The Scribd ebook subscription service says it has now reached ‘the tipping point’ of one million subscribers which means it has doubled its number of subscribers in about a year and a half since it revealed it had 500,000 subscribers back in May 2017.
The company returned to its ‘unlimited’ ebook subscription service in February 2018 after capping members for two years from 2016 at three ebooks a month plus one audiobook.
The problem was that those pesky romance readers were just reading too much, although in returning to the ‘unlimited’ deal, Scribd warned that ‘the most voracious readers’ still faced being reined back.
In the year since the return to ‘unlimited’, Scribd says it has grown its subscriptions by over 40% year on year and it has seen a 100% increase in audiobook users over the course of 2018.
One of Scribd’s big selling points against Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited is that some of the big traditional publishers put their best-selling titles into the Scribd service while shunning Kindle Unlimited. For example, A J Finn’s The Woman in the Window is available on Scribd but not on KU, while Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis can be borrowed by Scribd subscribers but is only available for sale on the Kindle store at a whopping $13. Audiobooks are also obviously proving to be a big attraction.
Scribd founder and CEO Trip Adler says, ‘This is an exciting milestone for Scribd. One million subscribers is a tipping point for any subscription company and proves we have a reading service that people want, need, and love.’
The company says it is dedicated to building a subscription model that strikes the right balance between delivering great value for readers and publishing partners while achieving long-term sustainability.
There’s no financial news from Scribd to put the million subscribers in context. In May 2017 it said it had 500,000 subscribers and was in profit, although the level of profit was not revealed.
The firm has kept its monthly subscription rate at $8.99 since it launched the ebook service in 2013 which should mean that it’s pulling in $9 million each month from those million subscribers — that’s $108 million a year.
Indie authors can distribute their ebooks to Scribd through a distributor such as Draft2digital and they get paid on the same basis as for a sale once a reader has read a certain percentage of a book.