Digital comics downsizing has continued as Scribd has dropped out of the game. PW has a succinct write up on the end of Scribd’s digital comics subscription service. The service launched in 2015 as part of Scribd’s $8.99 a month streaming ebook business that included Marvel, IDW, Top Shelf, Zenescope, Dynamite and Valiant.
The reason was low readership – so low that the service ended in December and no one noticed until now.
Scribd appears to have ended the comics service sometime in December 2016. In a statement to PW, Scribd confirmed that the comics subscription access has ended:
“We launched comics in 2015, and while we were excited to bring new content to our readers, few actively took advantage of them. We will be focusing our efforts on enhancing the experience surrounding our other great content types including books, audiobooks, magazines, and documents.”
“We alerted comic readers of the news via email in early December,” the statement continued. “We understand that this news is disappointing to comic readers. This was a difficult decision, and we hope that they’ll explore the rest of what Scribd has to offer in the coming months.”
However, when comics launched they were a complete hit for Scribd, as I reported at the time:
Scribd’s February rollout of a new subscription plan for comics yielded impressive results, according to statistics revealed exclusively to Publisher’s Weekly. The new service—which offers access to a library of 10,000 comics titles for an $8.99 monthly fee—garnered more than 570 million media impressions, compared to 176 million media impressions for the November roll-out of their audiobook service.
“The launch was explosive for us, with the biggest response and fastest adoption we’ve ever seen,” Scribd CTO and co-founder Jared Friedman told PW. “It really speaks to the comics fanbase as an incredibly passionate group of people.”
What went wrong? Probably just ComiXology’s rise as part of Amazon, although SCribd has had many problems with its own service in the past two years, dropping all you can eat romance novels when readers ate too much, and tinkering with their service. Here’s a much longer account of Scribd’s woes.
In addition, ebooks in general are on a downward trend. Digital comics sales have been flat for the last two years.
The move leaves ComiXology at the top of the heap with streaming service ComicBlitz still trying to get a foothold. And of course Marvel Unlimited is powering along.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.