Scribd’s Australian entry a new growth chapter
US digital content subscriptions service business Scribd has launched its Australian offering with a focus on localised content and at a price point that directly competes with Amazon-owned rival Audible.
Scribd has lined up a $13.99/month offer, along with a 30-day free trial for new users, competing directly with Audible Australia's $16.45/month offering.
The host of more millions of ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts and sheet music content said the move to extend its seven-year-old global subscription platform into overseas markets is part of broader plans to capitalise on the popularity of mobile digital content.
Scribd will feature unlimited access to content from international and local publishers Allen & Unwin, Simon and Schuster Australia, HarperCollins Publishers Australia, Fremantle Press and Scribe, among others, as well as Scribd's original content.
This launch marks the company's investment in creating a localised, 'best-in-class' reading experience that is tailored to meet the needs of the market, said Andrew Weinstein, Scribd's vice-president, content acquisition and strategy.
"It took us a long time to get around the world to invest in Australia, but we are there now and looking to grow by investing in local content and deals," Mr Weinstein said.
"We know through our research that Australians are avid readers and that reading is among the three most compelling leisure activities for them.
"We are really optimistic about our growth given this is a unique value proposition, which offers more products than any other service in the market."
Scribd is entering a crowded market for ebooks and audiobooks, estimated at $395m - and likely to increase to $430m by 2024.
Additionally, Scribd's offer of downloads that last only for the life of the subscription may be challenged by other own-your-download offers in the market.
Freely available digital content libraries and book publishers offering their own ebooks also remain a challenge.
"Scribd has a long history of building meaningful relationships with publishers and authors," Mr Weinstein said.
"We're committed to helping drive incremental revenue to the local publishing ecosystem."
Mr Weinstein said Scribd had over a million paying subscribers globally.
Some of Scribd's new offerings include Pip Drysdale's 2021-released, The Paris Affair and Kate Mildenhall's 2020 novel, The Mother Fault.
Scribd was founded by current chief executive Trip Adler, Jared Friedman and Tikhon Bernstam in 2007 as a host site for shared documents, before evolving into a e-content platform in 2013.
Last year, Scribd bought Microsoft-owned LinkedIn's presentation-sharing Slideshare service, which Mr Adler said was a "a major step" towards creating the world's largest digital library.
"Scribd has accumulated a unique collection of user-generated and professional content that we make available to our readers via personalised recommendations, and the addition of presentations from the SlideShare community advances our vision."
Originally published as Scribd's Australian entry a new growth chapter