This week, Scribd announced that it is slashing content available to subscribers by cutting an "undisclosed" number of romance and erotica novels. One of Scribd's publishing partners, Smashwords, announced that 80-90% of its romance and erotica novels will but cut. Smashwords CEO, Mark Coker, noted that the longer, higher priced works in the genres are most likely to feel the ax. The problem with the books, apparently, is that romance and erotica readers are too prolific.
Wait - aren't ebook subscription services supposed to be an "all you can read" platform? Most of the romance fans likely joined Scribd so that they could read prolifically. Changing the available content is a change to the terms that is unfair to Scribd's customers. It is a business betrayal where Scribd may discover that loyalty is better for the bottom line than their number crunchers accounted for.
In making this change, whether they realized it or not, Scribd was inviting their customers to stop doing business. And I expect that customers will take Scribd up on its invitation to exit.
In the coming days, the same song should be playing in the heads of Scribd and Amazon execs, though only the latter will find it so catchy they end up humming it.
The song? Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to Amazon we go.....