Scribd’s Traditional Royalty System Proves Costly

Last week I wrote about how Amazon has changed the way royalties are paid out to authors when their books are borrowed from Kindle Unlimited or Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. They went from paying out a royalty when a reader read 10 percent of a particular book to paying out a royalty per page. I applauded the system because it’s more fair than the previous one. Now we’re given a prime example of what happens when you use a traditional royalty payment system for borrowed books.

Scribd does. They pay out a royalty for every book borrowed, regardless of how many pages are read. And it’s coming back to bite them in the you know what. They announced last week that they will be removing many romance and erotic titles basically because they can’t afford to keep paying the royalties. People are reading them too much and the $8.99 a month subscribers pay just isn’t going to cut it. So, titles are being removed from their catalog.

Now think about this. What if you subscribed to one of these services (Kindle Unlimited & Oyster being the other two) and your genre of preference is romance. And you’re reading along every month enjoying all these romance novels. And then the service decides to remove thousands of books that all happen to be in your favorite genre. Wouldn’t that be a little irritating? I think so. And it just goes to show that a traditional royalty system is not the answer to subscription based book services.

What do you think about Scribd having to remove romance titles because people are reading them too much?