By Hannah Johnson
On January 5, Scribd officially announced that it had secured $22 million in Series D funding, which will be used to grow the company’s burgeoning ebook subscription business. The funding was led by Khosla Ventures, with additional investment from Redpoint Ventures, Charles River Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank.
“The subscription model has already transformed the way we consume content like film and music, and Scribd is doing the same with books,” said Keith Rabois, partner at Khosla Ventures. “I look forward to working with the Scribd team to scale their product to a massive global audience.”
Scribd launched its ebook subscription business in 2013, offering readers unlimited ebooks for a monthly fee of $8.99. The company, which began as a document sharing service in 2007, launched an ebook store in 2009.
With the extra influx of cash, Scribd is looking to push ahead in the race to become the dominant ebook subscription platform. (Oyster secured $14 million in January 2014.) According to the press release, the new funds “will be used to reinvest in the business to further accelerate hiring, content acquisition efforts and international expansion.”
“We had a fantastic 2014 at Scribd. We launched audiobooks with 30,000 titles from publishers like Blackstone and Scholastic. We also doubled our e-Book titles, adding content from 1,000+ publishers — including Big 5 publishers Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster — along with industry leaders like Harlequin, Houghton Mifflin, Lonely Planet, Perseus and Wiley,” said Trip Adler, co-founder and CEO of Scribd. “This new funding round will enable us to work towards achieving our goal of creating the most comprehensive library of the future for our millions of users around the world.”
Over the past year, publishers and retailers around the world have kept a close eye on ebook subscription services. Scribd and Oyster are among the leaders with English-language consumers. Amazon launched its Kindle Unlimited service in July 2014, and a number of startups around the world, including Bookmate and 24symbols, are also building subscription businesses. Though not all publishers and authors are excited by this business model, it appears that plenty of players in the industry believe in the future of ebook subscriptions.