Buy “Runway”




George Consagra, the COO of came to the Grotto for lunch this past June. If you don’t know what Scribd (pronouncd “Scribbed”) is, it started two years ago as a YouTube for documents, and in May transformed into an iTunes for documents as members became able to name their price for material they uploaded. Documents range anywhere from a recipe or a book report to full-length nonfiction books and novels. Scribed takes 20 percent and you get the rest. As of June, they had 68,000,000 (that’s million) users per month, the majority from the U.S., Europe, India and Brazil. (About one third are English speaking.) Two local authors, Kemble Scott and Joe Quirk, both opted to publish their latest books on Scribd instead of going the standard publishing route, and since then Scott’s book, The Sower, has become a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. The downfall of publishing on Scribd? You not only don’t get an advance (but what novelist does anyway?), you have to do ALL of your own marketing. Authors are doing more and more of their own publicity these days anyway, and book tours are a dying beast. So what’s to stop a writer from publishing on Scribd? Prestige. There’s nothing like holding a copy of your published book in your hand (so I’ve heard) and handing it to Dad, who hasn’t yet learned to turn on a computer, and Scribd can’t make that happen. And yet, for self-published authors doing print-on-demand, it’s a way to get your work in print AND in front of 68 million potential readers. Scribed is just two years old, and its store less than six months old, but it has already added reviews and a Facebook-style social network for writers that allows quality documents to get more views. So if you’re determined to see your book in print, hurry up, because with the Kindle and other e-readers gaining in popularity and 86 percent of Japanese teenagers reading books on their PHONES, it won’t be long before bookstores (and not just the indies, all the them) go the way of CD stores—out of business. I came away from the meeting crossing my fingers that it’s not too late to get my book in print, but also making a mental note to put a Kindle (make that nook now) at the top of my Christmas list. Because, like the iPhone (or any smart phone), we’re all going to have one sooner or later. May as well get with the program.

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