Scribd Makes Push Into Mobile


Scribd has emerged over the last year as a popular way to share documents from recipes to PowerPoint presentations online, boasting tens of millions of readers each month. Now the San Francisco-based startup is extending its content distribution platform to mobile devices encompassing smartphones, e-book readers and the forthcoming iPad.

A new feature launching Wednesday will allow Scribd users to send material from the Web to their own devices -- whether an iPhone or Android phone or e-readers including the Kindle, Barnes & Noble's nook and Sony Reader, among others.

Separately, the company is releasing a series of application protocol interfaces (APIs) enabling device makers to integrate Scribd features like search and social networking more tightly into their gadgets. That effort might even include adding a "Scribd" button to a phone interface.



And starting next month, Scribd will roll out applications for the iPhone and Android phones that promise to offer "a richer search, browsing and social experience directly" from these devices. It also plans to make PDF documents available in the open ePub publishing format for books, magazines and other content.

"Today's launch of our send-to-device feature and mobile API represents a major step forward in our strategy to provide open access to Scribd content," said the company's co-founder and CEO Trip Adler, in a statement. "We look forward to giving consumers even more mobile reading options in the coming weeks and months."

Tammy H. Nam, vice president of content and marketing at Scribd, said in an interview that the new mobile initiatives would help turn smartphones into e-readers while also boosting the e-reader market by providing access to content that might not be available otherwise. That includes everything from vampire fan fiction to origami instructions to academic journals.

Overall, Scribd says it offers a catalog of 10 million documents in 90 languages, most of which are free. Publishers selling books through the Scribd Store include Simon & Schuster, O'Reilly Media, Chronicle Books and John Wiley and Sons, publisher of the popular Dummies series.

Nam said Scrib will introduce additional options for publishers and other content producers to monetize works distributed through the company's site, including e-commerce and advertising-based business models in the second quarter.

To date, Scribd has raised nearly $13 million in venturing funding through investors including Charles River Ventures, the Kinsey Hills Group and Y Combinator.

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