Reading platform Scribd is launching a new original content program called Scribd Originals today, a long-form content experiment featuring notable authors such as Roxane Gay and Garrett Graff. Stories will be exclusively available to Scribd subscribers as ebooks and as audiobooks.
The company’s first offering will launch today: Mueller’s War by Graff. He’s known for books such as The Threat Matrix: The FBI at War, which looked at then-FBI director Robert Mueller’s tenure at the agency, and Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself--While the Rest of Us Die, which is about the US government’s plans to protect high-level government officials in the event of a catastrophic attack. This first work will follow Mueller’s time as a US Marine during the Vietnam War, and it builds on his May 2018 piece for Wired, “The Untold Story of Robert Mueller’s Time in Combat.” In addition to Gay and Graff, Scribd announced that it has also signed authors such as Hilton Als, Paul Theroux, Peter Heller, and Mark Seal.
Scribd Originals appears to mirror what platforms like Audible have been doing in recent years: create long-form, original works that are only available to subscribers. Scribd says that its pieces will be exclusive to its subscribers, and they will fit in the space between a lengthy magazine feature story and a book-length work that “do not have a place in the traditional publishing marketplace.” It also says that its originals will “span multiple genres” and will be recommended to readers based on their reading habits.
Scribd was originally founded as a document-sharing platform, and it has since morphed into a subscription reading platform. For $8.99 a month, readers can read from an unlimited number of books from the site’s content library (although Scribd says that people who abuse the feature will get limited), which includes ebooks, audiobooks, and graphic novels, as well as The New York Times. Earlier this year, Scribd announced that it had passed the million-subscriber mark.