I ran across the Scribd website earlier tonight. From what I gather it is an online community where users can upload books, sheet music, service manuals and many other similar printed materials. These works can be original but many of them appear to be copyrighted…. It is being called the ‘YouTube for Documents’.
For example, I was looking for an online copy of “Dragonlance Chronicles: Dragons of Winter Night” to correct some of the OCR discrepancies that I am running across while reading a TXT version on my Sony eReader (electronic versions of the book are not commercially available, so I had to rely on UseNET for a copy), and I discovered I can download entire copies of this work in PDF or TXT from Scribd. Granted, the TXT copies of this book are horrid as there are no line breaks and it appears to be in a ‘non-standard’ text format (at least to windows), but it is still a full text copy of the entire book.
The PDF versions do not immediately work with the Sony PRS-505- but a little ‘cleaning’ in Adobe Acrobat will make them readable as a paperback copy of the original book.
A little further searching turned up a good Windows 2008 Sever reference book, a VMWare ESX Server Guide, Kevin Trudeau’s Natural Cures, The Anarchist’s Cookbook, and The Secret Teachings of All Ages- all available for download. I am assuming that someone obtained original publisher digital copies of these works as I cannot imagine someone scanning in a 450+ page 2008 sever manual for ‘fun’.
It seems like some publishers and authors are beginning to support the site- some going so far as to discover their books sales increased when they gave away digital copies. However, others are saying the site supports piracy. One humorous quote from the later party is ‘We don’t have to give in to this. We can’t afford to make the same mistakes the music industry did.’- sounds like someone isn’t following the news on RIAA lawsuits….