itunes for books?

Recently Scribd opened an online store which is attempting to become the itunes of books. Up until recently Scribd has been completely open source, this past Monday the service began charging for it’s services. Scribd will now keep 20% of each sale, while the remaining 80% will be sent to the owners of the written material. This written material is anything from books, reports, travel guides, and previously unavailable obscure manuscripts (long tail anyone?).

One of the biggest advantages of Scribd is that any document bought can be used on a variety of digital applications, including computers, electronic readers like Kindle, and mobile phones. Scribd will also allow authors to sell individual chapters from their books, similar to itunes selling of individual songs. Additionally, uploading material onto Scribd is relatively simple. Scribd’s “iPaper” converts all uploaded PDFs, Word documents, and Powerpoint files, to web documents that can be accessed by users in whatever format they desire.

Despite the fact that this service is not open source, it does provide a refreshing alternative to amazon and chapters, and is something worth looking into.