People love reading romance novels, but online book subscription service Scribd is cutting many of the genre’s titles from its library, the company announced on Tuesday.
Scribd, which offers an unlimited library of books, ebooks and comics to users who pay a monthly fee (a la Netflix or Spotify), released a letter explaining that because the company pays publishers “retail-level margins” for their books, it would have to scale back its library to accommodate its business model.
“In starting Scribd, we bore the majority of the risk when establishing a business model that paid publishers the same amount as the retail model for each book read by a Scribd subscriber,” the letter read. “Now, nearly two years later, the Scribd catalogue has grown from 100,000 titles to more than 1m.”
Because of the service’s rapid growth, they have had to make “adjustments” so that readers could still read an unlimited number of books in Scribd’s library. “We’ve grown to a point where we are beginning to adjust the proportion of titles across genres to ensure that we can continue to expand the overall size and variety of our service. We will be making some adjustments, particularly to romance, and as a result some previously available titles may no longer be available.”
This basically means that readers are reading too many books, specifically romance novels, to keep Scribd sustainable. But when confronted with allegations of a fledgling commitment to the genre, Scribd CEO Trip Adler responded with a blog post.
“Let me state loudly and clearly that we remain committed to our romance audience,” he wrote. “We’ve grown to such a point that we are beginning to adjust the proportion of titles across genres to ensure that we can continue to grow in a sustainable way. We are in the subscription business for the long haul, and while we are facing some growing pains today, we remain fully committed to our readers.”
He continued: “First, it means that romance is here to stay. We are maintaining a robust catalog of thousands of romance titles.” Adler also noted that the catalog will change often and that Scribd is “working hard to establish more mutually beneficial terms with publishing partners.”