Author Archives: Scribd

Jonathan Maberry Reads For A Cause

Scribd’s latest Read For A Cause curator, Bram Stoker Award-winning author Jonathan Maberry is plain cool. In the past ten years, Maberry has been inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame (he has an 8th degree black belt in Shinowara-ryu Jujutsu), had his work adapted into a television pilot for ABC Television and his Patient Zero trilogy optioned by Sony, and ventured into young adult thrillers with his latest novel, Rot & Ruin.

Most impressive, however, is how this bestselling author spends his downtime teaching and mentoring other writers. Most authors who have been in the game for more than three decades start taking more “me time,” but Maberry’s approach to reading won’t allow that:

“I grew up in an environment of poverty, prejudice and ignorance.  It was through reading that I learned that the world is so very much bigger and better than that.”

Maberry’s thriller novels tend to have a large, otherworldly yet ultimately hopeful tones so it’s no great surprise that he is optimistic about joining forces with other authors and influencers to Read For A Cause. When asked why he was participating in this movement, Maberry revealed a bit of his grand design for life:

“Imagination is the gear of the possible; reading is the lubricant.  When we read, all things become possible and the wheel of WHAT IF? turns and turns.”

-Kathleen Fitzgerald, Senior Marketing Manager (currently reading “Hope” by Emily Dickinson)

4-Hour Workweek author Tim Ferriss Reads For A Cause

Scribd’s newest Read For A Cause curator, Tim Ferriss does not like “normal.” In his two New York Times bestselling books, 4-Hour Workweek and 4-Hour Body Ferriss decries the traditional 9-to-5 workday and modern technology obsessions, emphasizing interpersonal connection instead. Fittingly, Ferriss’ no nonsense approach to living a meaningful life carries into his reading habits.

For his Read For A Cause collection, Ferriss chose inspirational titles ranging from a Vagabonding book about taking time off from your normal life to his friend Jason Fried’s book about “Getting Real” and realizing big ideas quickly. When asked why he’s Reading For A Cause, the Twitter investor and Wired Magazine’s “Greatest Self-Promoter of All Time” is refreshingly gestalt in his answer:

“Because becoming a reader is becoming a member of society. When you read, you can participate.”

Participating in life is perhaps the best way to summarize Ferriss’ everyday approach. Between tango spinning his way into the Guinness Book of World Record on Live! With Regis and Kelly and being named a 2009 Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow, Tim Ferriss practices what he preaches and reads, doing anything but living a “deferred life.”

-Kathleen Fitzgerald, Senior Marketing Manager (currently reading “Harvard Graduation Speech by Conan O’Brien”)

Academy Award-nominated comedienne Fannie Flagg Reads For A Cause

“From the time I was 6 years old I longed to be a writer, always wanted to be a writer.” Fannie Flagg, featured reader

Last year we launched Read For A Cause, a program which aims to leverage the popularity of social networking and influential individuals to combat illiteracy. Curators Deepak Chopra, Justin Halpern (Sh*t My Dad Says), and celebrity chef Eric Ripert have already shared what they read, making it clear that even celebrities’ lives influence their reading choices.  Our newest Read For A Cause curator, American writer/comedienne Fannie Flagg, is no exception.

Best known for her regular Match Game appearances during the 1960s and Academy Award-nominated screenplay adaptation of Fried Green Tomatoes, Fannie Flagg’s Read For A Cause collection is almost as diverse as her career. Flagg’s favorites range from a modern murder mystery to John Steinbeck’s famous 1960s travelogue about a final journey around the United States with his dog to “Crazy in Alabama,” a humor-filled analysis of the Southern life that Flagg knew so well.

As a lifelong writer who humorously tackled controversial themes in her books, Flagg understands how the written word can sometimes express that which we cannot.

-Kathleen Fitzgerald, Senior Marketing Manager (currently reading “Screenwriting for Dummies”)

“Sh*t My Dad Says” Author Justin Halpern Reads For A Cause

“Reading is a big reason why I have such a good relationship with my father. It has always given us something to talk about.” Justin Halpern, featured reader

Sh*t My Dad Says creator Justin Halpern’s life changed when he started Tweeting his 73-year-old father’s musings and life advice – making the recently dumped 27-year-old an Internet sensation, bestselling author, and TV show creator overnight. Now Justin hopes to change other peoples’ lives by sharing what he is reading (and the Sh*t His Dad Reads) with Scribd Read For A Cause.

“The power of words enabled me to change my life and realize my dreams and I believe it can do that for anyone.”

Halpern’s Read For A Cause collections are reflective of his dichotomous, almost satirical approach to life – serious meaning revealed through humor and exaggerated stories. Justin’s favorite books include a bestselling thriller about fundamentalist Mormons in Utah, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, a Booker-nominated author’s story about 1850s voyaging, and Bill Simmons’ Now I Can Die in Peace, which takes a serious look at sports love using a Sh*t My Dad Says tone:

Rule No. 1: No sports bigamy – you have to select one team in each sport. Unless you live in Utah, you cannot root for two teams at once to hedge your bets, and you cannot unconditionally love two teams at the same time when there’s a remote chance that they might go head-to-head someday.

Never one to hold his tongue, Halpern’s 73-year-old father is also sharing his favorite books in a special Sh*t My Dad Reads collection, revealing himself to be an American classic with modern humor:

“Pick your furniture like you pick a wife: It should make you feel comfortable and look nice, but not so nice that if someone walks past it they want to steal it.”

-Kathleen Fitzgerald, Senior Marketing Manager (currently reading “Sh*t My Kids Ruined“)

Thanksgiving Read For A Cause: Celebrity Chef Eric Ripert

“The importance of reading, for me, is that it allows you to dream. Reading not only educates, but is relaxing and allows you to feed your imagination – creating beautiful pictures from carefully chosen words.” — Eric Ripert, featured reader

Last week we announced our new Read For A Cause program, which aims to leverage the popularity of social networking and influential individuals to combat illiteracy. Our featured reader at launch was author and philanthropist Deepak Chopra, and this Thanksgiving week we are highlighting Michelin Star-rated celebrity chef and TV host, Eric Ripert.

As a citizen of the world, Eric understands the value of caring for one another — whether it’s cooking a meal or helping a child learn to read. Born in Antibes, France, Eric soon moved with his family to Andorra, a small country over the Spanish border, where he was exposed to a variety of cuisines and endowed with an understanding of our interconnectedness. By age 17, Eric’s cooking took him to Paris where he studied under the legendary La Tour D’Argent, followed by the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., and then back to New York where he assumed his current position as the chef for Le Bernardin.

When explaining why he chose to participate in Scribd Read For A Cause, Eric cites the following quote from the Dalai Lama:

I pray for all of us, oppressor and friend, that together we succeed in building a better world through human understanding and love, and that in doing so we may reduce the pain and suffering of all sentient beings.

Through hard work and painstaking care, Ripert has firmly established himself as one of New York’s—and the world’s—great chefs, winning Michelin stars, Bon Appétit awards and countless appearances on television shows including Bravo’s Top Chef, the Late Show with David Letterman, and his new PBS series, AVEC ERIC. It’s Eric’s work as the chair of City Harvest’s Food council and charity work, however, that most beautifully translates his passion for cooking into something meaningful for those less fortunate. It is this same belief in the power of art to enact change with which Eric joins Scribd Read For A Cause.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Kathleen Fitzgerald, Senior Content and Marketing Manager (currently reading “Flavorful Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes“)

Scribd Stats: Reading (the numbers) between the lines

One of the great things about working at a fast-growing web company with amazing engineers is all the cool products we get to develop — products, in some cases, that are truly revolutionary. Today, we’re launching one of those: Scribd Stats. The best part is that it’s completely FREE for anyone who’s uploaded their content to Scribd.

Here’s why Scribd Stats will rock your world, publishers:

Get detailed info about how people are reading your stuff – From your home page, access a private “My Stats” dashboard of information, including which of your docs people are reading and sharing most, how people are finding them, which docs they’re spending the most time on and much more.

No technical know-how necessary — Scribd Stats gives you a ton of data that you simply can’t get anywhere else, presented elegantly and doesn’t require a degree in statistics to understand. It’s like Google Analytics for your documents, but without ever having to add tracking or understand code.

Endless, useful insight – As a marketer myself, I understand the tremendous value in knowing how people are finding my content, where they’re coming from, and which content is fueling the most social activity.  The possibilities — for content programming, user targeting, branding and advertising — are truly endless.

Scribd Stats will be gradually rolled out to 100% of Scribd users over the next few weeks, so don’t panic if you aren’t seeing your “My Stats” tab yet.

Have fun discovering!
Deema Tamimi, Director of Product Marketing (currently reading “The Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That?“)

Reading’s never been so good

“Words have magical power. Language not only describes reality, it creates reality. Language, imagination and creativity are the keys to transforming the world.” — Deepak Chopra, featured reader

Scribd’s vision has always been to liberate the written word because, like Mr. Chopra, we believe in the transformative power of knowledge and information sharing. That’s why we’re launching the Read For A Cause program — to leverage the incredible power of the social web to enable change and combat illiteracy.

To do this, we’ve enlisted some of today’s most well known thinkers, writers and influencers to help spread the word by sharing their reading lists. The program will benefit Room to Read, an international literacy organization that builds libraries for children in under-served communities around the world.

Each featured reader will share their recommendations on some of the best books, poems, research and other written works they read for inspiration and entertainment. The recommendations will be available for free on www.scribd.com/readforacause, where you can choose to spread the word by Readcasting the collections or by donating.

Deepak Chopra, New York Times best-selling author and a longtime supporter of global literacy efforts, has created and shared his Scribd reading list on the Read For A Cause profile page.

Future featured readers will include:

  • Lee Child, bestselling author of Jack Reacher book series
  • Danny Chun, head writer for NBC’s “The Office”
  • Deepak Chopra, New York Times bestselling author
  • Jeffery Deaver, Bestselling thriller author, master of the mind game, and author of the upcoming 2011 James Bond novel
  • James Fallows, respected journalist and national correspondent, The Atlantic
  • Tim Ferriss, author of international bestseller “The 4-Hour Workweek”
  • Fannie Flagg, New York Times bestselling author and screenwriter best-known for Fried Green Tomatoes. Her latest novel is I Still Dream About You
  • Sir James Galway, internationally renowned classical flutist
  • Louis (Lou) Gossett Jr., Academy-Award winner, “An Officer and a Gentleman”
  • Paul Graham, venture capitalist and co-founder of Y Combinator
  • Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants and Ape House
  • Tony Hawk, professional skateboarder and entrepreneur
  • Justin Halpern, “Sh*t My Dad Says” Twitter sensation, author and TV show producer
  • Joi Ito, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and chief executive officer of Creative Commons
  • Sophie Kinsella, New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series including her latest Mini Shopaholic
  • Erik Larson, Edgar Award-winning author and contributor to TIME and the Wall Street Journal
  • Jennifer 8. Lee, author, journalist and Knight News Challenge consultant
  • Jonathan Maberry, multiple Bram Stoker award-winning author of Ghost Road Blues and Rot & Ruin
  • Craig Newmark, Internet entrepreneur and Craigslist founder
  • Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of social news website Reddit
  • Eric Ripert, celebrity chef, host of PBS’s Avec Eric and Top Chef judge
  • Craig Silverstein, Director of Technology, Google
  • Caryl Stern, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Fund for UNICEF
  • Scott Westerfeld young adult and science fiction author of the Uglies series and Leviathan trilogy
  • Dr. Ruth Westheimer, longtime psychosexual therapist, author of Sex for Dummies
  • John Wood, founder and chairman of Room to Read
  • and many more!

Please donate and join us in spreading the word — follow the Read For A Cause profile today to stay up to date on what our featured readers are reading and sharing!

Deema Tamimi, Director of Product Marketing (currently reading “Room to Read in India“)

Scribd and Apture: Making every word an adventure

You know when you’re reading online and you see a word you want to learn more about? Like me, you probably open a new browser tab and look it up on Wikipedia or Dictionary.com. In the process you somehow lose your original page altogether. Say goodbye to all that chaos.

Today, Scribd is launching a new feature called Apture Highlights, which lets you highlight any of the billion-plus words in our library of millions of HTML5 documents to “learn more” without ever leaving the page you’re on. “Learn more” results include Wikipedia entries, LinkedIn profiles, interactive Google maps, YouTube videos, image slideshows, related Scribd documents and much more.

You can dig deep into the various information sources, making each word an information adventure — an adventure that never leaves you stranded or lost since you’ll remain on the original document page the entire time.

Try the new feature on Kemble Scott’s book “The Sower 2.0” which includes suggested “learn more” terms by the author himself. You can also watch our demo video below to see Apture Highlights in action!

–Deema Tamimi, Director of Product Marketing (currently reading “The Sower 2.0” )

Lit Crawl 2010 and Scribd: Where the World Comes to Read

Last Saturday, Scribd hosted the first ever “Where the World Comes to Read” event during the Official 2010 Lit Crawl. Many of Scribd’s most prolific writers ventured into San Francisco’s Mission District to participate in the event, reading aloud excerpts from their books, blogs, and memoirs, as well as sharing personal accounts of how their lives have changed since joining Scribd.

Helen Winslow Black, Inez Peru, John Wolpert, Laura Novak, Richard W. Humphries, Sunny Lockwood, Ali Van Zee, Hyla Molander


Former New York Times and ABC News reporter Laura Novak explained how she’s gone from “e-mail only” to “e-marketing Finding Clarity” in just two years. Helen Winslow Black flew in from Portland to share another passage about her brilliant journey through life and motherhood. Inez Peru kept everyone rolling with tales from her Match.com adventures.

Richard Humphries, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy, escaped into his memoir about prison life told from a former stockbroker’s point of view. John Wolpert shared how his love of theater and ballet as a child led him to write his latest book. And a surprise reading by Hyla Molander had people blushing at the mention of pregnancy sex until she revealed that the story tragically took place just nine hours before her 29-year-old husband died.

Other Scribd writers, Luddite and AliKat came out to support and share their own stories about finding connection through Scribd’s writing community.

The evening reminded everyone of how fun reading in coffee shops can be and how far each person has journeyed already.

The Next Chapter of Social Reading on Scribd

Watching videos, listening to music, even surfing the web are becoming increasingly social activities.  So why not reading? When you read a great book, magazine, or document, you naturally want to share it with friends and family, right?  That’s why Scribd has always been focused on enabling a social reading experience for our users, helping people discover content and connect with people who share similar reading interests.

Now we’re taking our efforts to the next level. The popularity of Scribd Readcast has made it clear that you enjoy sharing what you’re reading and publishing with your friends on Facebook. As part of our commitment to giving people the very best social reading experience, we’re providing new members of the Scribd community with:

Personalized Content Based on Friends’ Activity: New users will automatically be connected to their Facebook friends, and their homepage will be personalized to include content that friends are reading, sharing and commenting on on Scribd.

Smarter Reading Recommendations: New users will be offered relevant reading recommendations based on their public information on Facebook.

No Login Required: Who needs another username and password to remember?  We’re using new users’ public information on Facebook to jump start profiles so that new users can start publishing and commenting right away.  No sign-up form necessary!

Starting today, when new readers visit Scribd they will notice a prominent message at the top of all of our pages, to notify them that we’re personalizing their Scribd experience and give them an easy way to learn more or turn off the experience.

Even before today’s announcement, the majority of people signing up to Scribd are choosing to manually connect their Scribd profiles to Facebook, so we’re thrilled to be able to provide a social and personalized experience to more of our readers.

-Deema Tamimi, Director of Product Marketing (recently read “Totally Tubular 80’s Toys”)