Book publishers are increasingly embracing digital books, and not just on Amazon’s Kindle. Today, John Wiley and Sons, Barnes and Noble imprint Sterling Publishing, Chronicle Books, and the University of Chicago Press announced they will join a total of 150 publishers to offer ebooks in the Scribd Store. Wiley is the venerable publisher of the For Dummies series of books as well as Frommer’s travel guides and CliffsNotes.
Scribd lets people embed and share documents in a Flash viewer, but has been partnering with publishers since March to also sell downloadable digital versions of their books. Other publishers already on board include Simon & Schuster and O’Reilly Media. The ebooks are downloadable as a PDF, and excerpts can be shared through the Scribd reader.
Scribd’s strategy is a counterweight to the closed Kindle store, where ebooks bought on Amazon can only be read on the Kindle. Of course, you can also read PDFs you download from the Scribd store on a Kindle. But as more tablets and ebook readers emerge, you might just end up reading books on the Web in your Scribd Flash viewer. At least that is what Scribd and competitor DocStoc (which has its own document store) hope will happen.
I personally wouldn’t pay for a PDF copy of a book. It is just not an enjoyable reading experience. Let me flip through it, share it, read it on my iPhone or future tablets, Tweet out quotes, and maybe I’ll pay.