Scribd - Adding more Meanings to the Words

Words and Words are all i have....

Today’s brew is for Scribd Inc.,
Brew Date: 26th May 2015
Type: Served Warm – Redefine and Transform brew.

To understand the business model of Scribd, check out the following links:

In a world where every day is a story to be told, heard, experienced and impacted, where more than 6 billion folks are actively creating their own stories, and a decent quantum of it being captured on Internet, Scribd takes cognizance of only those means, which are published to make aware, inform and impact the mankind.  

Scribd defines itself as a Digital Library featuring troves of eBook, audiobook and comic book offering them as subscription service, however it would have been great only if it understood the purpose these means served. Books were the instruments for transfer of information, which drove renaissances for multiple eras by offering the solution of easy spread of information and its preservation for longer times.

In the age where transfer of information has been completely revolutionized by the Digital paradigm, its time Scribd acknowledges and stirs another revolution by not jus democratising the publishing platform, but by democratising and aggregating from the ‘Content’ and its ‘Authors’ to ‘User experiences/input information from Social Networks’ and ‘Users ability to further set context on Scribd’. In a way, Scribd can transform itself to a real time chronicler, storyteller of the world.  

Following are the thoughts that come to mind:

1) Scribd, with its Value prop and business model is caught between either developing a competence in Content (which will get new users) and Create a Great User Experience of Reading (which will retain the users). The solving this dilemma will be of high criticality to get the business and monetization model right. 

The answer to it possibly lies in searching the Soul of Scribd, which bears more of a resemblance to the Technology dimension. And hence developing a Competence of delivering great user experience while reading is of vital need to Scribd’s working model.

Developing a Tech Competence will not only prove to be competitive advantage rather than developing the Content, cos that way, Scribd goes above the league of majors like Amazon Kindle etc., which are predominantly more Content focus with the Achilles heels of User Experience.  Rather, a great User experience can be leveraged with the Content Folks for a wider usage of Scribd in an collaborative model.

By having a Tech Competence, Scribd can aspire for the Reading Segment, rather than Reading Books Segment. The markets then open up to anything and everything (Imagine, reading all your social network feeds in one place, along with Information from other social media networks) that can be molded in to a Scribd reading experience (the reading can again be modified & cross leveraged with listening to a Read etc.).

2) Scribd needs to develop a tech competence in understanding the realm and various dimensions of the content, its emotions, its trajectory and its nuances. The more it understands the depth of the content, the better it understands the readers and their needs for types of content. The ambitious path of understanding the content, mapping, interlinking and classifying such types of content will be a key to understand the User behaviors and developing a customized offering to them mapping with their interest levels.

In a way, Scribd’s offering is not to offer books which a user wants, rather its to offer content, understanding user’s interests in variety of modes, and to deliver on this, Scribd will have to understand both to the soul, the Content and the User.

Adding to it, the way things are getting Personalised and adaptive, Books will as well be a part of this transformation where the Content and the Read adapts to the interests of the Reader / User, signifying more than a single way, the story unfolds. Scribd can be the change driver in revolutionizing this conventional way along with delivering on a great user experience.

3) Along with the above, Scribd needs to Make Reading Social as well as be a propagator of Joy of Reading. i mean just like Travel Industry has positioned itself in a way that Life seems incomplete without visiting certain places, so should Scribd do as well with Reading to get the Users to the levels of Self Realizations.

4) Reading as well needs to be more Social Focused along with keeping their circle of friends up to date on what a User is reading, their comments, Real Time Tracking with Users friends, Capturing the reader’s perspectives at various point while reading something etc.

5) Though Scribd has chosen to follow the Netflix Model (though not really, Netflix’s soul is the analytics it does in the backend to understand the User interests), however i believe it should have a mix of IMDB + Netflix model, the sole reason for that being, Scribd will be able to understand the Reading industry better thus forming its strategy to drive the content on the platform.

6) Scribd can as well come out with specialist product offerings of Scribd for Kids, Adults etc where the Science of reading, improving the reading speed, the concentration, memory and literary sense can be a made more User centric.

7) Introducing Business Model Innovation in the Paid Reading industry by having features like Pay Per Read, Epublishing first and then book publishing, where Scribd helps to Epublish the book in a virtual way and to spread its usage to the Readers.

8)  Building an Ecosystem not just with the Publishing firms, but as well inviting the Authors and Writers directly, to let them publish the Books virtually and then getting them to the Next level of Book Publishing. That way, there is a good content buildup and Scribd essentially then serves as a Platform for Content Generation with a huge Value Captured and Shared with Readers and Authors.

Please drop in your comments or reach out on [email protected]

      (Disclaimer: All product names, logos, and brands are property of their respective owners. All company, product and service names used in this website are for identification purposes only. Use of these names, logos, and brands does not imply endorsement.)