Scribd is a document sharing tool that lets users search and share work online. The application covers a variety of document types. Users can upload documents as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, PDFs or ePub file types. Users can browse and share books, reports, magazines, recipes, presentations and almost any other text content they wish to display. Along with text, the site also displays images on pages and book covers. The user interface includes many document browsing tools including zoom, page selection, full screen view, commenting, document search and downloads (when the contributor permits users to download their work). The site makes recommendations based on their preferences and social networking data. Users can also search for specific items by name and keyword.
Scribd was founded in March of 2007 by Trip Adler, Jared Friedman and Tikhon Bernstam. The concept was born after Adler had a conversation with his father about the challenges that come with publishing academic papers. Scribd was originally launched from an apartment in San Francisco. The website’s popularity quickly grew, earning it a place among the top 20 social media websites listed by Comscore in 2008. More than 100 media companies began using Scribd’s reader. The site was also the source for controversial documents, including Hewlett Packard’s lawsuit against Mark Hurd and California Proposition 8.
Scribd is a unique application because it offers users a place to store, share and find documents of almost any kind. Many websites offer a similar service, but are usually limited to a specific type (such as ebooks). Scribd welcomes all documents so users can share information, spread awareness or promote their work online. The website works as a valuable tool for users who are trying to reach a larger audience as quickly as possible.
Scribd offers a trendy feel to users through a lightly colored interface. A bold black header adds a little variety while the remainder of the site lets book covers, titles and headlines do most of the talking. Documents, such as books, look exactly as the user would expect. Nothing is lost in the layout, which is definitely a good thing that lets the user enjoy each document in the way it was meant to be viewed.
A new user can join the Scribd community by clicking the white “Sign Up” link in the upper, right hand corner of the homepage. A pop up box appears and invites the user to sign in with a Facebook account. Users who do not wish to sign up using Facebook can click the blue “I don’t have a Facebook account” link below the blue button. A registration form will drop down below the button and ask the user to provide an email address, username and password. The user is automatically logged in after submitting the form.
Scribd welcomes all new users for free. There is no fee for signing up and the user doesn’t have to pay a subscription fee to maintain account access. All users are given access to all basic features. The site does not require a purchase to keep accounts active, however users may find that some documents must be purchased to access. These documents often come with a preview to entice the user and help them decide if they want to make the purchase.
Scribd is an excellent resource for anyone who has a document they want to share with an online audience as well as those searching for information or entertainment. The site contains a large library of unique documents, ranging from presentations to actual ebooks. Users can access a great deal of content for free however some items may come with a fee. The site gives all users free access to features so individuals, groups and others can share information.