Scribd Opens a Digital Subscription Service in Australia

In News by Porter Anderson

The Scribd subscription introduced in Australia this week has opened at a price of AU$13.99 and includes audio as well as reading content.

On Swanston Street in Melbourne, February 17, early in a ‘circuit-breaker’ COVID-19 lockdown. Image – iStockphoto: Filed IMAGE

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Monthly Subscription: AU$13.99
In a corporate dialect with which we’re all familiar, Scribd today (March 16) says it has opened in Australia a “localized product experience.” What its folks mean by this in messages to the news media, of course, is that the San Francisco-based subscription service, now well into its international expansion, has opened with pricing in local currency and offerings organized for that market.

The offer features ebooks, audiobooks, magazine articles, sheet music, podcasts, and more content for a monthly subscription price of 13.99 Australian dollars (US$10.80).

Publishing Perspectives readers will recognize that Scribd is in a fairly busy phase, having announced last week its new Scribd Audio imprint to produce audio books in association with “small and independent publishers.”

And in October, another of its international market programs came to light, when the company opened an international advertising campaign on the anniversary of its Méxican “experience.”

In Australia, the newly opened availability includes content from Allen & Unwin, Murdoch Books, Simon & Schuster Australia, HarperCollins Publishers Australia, and Fremantle Press.

Weinstein: ‘Revenue to the Local Publishing Ecosystem’

A promotional graphic for Scribd’s Australian subscription. Image: Scribd

In his prepared statement for the new offer, Andrew Weinstein—Scribd’s vice-president for content, acquisition, and strategy—is doing some market diplomacy, stressing not only a chance to “shine a light on great Australian authors and their ebooks and audiobooks,” but also an intention of spending money in the Australian supply chain.

Andrew Weinstein

“Scribd has a long history of building relationships with publishers,” Weinstein says, “and we’re committed to helping drive incremental revenue to the local publishing ecosystem.”

The approach, according to company information released today, includes “expert curated reading lists for Australian audiences with local Australian content recommendations, and local pricing. We are also investing in local advertising to attract new subscribers to Scribd.”

And in opening the program, Scribd provides these two lists of Australian authors’ work on the platform as well as some of the international titles on the program. The links are to Scribd’s subscription pages for the works listed.

Australian Titles by Australian Authors 

Notable Titles by International Authors

In some of the round numbers Scribd is using today to describe its reach and range, it reports having employees from more than 20 countries, more than 1 million paying subscribers, and more than 100 million unique users per month on the platform spending more than 150 million hours reading.

The Coronavirus in Australia

At this writing, the 6:26 a.m. ET (1026 GMT) update of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center sees 29,154 cases in Australia’s population of 25 million, with 909 fatalities.

Despite concerns about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine’s safety, Renju Jose reports for Reuters Sydney that Australian authorities on Tuesday (March 16) have confirmed they intend to continue the country’s use of the vaccine, although “Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus joined several other European nations on Monday in temporarily suspending vaccinations with AstraZeneca shots after reports of isolated cases of bleeding, blood clots and low platelet count in some of the nations.”

On Monday (March 15), Richard Glover for the Washington Post published an interesting look at key points in how the Australian government has worked to manage a comparatively low incidence and toll from the coronavirus.

Among his points, No. 4 may interest many: “It helps if people follow the rules: Australians love to think of themselves as rebels, but in truth we’re a compliant lot. There were a few anti-mask protests, and when people were told to wear masks, they immediately obeyed. And although some complained about the tough lockdowns, swelling approval ratings greeted the leaders who imposed them.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on Scribd is here, more from us on audio and audiobooks is here, more on the Australian market is here, and more on subscriptions is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.