eBook subscription giant Scribd announced new search features this week that will make it even easier for readers to find great content. And with a catalog of over 500,000 titles and counting, discoverability is certainly going to be an issue for both authors and readers.
“Our goal with the new browse experience was to retain the same human touch that we have come to love about personal recommendations from a trusted friend, but use the power of technology to extend it to our catalog of over 500,000 books,” said Jared Friedman, co-founder and CTO of Scribd. “The result is as if we’ve built every reader their own personalized bookstore, with the human touch readers love, that they are now able to carry around in their back pocket.“
The new feature works by letting readers search in two directions at the same time. They can go for a broader search option, which would be akin to walking into a vast bookstore and heading over to the Science Fiction section, or they can narrow it down, which would be like having a personal shopper handing over only the books that contain all of the search options the reader is interested in. This dual system lets readers be highly specific about topics of interest, but also lets them just “wander” the aisles of Scribd when they don’t have a specific title or content in mind, but still know what they like.
“Scribd’s subscription model does wonders for book discovery, because it eliminates so much of the friction that usually exists to begin reading a good book,” said Trip Adler, co-founder and CEO. “Meanwhile our new browse feature alone is a huge step forward for book discovery. Ultimately we believe it’s the combination of the subscription model with our innovative book discovery offering that will create a magical experience for readers, and this is just the beginning of more to come.”
This search enhancement is going to be a tremendous boost to indie authors who’ve put their titles in the subscription catalog through Smashwords’ agreement with the company, as it will let Scribd’s membership find new titles without having to have the boost of advertising dollars from the major publishing houses.
Scribd will be rolling out this search capability across of all of its platform-specific apps in the coming weeks.
Today is seriously National Oyster Day. You’re welcome.
To celebrate the momentous occasion, ebook subscription platform is hosting a giveaway in which one winner will receive a twelve-month subscription to the unlimited reading service. According to a statement from the company, “It’s National Oyster Day (really!). Just as oysters are enjoyed best by the dozen (with a squeeze of lemon and a drop of mignonette sauce), books should be savored by the thousands. To celebrate this wonderfully fake holiday, we’re giving away a dozen year-long subscriptions to Oyster. Share #HappyOysterDay on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and we’ll select 12 of you as winners (and champion gourmands).”
eBook subscription models have taken off in the past year, despite having digital roots extending back as far as 2010 with companies like Spain-based 24Symbols. Even Amazon has gotten in on the game with its recent launch of Kindle Unlimited, which Oyster has declared to be just another validation for the viability of the ebook subscription concept.
Oyster has already inked deals with a number of major publishers and with ebook distribution and self-publishing platform Smashwords, which has helped ensure a growing catalog of content for subscribers to choose from. A standard unlimited plan costs just under ten dollars a month and allows unlimited numbers of reads in each paid period.