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Hello,

I'm one of the founders of Scribd. You might be surprised to hear this, but I applaud the PDFy service and am glad someone has built it.

Scribd is not designed to be a simple, lightweight way to host a PDF file. Yes, this was the original idea of Scribd 8 years ago, but we've long since left that path. We see that market as having been made irrelevant by a combination of Google Docs, Dropbox/Box.net/etc., and better PDF readers now built into browsers like Chrome. There may be room for someone to build an imgur like service for PDFs too, but that's not what we're doing.

Scribd is really good for two things:

1) Scribd is a subscription reading service ("Netflix for books") where you can read over 400,000 professionally published books for $9 / month, including thousands of new releases and best-sellers. It doesn't include many programming books unfortunately (yet!), but if you like to read other things, it's a good deal.

2) Scribd is good for serious authors and publishers who want to publish a lot of content and organize it well. For example, the World Bank uploads thousands of research reports to Scribd and organizes them into collections. And many serious authors publish books and other writings with us.

We're sorry that we haven't done a good enough of explaining who we are as it's changed over the years. And we're sorry if you've been frustrated trying to use Scribd for something it's not particularly good at.

To joepie91_ - I think it's cool that you've started this. We have some experience building document hosting services, and I can see you are already encountering some issues we've worked on, like DMCA and copyright. If you'd like to talk, we'd be more than happy to help you out.




Wow, I never knew.

So far I've seen Scribd as very annoying pdf host, and most often I decide not to read the content at all when given a scribd link ("just send me the pdf, damn it!").


Same here. But then again we're not the clients. We're just 'using' the technology Sribd provides their clients I suppose.


This is good to know about Scribd.

Up until now my encounters with Scribd have generally followed this scenario: I'm reading a news article[1] and notice a link to some of the source documents for the article. I click on the link and then am sent to a scribd page that displays the document along with nice little download buttons that purport to let me download a copy of the document[2]. Of course clicking any download button gives me a modal telling me I either need to "Login with Facebook" or create a scribd account. Back buttons are pressed, tabs are closed.

In the example links above these documents are not books, they are not part of a curated collection put up by the "serious author" or publisher of the document. It looks much more like a publisher looking for an easily linkable or embeddable document viewer was snookered into believing that by uploading the document to scribd it would be easily accessible and "available" to the world.

There are countless scribd accounts were I imagine the author really intended their upload to be freely available, not used as bait for scribd to suck people into account creation. For example, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory[3], various government officials[4] or agencies[5], and in fact entire scribd categories seem to be documents which are neither authored by the uploader, or copyrighted at all, such as public court filings[6].

I think your "Netflix for books" is a great idea, and might even be something I would go for, except for the really bad taste the above interactions leave in my mouth. These documents don't fit into the two categories you say scribd is really good for and you mention you are sorry you haven't done a good enough job explaining who you are as it has changed over the years. A great place and way to explain this would be right next to a download button for this type of content that doesn't require someone to "Login with Facebook" or create an account. Instead of getting the feeling I've gotten suckered by clicking on the link, I might think it is great you are hosting and making available this type of content and I should explore some more about this "Netflix for books" thing you are talking about.

[1] For example: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/05/in-18-months-feds...

[2] e.g.: http://www.scribd.com/doc/204954147/Lolli-v-BF-Labs-Journal-...

[3] http://www.scribd.com/USNRL

[4] http://www.scribd.com/SenatorMarkUdall

[5] http://www.scribd.com/stlouisfed

[6] http://www.scribd.com/browse/BusinessLaw/Court-Filings


Scribd was synonymous with copyright violation for years. Nice to see you're finally making an honest business out of it.


...and now pdf.yt has stepped in to take the reins!


So was YouTube, to be fair.




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