Notes in the Margin

On the intersection of web apps, digital content and social media

Scribd Makes Online Documents E-Reader and Smartphone-Friendly

As one who really enjoys having Kindle books also available on my iPhone, this sounds like an intriguing new service. I find that I probably do more reading on my iPhone than almost anywhere else – besides my computer that is. Certainly in terms of Kindle content, my iPhone reading outpaces my Kindle reading about 2-to-1. (My favorite feature on Kindle is that it keeps my devices in sync – having read ahead on my iPhone, I’m alerted to the advance when I turn on my Kindle and move to the furthest read location.

Also announced here is the planned capability to convert PDF docs to EPUBS format. This further broadens the content for and appeal of reading on mobile devices.

I just tried the service now, and when using an approved document – a snippet from Walt Whitman – it was delivered neatly to my iPhone (as a web page). Interestingly, I also have a copy of Emerson’s Self-Reliance, which as far as I know, having been published in 1839 or thereabouts, should be in the public domain. So I was interested and surprised when I got the following notification back from Scribd via email:

We have removed your document “Self Reliance” (id: 27517883) because our text matching system determined that it was very similar to a work that has been marked as copyrighted and not permitted on Scribd.

Like all automated matching systems, our system is not perfect and occasionally makes mistakes. If you believe that your document is not infringing, please contact us at and we will investigate the matter.

I must say I am impressed that they take the care to this kind of background checking, and I salute them for being cautious when it comes to copyright. Guess I’ll have to go research the copyright law, or the specific copyright around Emerson’s work…

Scribd Makes Online Documents E-Reader and Smartphone-Friendly.


Written by tstaley

February 26, 2010 at 10:51 am

Posted in eBooks

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