In an effort to make its e-books available via new distribution channels, Simon & Schuster has announced a partnership with social publishing company, Scribd. In recent months, the Scribd website has become known as the YouTube for text because it allows users to share and read original written works. Last month a publishing marketplace was added to the site and independent publishers O’Reilly Media and Berrett-Koehler signed on to make their e-books available. Simon & Schuster is the first major publisher to sign on and at launch 5,000 titles will be available for purchase via a Simon & Schuster storefront on the site. The titles can be purchased in Adobe PDF and ePub formats to be read on computers and mobile devices. The files will work on certain e-readers such as the Sony Reader but not on the Amazon Kindle because it currently does not support the formats. According to an article from The New York Times, publishers will likely favor Scribd’s pricing policy over Amazon’s. Scribd gives publishers control over e-book pricing and allows them to keep 80 percent of the revenue while Amazon sets the prices and reportedly keeps half of the revenue. Scribd is also working on an iPhone app and plans to release it within the coming weeks.
In other news, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing has just launched a book focused social networking site for teens called Pulse It. According to the press release, the website will give teens the opportunity to read entire books online, create personal profiles, communicate with authors, write reviews and rank books, create blog posts, participate in message board discussions, watch video book trailers and author interviews, and share reviews with friends on Facebook. Simon & Schuster will make two books available each month and members can choose to access one title for 60 days. Pulse It members will also be rewarded for their involvement on the site. Jon Anderson, Executive Vice President and Publisher, Simon & Schuster Children’s Division commented, “The new Pulse It provides its teen members an instantaneous, shared reading experience. We have also made it very easy for them to buzz our books by spreading the word to their peers on other networks and sites.”