What is Scribd?
Scribd lets you publish and discover documents online. It is like a big online library
where anyone can upload. We make use of a custom Flash document viewer that lets
you display documents right in your Web browser. There are all sorts of other features
that make it easy and fun to publish, convert, embed, analyze, and read documents.
Part of the idea behind Scribd is that everyone has a lot of documents sitting around on
their computers that only they can read. With Scribd we hope to unlock this information
by putting it on the web.
What kinds of things can I do with documents on Scribd?
To name a few:
• Display documents in a web browser using our custom Flash PDF player
• Perform high quality conversions between many different formats, including
Word, PDF, plain text, HTML, JPEG, PowerPoint, Excel, Postscript, LIT, and even
• See all sorts of detailed information on who is viewing each of your documents,
including the geographic locations of visitors and how people got to your doc
(i.e., Google queries)
• Publish a document online with its own public URL that will be indexed by
Google and other search engines and be read by a lot of people
• Embed a long or complex document in your blog or personal webpage
• Convert a document to an mp3 that you can listen to on your iPod
• Bulk upload files (that's right, storage is unlimited!)
• Receive "likes" and comments on your documents
• Choose among a variety of copyright licenses for each of your documents
• Receive money every time someone orders a printed copy of your docs
• Discover documents related to your own using our similarity algorithm
• Analyze the text of your docs (how does your sentence length compare to the
• Browse popular documents using view counts, likes, tags, our similarity
algorithm, and other ways that let you find content that is interesting to you
What kinds of documents can I publish on Scribd?
Literally, anything you can put in a Word (.doc), PDF (.pdf), text (.txt), PowerPoint (.ppt),
Excel (.xls), Postscript (.ps), or LIT (.lit) file. Here are some things people have uploaded
• School papers
• PowerPoint presentations
• Serious academic research articles
• Funny pictures
• Free online books
• Excel Spreadsheets
• Commentary on current events
• Musical scores
If I want to publish my writing online, why use Scribd instead of a blog?
Publishing on Scribd is conceptually very different from blogging. Here are a few
• Each piece of writing on Scribd stands completely by itself. Rather than being like
an online journal, in which all the entries are related to the others, each
document is a stand-alone publication.
• There is no pressure to post multiple documents on Scribd. Unlike a blog, you
can post one piece of writing and then never post anything again.
• You don't write things for the purpose of putting them on Scribd. Instead Scribd
is meant to be a tool for publishing things you have already written.
• Writings on Scribd are timeless. They don't have to be about what you did during
the day or the current events of the week. They can even be things you wrote
ten years ago!
• Unlike a blog, Scribd allows you to upload a Word or PDF file with richly
Instead of being a blogging site, Scribd is more accurately describd as a writing
repository, or as we like to call it, a wripository.
If I publish a document on Scribd, how will people find it?
The Internet is a big place, and someone out there is bound to find and read your work.
For example, the full text of all documents gets indexed by Google and other major
search engines. This might seem obvious, but it's actually quite difficult to get text
indexed by search engines nowadays, and we have worked very hard on this so you
don't have to. Scribd also has an active community of readers from all around the world
who spend a lot of time browsing the site. Since all the content is organized with tags,
popularity ratings, similarities among documents, as well as other things, readers can be
directed to good and relevant content.
Do I keep the rights to documents published on Scribd?
Of course. When you upload something to Scribd, you keep all the rights to it, including
the right to remove it at any time. You grant Scribd only the right to host the document
until you choose to remove it. If you choose to, however, you can give other people
limited rights to share and reproduce your work, by publishing it under a Creative
How do I convert between different document formats?
First, publish the document on Scribd. Then, once it's online, choose the format that you
would like to use to download the document.
How do I embed a document in a webpage or Myspace profile?
Next to each document there is a piece of HTML code in a text box. Copy and paste this
text into the code of the webpage.
Do I need to sign up to publish on Scribd?
No, you do not need to sign up. However, if you publish anonymously and move to a
different computer you will lose ownership of your documents and you will never be
able to edit or delete them. This is not because we're mean; it's just because if you don't
sign up, we have no way of confirming that you're still the person who uploaded your
documents. All signing up requires is entering a username and password, so why not
just create an account?
Can I make money for my work using Scribd?
Not directly. While Scribd does not allow you to charge for access to your work on the
site, you can use Scribd to promote your paid work. For example, if you have a blog with
ads on it, you can upload one of your best entries to Scribd as a way to get more
readership. If you have a book in print, you can upload an excerpt (or even the whole
thing!) to Scribd as a promotion.
However, Scribd does offer a neat little printing service through Print(fu). Every
document you upload automatically has a link to the Print(fu) service, where readers
can get a printed copy mailed to them for a few dollars. Every time someone orders a
print copy of your document through Print(fu), Print(fu) will email you $1 using Paypal.
Some things to keep in mind:
• Don't get too excited - the amount of money you will make is likely to be trivial.
This is a fun service, not a serious way to make money.
• For this to work, you must put a real email address on your profile.
• Scribd currently does not take any cut of the money you make through Print(fu),
though we reserve the right to do so in the future.
• If you don't want the Print(fu) link, you can always take it off by editing your
What's the story behind Scribd?
Scribd was started by Trip Adler and Jared Friedman in September 2006, and a few
months later Tikhon Bernstam joined as a founder. The idea was inspired when Trip and
Jared wanted to publish some of their school papers online and couldn't find an easy
way to do it. They hit upon the idea of making a website designed for people to share
their documents with the world.
How do you guys make money?
Trip plays sax on street corners sometimes.