognized as “the authorized reference version.” If unauthorized users attempt to upload it again to Scribd, the file will be automatically blocked by the system.
Scribd’s Four Point Program
Earlier in January, Publishers Weekly posted Scribd’s response to Writer Beware regarding piracy. A blog posted on Writer Beware by Michael Capobianco raised a major concern about the pirated content on Scribd which prompted Andrew Weinstein, its VP of content acquisition, to respond extensively to the complaint. While acknowledging that “there is unauthorized content on Scribd,” he denied the allegation that Scribd wanted to “incentivize” illegal uploads. According to Weinstein, they have dealt with individual cases with takedown notices. He also mentioned a four-point program that bans the unauthorized upload, creates a database of content through a “document fingerprint system,” implements a “robust process of reaction,” and works with content management services like Attributor. To tackle copyright infringed content.
Work in Progress ultimatum
Apparently, the fingerprint system still needs development especially when it requires that publishers submit the content to Scribd first so that the content is stored in their database. Since Scribd does not work closely with all publishers, it is virtually impossible right now to recognize the copyright owner. “We need to change that perception if we want to have a successful business and write bigger checks to publishers and be a meaningful sales channel for them,” Weinstein said. In response to Weinstein’s explanation, Capobianco still raised concerns that Scribd should “reevaluate its policies and remove all unauthorized versions of copyrighted from its subscriber service.”
One of the prevalent challenges still persists; that is, its limitation to contact all copyright owners to verify their right to post the content. While the battle with piracy can be seen as work in progress, Smashwords’ partnership with Scribd seems to represent indie authors’ best interest to sell their works in various sales channels. Needless to say, Scribd must find a solution that assures content owners that they can monetize their original content without worrying about the duplicated access. In fact, Scribd should not have to look very far to learn from the expert in the field. Isn’t that what other online eBook retailers are good at distributing authors’ content, generating income, and transferring royalty payment right into their verified customers’ bank account?
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