Scribd Ramps Up Migration To HTML5; Scores Partnerships With Forbes Media And Others

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We reported recently that online document sharing site Scribd will start to ditch Flash across its tens of millions of uploaded documents and convert them all to native HTML5 Web pages, another win for Apple in its battle against Flash. Today, at TechCrunch Disrupt, Scribd CEO and co-founder Jared Friedman, is announcing that the startup has moved much of its content, including tens of millions of books, magazines, newspapers, presentations, research and more, to the HTML5 format.

Friedman has told us that he believes HTML5 improves the reading experience, by allowing any document to become a Web page. “The possibilities are endless,” Friedman said in a statement. And the HTML5 format is able to bring the richness of fonts and graphics from documents to native Web pages. A new bookmark feature will help you keep your place in especially long documents. Scribd’s documents will be especially iPad friendly. Instead of downloading a book from Apple’s iBooks store or Amazon’s Kindle app, you can see if an electronic version is on Scribd and read it in your browser.

As Scribd has converted its documents over to the new format, the startup has noticed that users are spending more time on the site than before. In fact, Friedman says that users are spending twice as much time on the site.

To commemorate the transition, Scribd has partnered with a number of publishers to make premium content available in the new format for free. Forbes Media will make available its “Vintage Warren: The Best of Forbes on Buffett” special issue free to Scribd readers first; Liquid Comics, with titles from Guy Ritchie and Deepak Chopra, among others, will offer hundreds of graphic novels and comics on Scribd; Workman Publishing will offer the complete job hunter’s bible “Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview” and other full-length titles; and Publishers Weekly will share entire issues and special reports, starting immediately with its BookExpo America (BEA) show daily.

And Scribd plans to launch an ad revenue-sharing program for select content partners this summer. Friedman showed how ads within content flow more seamlessly with the HTML5 format on the iPad. Friedman says the great thing about HTML5 is that every tablet, e-reader and device supports it.

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