By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Scribd Offered 30 Days Free During LockdownsAs Frankfurter Buchmesse approaches (October 14 to 18), subscription services in the digital content space are a frequently encountered topic. And one of the most prominent and longest standing subscription companies, Trip Adler’s San Francisco-based subscription service Scribd is announcing today (October 8) that it’s opening its first international advertising campaign.
The occasion is the anniversary of Scribd’s entry into the Méxican market. One of the success points for the company there has been its exclusive partnership with Grupo Planeta, which has made more than 1,000 Planeta Spanish-language titles available to subscribers from imprints including Seix Barral, Paidós, Crítica, and Para Dummies. Scribd remains at this writing the only subscription reading service available in Latin America to offer these premium ebooks.
Additionally, Scribd says it has added several hundred titles from Grupo Editorial Océano and premium magazine content from titles sourced from other venues.
The newly launching campaign is called “The Infinite Door To Your Curiosity.” It has been pointed out to the team, a spokesperson confirms, that a door is not infinite, although one’s curiosity might be. They’re happy to defy logic and are sticking with their commercial phrase. So don’t let the infinite door hit you on the way out of the realm of plausibility.
Scribd opened localized service in the Méxican market in October 2019 and has reported double-digit growth in the region’s paying subscriptions since then. The company reports a significant increase in premium reading activity, in fact, with ebook activity increasing an average of 80 percent and audiobook activity increasing an average of 70 percent, year-over-year.
In a prepared statement for today’s media messaging, Scribd’s vice-president of marketing Jen Singerman says, “Our subscribers in México are lifelong learners who use reading as a vehicle for personal growth and connecting with the world around them.
“As we expand our brand in México, we want to celebrate this thirst for knowledge and educate consumers on how the breadth and quality of content on Scribd can improve their lives.”
The cost of a Spanish-language premium subscription now is 149 pesos (US$6.95), the equivalent of about two dollars less than it was when it opened last year at $8.99. We asked the company about this, and a spokesperson confirmed the change, saying that Scribd “has optimized this new price to be more competitive and to better fit the market.”
Mexican users log in at Scribd.com, but they see new localized pages and offerings curated for their market.
Méxican Subscription: US$6.95 per month
Coupling the ad program release with some site and catalogue improvements, the Scribd team offers several points quantifying its growth parameters in this first year in the Méxican market:
- Scribd expanded its premium Spanish-language catalog by 40 percent. The digital library now includes more than 85,000 premium ebook and audiobook titles, as well as thousands of magazine articles, millions of documents, sheet music, and other content.
- During springtime shutdown orders in March—mitigation and containment efforts for the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic—Scribd made its catalogue available free of charge for 30 days, looking to serve as a resource for readers looking for entertainment, information, and comfort, and also to introduce itself, of course, to potential new subscribers.
- Scribd reports a large spike in reading activity in México during the confinement period, specifically ebook reading, which increased by more than 100 percent.
- Additionally, Scribd added several hundred titles from Grupo Editorial Océano and premium magazine content from more than 1,000 premium titles around the world.
In this morning’s communications, Scribd’s offices say they’re planning to add podcasts to the subscription program soon and will “bring ebooks to life in new and interesting ways as part of the Scribd Audio program.”
México and the Coronavirus
As you may remember, the government of Méxican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been criticized for making late and limited mitigation efforts, some of which was reported in late March by the Los Angeles Times’ Patrick J. McDonnell and Kate Linthicum. They wrote, ‘The president’s restrained approach has earned him blistering criticism from independent public health experts and an accusation from New York-based Human Rights Watch that he is ‘putting the people of México in grave danger.’”
Unfortunately, the criticism may have been well founded.
México has the ninth highest caseload in the world this morning. At this writing, the 6:23 a.m. ET (1023 GMT) update of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center sees 799,188 cases in México’s population of 126 million, with the world’s fourth largest fatality count, 82,726 deaths registered so far.
Below is a promotional video released in June 2019 by Scribd:
More from Publishing Perspectives on Scribd is here, more from us on subscriptions is here, and more on the Mexican market is here. More on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here.
More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here and at the CORONAVIRUS tab at the top of each page of our site.