Scribd has an interesting approach to pricing e-books. The owner of the content (author or publisher, depending on the book) can choose to set the price, which must be $1 or more. The owner gets 80% of the revenue, which is more than would be received from a traditional etailer or retailer.
There is another way to price books on the site, according to Scribd's support desk: "The second option is Scribd's Automatic Pricing, which uses Scribd pricing algorithm to determine the best price of your document based on similar content and market signifiers."
Hmmm. I take this to mean that the price will change based on what competing books sell for and how demand ebbs and flows.
Simon & Schuster has agreed to sell 5,000 of its books as downloads through Scribd, according to yesterday's NYT. The last time the NYT did an article about Scribd was a month ago, when Brad Stone pointed out that the company is attracting interest because authors and publishers are concerned about the enormous and growing power of Amazon and Google.
Can Scribd get the mass it needs to be a serious contender? The Simon & Schuster deal is a good start. Competition is good for consumers, publishers, authors, and all.