Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Dear Scribd

I get it.  Subscription based services, like a lot of things, count on a certain number of people being high users, a certain number being low users, and most people falling somewhere in between.  We could talk about how just a passing glance at the statistics for romance readers could have hinted that readers of romance tend to be readers that read at a higher amount than average, or, that given your average person still only reads about five books a year and wouldn't at all be a target for a monthly subscription service, romance readers read more than average regular reader.
And I suspect to a certain extent you knew this.  This is why you made a deal with Harlequin for access to their backlist.  This is why you worked with Dear Author and other romance focused blogs to offer free trial subscriptions.  So, sure, it turns out that subscription romance readers read a lot and that adds up to more than expected, I'm guessing, when you are paying out royalties to the authors and publishers.  So, you've decided to adjust the catalog. Oh, and BTW, in case you weren't aware, there's a large segment of romance readers on social media who are very active.  (Hi!) So, that little letter to the publishers, did not go unnoticed. And I understand, you're still planning to offer romance, but, I had, before this news even came to light, already noticed a note on one of my library titles that I needed to read quick before it went away.  To say nothing of the titles that I hadn't added to my library yet, so if you were thinking I wouldn't notice, you were wrong. 
And hey, you may not have pegged me as a romance reader, given I've also used my subscription to read YA, MG, celebrity memoirs, and comics.  Okay, I just counted, yeah, there's still a decent romance representation. You probably suspected I had romance leanings.  Which is the next point, romance readers read outside their genre too. 
And look, again, it's a business, I get it.  But, I'm not going to read less romance.  And so, now, as someone who is constantly evaluating if I'm really using all these entertainment subscriptions I have, I will have to reconsider if the Scribd subscription continues to make sense to me if I have access to significantly less titles than before. These things happen with TV and movie subscription services too.  Rights and such get renegotiated.  And I certainly don't want authors to get paid less. But, this does change the value that Scribd provides to me if the intention is not to continually add to Scribd's catalog, but instead to cycle things through so that I can't read too much.