Category Archives: Featured

Showcases content, authors, and publishers featured on Scribd.

Trick or Read: Scribd Suggests Some Halloween Reading

theexorcistFinally! Halloween is just one day away, meaning lots of candy, pumpkins, ghosts, ghouls, and probably a lot of people dressed up like Miley Cyrus.

But no Halloween would be complete without reading a few haunting tales, so the spookologists on Scribd’s Editorial Staff a put together a collection of stories so spine-chilling you’ll be sleeping with the lights on well into November.

One of our top picks is The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. Sure, you’ve seen the movie, but reading this controversial classic about a demonic possession is so terrifying it will make your head spin.

Nightmare Hour by R.L. Stine

If you only have time to be spooked for a few pages, Nightmare Hour by R.L. Stine may be the book for you. This collection of scary shorts  is good for teenagers and adults alike, and will definitely give you goosebumps.

And, for the faint of heart—we’ve also got a not-so-spooky collection of Halloween reads. Brains: A Zombie Memoir by Robin Becker is hysterical without sacrificing that living-dead flair. Kids can get in on the action, too—one of our favorites is A Hat Full of Sky by the acclaimed Terry Pratchett—if they’re not too tired from trick-or-treating, that is.

Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and the Criminally InsaneWant to spread your love for scary books to those around you? You might want to check out Neil Gaiman’s All Hallow’s Read, a new  literary tradition where you give someone a scary book on Halloween. One read we’d recommend sharing is Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and the Criminally Insane; featuring  masters of horror such as Edgar Allen Poe, Ray Bradbury, and even Gaiman himself, this collection is the perfect way to spread the spooky!

Scribd Interview: Author Hyla Molander

Earlier this week, we shared the story of longtime Scribd author, Hyla Molander’s journey to market and publish a book using Kickstarter.

Today, we present an interview with her that goes into her background using Scribd, thoughts on self-publishing and the extremely personal story that is the foundation of her forthcoming memoir, Drop Dead Life.

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Scribd: Can you give me some background on how you first came upon Scribd?

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Author Taps Kickstarter, Scribd to Promote Book

A preview of the cover of Hyla Molander's upcoming book; "Drop Dead Life."

A preview of the cover of Hyla Molander’s upcoming book; “Drop Dead Life.”

For the past few years — almost since the beginning, author and writer Hyla Molander has been utilizing the features and power of Scribd.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed the often difficult and tumultuous world of digital publishing. While the proliferation of mobile devices has led to near non-stop access in an increasingly connected culture, there are now more options than ever for authors. While that is a boon for writers, it also means that self-publishers are confronted with a challenged around ensuring that books and publications receive the audience and traction necessary.

Last week, Molander tipped us off to an experiment that she is employing in hopes of hitting the mark on marketing and publicity for her upcoming book. She is using her Scribd community and an intriguing experiment that looks to capitalize on sharing her works from Scribd onto Kickstarter in an effort fundraiser the rest of her book.

To our knowledge, this is the first time a Scribd author has attempted this, but the ability to share and link to the Scribd content via Kickstarter makes it a uniquely compelling way to market a book.

Molander first discovered the possibilities of Scribd four years ago when she was an author looking to share her deeply personal memoir about dealing with the death of her husband at the age of 29.

“I kept hearing about ‘platform,’” Molander said. “And three different agents, all of whom had expressed interest in helping me find a house to publish my memoir, pounded that word into my head even more. For those who don’t know what platform means—because I certainly didn’t—platform means that you have a proven audience of people who will want to read your book. Sadly, if you don’t have a large platform, most traditional publishing houses won’t even consider you.”

Despite taking a three-year hiatus from writing while focusing on other family and literary pursuits, Molander returned to the platform to discover that her original published excerpt continues to live a wildly popular life in the annals of Scribd creative writers and memoirs along with the much-needed impetus to continue her writing.

“Even now, as I am returning from a three-year writing hiatus, I see that my excerpt has been read 29,000 times on Scribd and it gives me the courage to
finally publish my book,” Molander said.

Of all the many aspects of independent publishing, the eyeballs that are captured by your work is one of the most important — yet also one of the toughest.

“It is still extremely important to produce a high quality book, which means hiring an editor (or multiple editors), paying for book cover design, layout, and having a phenomenal marketing plan,” Molander said.

Which explains the interesting component of her emerging Kickstarter campaign. It also leverages Molander’s incredibly rich and storied history with Scribd. Currently, she has registered over 216,000 reads and has built a profile on the power of 2,640 followers.

Authors thrive on having others comment and offer input for their work. That advice and community is often the one piece that helps drive a project or a stubborn writing assignment to completion.

“Unless you are only writing your book for yourself or your family, people need to know that you exist. Start writing for blogs, submit to magazines, and definitely upload short documents onto Scribd — preferably with a cover that will attract the attention of readers. And don’t forget to share those blog posts, magazine articles, and Scribd documents all on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Linkedin. The exchanges you will have with your readers will only deepen your writing and spark ideas for more content that others will want to read,” Molander said.

Currently, Molander has published a version of her memoir which is featured on Scribd’s homepage and is also accessible via her Kickstarter campaign.

You can also read the excerpt in its entirety, embedded below. Tomorrow, we will share some more personal aspects of this writing project from our interview in a separate blog post.

Getting the Word Out – Book Reviews in Self-Publishing

It used to be that the success of a book was dictated by the reviews of newspaper columnists and the attention garnered by placement on prestigious ‘top book’ lists.

A book that climbed the charts of the New York Times Bestseller List had a good shot at monetary success and a book that was mentioned on Oprah’s television show was commonly succeeded by massive press and success.

Now, with the internet and the multi-screen world that is a by-product of the proliferation of mobile devices, the attention brought to authors and books is a bit more challenging. Publishing in the last few years is an entirely different animal. While indie authors and self-publishing have an incredibly varied amount of ways to get books printed and delivered, it is still very difficult to get your work reviewed.

Case in point – a week ago, it was revealed that J.K. Rowling had published a novel, Cuckoo’s Calling under a pseudonym. While the book received relative positive acclaim, that never translated to sales. Less than a few hundred copies were sold since the book debuted in April.

Last week, the cover was blown, and the media discovered it was Rowling who authored the book, sales helped drive the book to the top of numerous ‘best of’ lists and brought positive reviews to her exploration of the detective genre that investigates the mysterious death of a supermodel.

The New York Times Bestseller List for August 4, 2013.

The New York Times Bestseller List for August 4, 2013.

Recently, Scribd author and contributor, Sabrina Ricci explored the world of reviews for indie-authors and publishers with an article in Huffington Post.

Turns out, it’s a challenging world despite the sheer number of titles that indie writers have published. According to Ricci, most news publications don’t review the indie titles. With rare exception, their bandwidth is devoted to major publications and publishing houses even though as early as 2011, 235,000 titles represented self-published books.

This lack of coverage in traditional media outlets, however, has not stopped indies from their rise. To the contrary, according to a recent New York Times article, “Self-published titles made up roughly one-quarter of the top-selling books on Amazon last year.”

While many dream of the success that has been seen by authors like Rowling, or even sci-fi writer, Hugh Howey, most are content to see their book gain traction by a large readership and the numerous methods that today’s readers can get copies of books.

We spoke more with Ricci about the new world of self-publishing and reviews:

Q. How did you discover Scribd? How, if at all, do you use our service? How is it represented in the field?

I first heard about Scribd when I was getting my M.S. in publishing at NYU—some of my friends used it regularly. I started using Scribd recently to help promote my self-published book, The 13th Cycle. I uploaded a few sample chapters with links for where readers can purchase the whole book. From what I’ve seen, several publishers, such as Simon & Schuster, offer similar sample content.

Q. In your search for literary marketplaces or products, what other sites do you rely on using?

It depends on what I’m looking for. If I want to read some short stories, I tend to go to Bookrix and Wattpad. Sometimes I also browse Scribd and IndieReader. If a friend recommends a book to me, I try to find the e-book version first, and I tend to buy from Amazon and Apple. However, if an author or publisher sells the book directly, I try to buy it from them first, especially if it’s DRM-free. Lately I’ve also been using Bookvibe, which finds book recommendations via Twitter, to give me ideas for what to read next.

If I’m looking for sites and products to help me as an author, I also use Bookrix and Wattpad, as well as Book Country, to help me get feedback on my writing. I use Bibliocrunch to find editors who will work on my manuscript for a reasonable price. Once I raised some money through Pubslush, a crowdfunding site specifically for books. And then I convert the work to an e-book myself—I’ve worked as an e-book developer for Simon & Schuster, NBC Publishing, and The Experiment Publishing—but in the past I’ve used sites such as Pressbooks. Then I distribute the book through Smashwords, Amazon, Nook, and other channels. And lastly I use sites such as BookPulse, Para Publishing, Freado, Rafflecopter, Scribd, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Bewitching Book Tours, Book Blogger Directory, and The Indie View to help me market (in addition to social media).

Q. In the pantheon of self-publishing, what do you hear about Scribd and the services we offer for creative or independent authors?

A few blogs about self-publishing have cited Scribd as a distribution/sales channel. But mostly I’ve heard Scribd referred to as good for branding and marketing.

Q. How different is the awareness and in particular, the review possibility for self-published books and authors off the radar of major publishers?

Most major media outlets have a policy of not reviewing self-published books. A fair number of blogs also refuse to review self-published books. But, the indie community is growing every day, and there are more and more blogs, and sites that aggregate information on blogs, that do review self-published books. Some are paid, some do it for free. A few of them include IndieReader, The Indie View, idreambooks, Kirkus Indie, PW Select, indieBRAG, We Fancy Books, Maryse, Dear Author, and Chick Lit Central.

Q. Can you shed some light on the review process for self-published authors?

There are a few aspects to it. Most self-published authors have a blog tour as part of their marketing plan. Planning a blog tour is a lot of work, and it involves reviews, interviews, and guest posts, all scheduled in advance.

For the review posts, authors should give bloggers around 2-3 months advance notice, so the bloggers have time to read and write the review. As someone who occasionally reviews self-published books on my blog, I know I personally appreciate having ample time to work with a book, especially since I may be busy working on other stories.

All bloggers have their own set of guidelines for contacting them for reviews. Most of them include submitting a cover image, a brief description of the book, and a book format preference. All authors should carefully read and follow the blogger’s directions to improve their chances of getting reviewed. It’s also important that authors address the blogger by name, to show they actually read the blog and aren’t just mass messaging a bunch of people.

Some bloggers will send authors a link or an email giving them a heads up that they’ve posted a review. Other bloggers will just give authors a date so they can check the site for the review.

After posting a review, some bloggers start to form a relationship with the author, if they liked the book. But that’s not always the case. Each blogger approaches things differently.

Q. There is a fascinating visual breakdown of author critiques based on gender, and while it may be a bit tangential, I am wondering if you have seen it? What are your thoughts?

You can click and read the infographic at this link: | Article Link from The Guardian:

I had not seen it before, but thank you for showing me! My first thought was that gender doesn’t seem to matter as much in self-publishing. A lot of book bloggers are women, and many best selling indie authors are women who write romance. But I don’t have any concrete data to back that up.

Q. A lot of authors seem to dislike the moves by Amazon. What are the opportunities for authors with Amazon being such a force in the publishing landscape? What is missing?

Amazon is a massive search engine and the biggest e-book retailer in the U.S. This means that Amazon can push content to a very large audience, and doing well on Amazon can lead to financial stability. So authors should learn how to adapt their books and metadata to best fit Amazon’s algorithms.

But, Amazon is not the only retailer, and it’s not the largest retailer in every country. Apple, Nook, Google, Sony, Smashwords, and Kobo are just a few of the other companies that distribute e-books. Apple has a decent chunk of the market in South America and Kobo is huge in Canada.

Amazon also uses a proprietary format for its e-books. This keeps all its content “locked in” so readers can only see the books on Kindles or Kindle apps. For many people, this is not necessarily a problem. But for readers like me, who own a few different devices and like flexibility, it can be annoying.

Most self-publishers, at least those who write narratives and books that are mostly text, will not have to worry much about Amazon’s file format. It’s fairly easy to convert an epub, the open e-book standard that pretty much all other retailers and devices use, to Amazon’s format. But Amazon’s format has a few quirks to keep in mind, which can make special formatting look different on a Kindle compared to another reading device.

Q. What is your current opinion on the literary marketplace for sites like Scribd and Amazon? Are your seeing places that accommodate an author’s work?

I like that authors have so many options, and sites like Scribd and Amazon really help self-publishers fulfill their dreams. But I think there’s more that can be done to help. For example, I’m the founder of Write or Read, and one of our objectives is to give authors analytic insight on their books. This includes basic demographic information of their readers, what percentage of their work people finish, and how long people spend reading their books. All this information can help authors learn about their target audience and become more successful.

Q. What do you really enjoy about Scribd and what we offer to authors?

I really like the recommendations based on “Because you read…” as well as the library. And it’s great that anyone can embed a book; that helps authors with branding and marketing.

We ‘Declare There Is No Enjoyment Like Reading’

Today, was a good day for fans of literature.

This morning, the Bank of London announced that it was honoring Jane Austen with a place on the 10 note. Austen will replace naturalist (and author in his own regard), Charles Darwin sometime around 2017.

Austen famously captured, 18th century English life and society.

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[Photo Credit: AFP Photo/Bank of England]

 Personally, our favorite is the quote that will be etched into the note’s surface, “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”

Austen, one of the most-beloved writers in the lengthy pantheon of Britain, rose to literary prominence by her novels Emma and Sense and Sensibility. Her acerbic wit and wisdom provided a detailed look at the various stratification of life in 1800s English society. Austen is celebrated to this day with elaborate costume parties and this year also marks the 200th anniversary of the publishing of Pride and Prejudice.

According to the Bank of England, the note commemorates various aspects of the Hampshire native’s life including her writing table, a print of Austen commissioned by nephew James Edward Austen Leigh, and the quote taken from her eponymous novel.

Speaking of Austen – she also made an incredibly interesting literary list. Most of the books that are ranked, make the cut based on the judgement of academics, journalists or reviewers. Today, Maria Popova, internet curator extraordinaire, revealed the top books in literary history – but with a twist. These results were compiled from 125 authors (and edited by J. Peder Zane), who ranked the popularity of books they viewed as great, and ranked them accordingly. Emma was ranked the tenth most popular book in 19th century literature.

You can read Emma by Jane Austen by clicking here.

Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Rulings on Scribd

Today, mere blocks away from Scribd headquarters, the celebration was already beginning in the shadows of the beautifully gilded San Francisco City Hall.

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down two landmark rulings with major implications in the fight for equality among same-sex couples.

Just in time for the city’s 43rd annual Pride Celebration and parade this weekend, where the party has already received an early start.

The party began shortly after today's landmark Supreme Court rulings and soon, revelers were taking to the streets in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood. [Photo Credit: Lacy Atkins, The Chronicle]

The party began shortly after today’s landmark Supreme Court rulings and soon, revelers were taking to the streets in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. [Photo Credit: Lacy Atkins, The Chronicle]

As we fired up our Scribd account this morning, our reading feed was populated with users and publishers who uploaded decisions, opinions and rulings related to both of these cases from the likes of KQED, The Dallas Morning NewsWashington Post, and the Statesman Journal.

It’s clear to see that a wide variety of journalists and news organizations rely on Scribd to share their source material and often choose us as a platform to publish and widely-distribute source material that helps aid in their published work.

Below, you will find two of the major rulings regarding both of today’s decisions handed down in Washington D.C.

By 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8. Read the court’s decision from Hollingsworth v. Perry. In the decision, the court remanded the case back to the Ninth Circuit Court with instructions to dismiss the appeal.

Read the complete decision:

Also, by 5-4 vote, U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA allowing same-sex couples  federal benefits. The high court’s ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, the so-called “DOMA” case, found it unconstitutional on the basis of discrimination.

Read the ruling of U.S. v. Windsor:

The Art of the Query in an Ever-Changing Publishing Industry

Getting noticed in publishing is a fine and curious blend of self-marketing and a relentless worth ethic. Today, even with a proliferation of mobile devices and an explosion of publishing services, it is still incredibly difficult for an author to deliver their crafted pieces to a wide audience.

Publishing is forever changing thanks in part to an exploding marketplace of mobile devices. [Photo Credit:  Image (c) Herkie. Used under Creative Commons license.]

Publishing is forever changing thanks in part to an exploding marketplace of mobile devices. [Photo Credit: Image (c) Herkie. Used under Creative Commons license.]

There really is no greater challenge that having an author’s content get discovered. In some instances, that is how it has always been – but, with so many new tools at publisher’s fingertips, readers might assume this all comes much more easily.

Today, all the same challenges apply and more. Nothing will supplant the incredible work and the fine art of crafting a well-written story.

Back in May, we wrote an article on the blog about Scribd author, Mary Yuhas, who has contributed her works — including select chapters of her memoir, Quit and be Quiet, about her growing up with a mother who had mental illness.

Yuhas has been one of the Scribd success stories – she found tremendous value in the Scribd community. With millions of publishers, readers and users, the Scribd community is a vast place to discover writers on virtually any subject. By publishing content, the users are able to discover written works and publications, share them with their Scribd community and even share them with the rest of the major social networks. By commenting and annotating publications, the users actually are able to engage in an entirely new layer of discussion about a whole plethora of topics.

For Yuhas, she was able to parlay the large amount of reads that were accumulated by her publications and chapter excerpts, and show them to literary agents.

This week, Yuhas wrote a very worthwhile article about the fine art of the query. For authors and writers, the path to literary success begins and ends with the pitch. Some writers have to pitch countless times to many, many agents facing failure and rejection at every turn. Of course, there are the few standout cases of success and stardom, but for a majority of writers, a thick-skin and the ability to turn the page to a new literary agent is key.

At scribd, a lot of writers can get to immediately gain feedback and get their work exposed to thousands. That was the case for one writer, XX, who recently cracked into the New York Times Bestseller List

We extrapolated a few of the best parts of Mary’s interview two with two literary agents, Diana Fox and Harvey Klinger — about the finer aspects of the query as well as extremely informative facts about the ever-changing publishing marketplace amidst a constantly evolving technological landscape, and how these trends impact publishing houses and platforms.

The entire interview can be read here. Do you have additional thoughts? Leave them in the comments below or by tweeting to us via Scribd.

Q. There have been enormous changes in publishing in the last ten years. Much of that has come about because of the Internet and e-books.  What changes do you anticipate in the next five years?

Fox:  I think that we’re going to see changes not just in terms of delivery, but in terms of content. More enhanced e-books and more multimedia applications. As far as the industry, I think traditional publishing will ultimately adapt, but we’re also going to see more consolidation (such as the Random House and Penguin merger) and the continuing evolution of new business models like no advance and profit sharing approaches in place of the current royalty structure.

Klinger: The e-book has been the biggest change. I saw this coming five to eight years ago, and a lot of the traditional publishers were looking upon this with enormous fear and trepidation. But publishers are now giving reading devices to all of their editors, and the whole process of how an agent submits materials to publishers has completely changed. Looking to the future, I don’t see how we can operate with publishers other than the way we always have. We supply material, and they buy and publish. Writers who can’t get an agent or those who think they can do better by themselves and keep total control are the ones who are going to self-publish.

Q. How has the role of a literary agent changed during that same time frame, and what changes do you see for agents in the future?

Fox: I think the majority of agents are wearing a lot more hats than we did in the past in terms of things like editing and helping our authors with their promotional efforts and managing their self published projects − in addition to continuing to place their work with publishers, negotiate contracts, and sell subsidiary rights − and I expect this to continue in the future. We also have to maintain our own social media presence to some extent, and as always keep up with changes in the industry, which is more challenging now given that publishing is undergoing a transformation of a kind that I don’t think we’ve seen since the advent of the mass market paperback. But one thing I believe will always be the case is that publishers will need gatekeepers and authors will need representatives whose interests are solely aligned with theirs rather than those of the publisher, and that’s what I see as the essential role of the agent.

Klinger:  The biggest changes are that some agents are going into self-publishing for their clients. I don’t see that as a role I care to have. I don’t approve of agents getting into the publication of the book. I think that’s what publishers are supposed to do. I steer my clients to a reputable e-book publisher or leave it up to them up to them if I can’t find a brick and mortar mainstream house to buy their manuscript.

Q. Are publishing houses printing fewer books, and if that is a trend, do you expect this to continue?

Fox:  The print runs of books are largely determined by how many copies retailers order, which is calculated based on expected sales. So if consumers buy fewer print editions of books and retailers order fewer print editions, publishing houses will print fewer of them. We saw a decline in sales of print books as e-book sales grew, but if you look at the publicly available data from last year, it looks like the decline in print book sales is slowing down. I think e-books and print books are both here to stay and that we will ultimately reach a stable balance point between the two, but I couldn’t predict − and don’t know if anyone can predict with certainty − where exactly that point will be.

Klinger: Absolutely. E-books are so much more cost effective. There are no warehouse costs, and they don’t have to worry about returns, the bane of publishers. You can’t return an e-book. I think you are also going to see the demise of mass market paperback books other than categories like romance and impulse buys. But plenty of publishing professionals will fight it to the death.

Q. Everyone talks about platform today.  What are the best ways for a writer to build a platform?

Fox:  You need to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction when talking about platform. For nonfiction, there are a lot of resources out there which can answer this question better than I can here, and for fiction platform doesn’t have the same importance. If there’s something in an author’s background that’s relevant to their fiction − for instance, an autobiographical aspect like an unusual profession shared by the protagonist − I think that’s worth mentioning in the submission, but the most important thing is to write a good book. Agents do sometimes sign clients we find through personal referrals or meet at writing conferences, but for the most part I don’t pay attention to writing contests unless it’s a very prestigious contest or I happen to be judging it. The same is true both for writers posting free work online on Goodreads, Scribd, etc. and for self-published books, because I just don’t have time to go looking for that stuff. Unless it comes to my attention in an organic way (like a reviewer I trust recommending it or my coming across the author online on my own) or it hits the bestseller lists, it’s not really going to be on my radar. It’s all I can do to keep up with the amount of submissions I receive, and I think this is true for most agents. That’s why the best thing for a writer to do is to send me a query and follow my submission guidelines. If an author’s self-published work has sold well enough that I think a mainstream trade publisher might be interested, that will get my attention, but the best way for the author to reach me is still to query me.

Klinger: I think writing contests, such as Amazon’s, are good only if it’s a contest that gives the writer some national exposure. A self-published novel that had sales in the 10,000 range would make me sit up and think, I’ve got to look at this. For a writer to try and launch a campaign on a book that didn’t go anywhere as an e-book or POD and hope a publisher will pick it up is not going to happen. I don’t go to conferences anymore, and neither do any of my agents. I think that getting yourself out on the Internet is really where it’s at: virtual book clubs, cyber clubs and authors blogs. Not so much Twitter.

Government Makeover: Designer Reimagines, Revitalizes PRISM Deck

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Last week, the Washington Post and The Guardian broke news about government surveillance through the now-infamous PRISM program. Problem was, the National Security Agency slides were awful. Thankfully, a Scribd publisher improved them. Voila! Check out the newly designed NSA PRISM deck!

You can also read the entire new deck and see the older version embedded below:

The Week That Was on Scribd

Welcome to Friday. But, before we can get to the weekend, it’s time to relive the week that was.

Grab yourself a donut and enjoy the best Scribd had to offer.

Publishers We Discovered:

Milkweed Editions

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 4.44.09 PMMilkweed Editions is an independent book publisher. Our mission is to identify, nurture and publish transformative literature, and build an engaged community around it. As a nonprofit organization, Milkweed Editions depends on the generosity of institutions and individuals, in addition to revenue generated by sales of the books we publish. In an increasingly consolidated book business, this support allows us to select and publish books on the basis of their literary quality and potential.


Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 4.13.18 PMThe medical journal world is stuck in a 200-year-old medical paradigm. Scribd publisher, Cureus, is attempting to change that by eliminating procedures and political bias in their breakthrough medical and science reportage.


Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 4.57.08 PMActiv8Social is a creative digital agency that builds engaging fan experiences to foster loyalty. They publish really fantastic infographics about a variety of subjects.


Small Beer Press

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 4.25.20 PMSmall Beer Press is a publisher of fantasy and literary fiction, based in Northampton, Massachusetts. It was founded by Gavin Grant and Kelly Link in 2000 and publishes novels, collections, and anthologies.


What We Read This Week:

Move Fast. Break Things.
This California Coastal Commission report documents widespread and umpermitted development in a grove of redwoods in Big Sur, Calif., by Napster co-founder and early Facebook investor, Sean Parker. The development was related to his nuptials as Parker wed singer Alexandra Lenas in an elaborate $10 million ceremony complete with a set full of artificial ruins and rock walls reminiscent of a Hollywood Film. Parker has agreed to a $2.5 million settlement.


The Big Picture: Issue 20
Ahead of the print edition which will be available to pick up from outlets worldwide from the end of May, you can now download issue 20 of The Big Picture to enjoy on any manner of screenbased gizmo. The Summer 2013 issue’s theme is ‘Escape’ as we turn a searchlight on a varied selection of movies that all feature escapes – physical, emotional and spiritual – as their driving narrative force.

The Race Against History
May 4th marks the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby, but it also marks the 35th year since the last Triple Crown champion. When Affirmed won the crown in 1978, few people could have guessed how long we would have to wait for the next Triple Crown winner. While horses have come close in recent years, none have come close to replicating the winning form of Affirmed or Secretariat, perhaps the most famous horse of all time. Activ8Social takes a closer look at the Triple Crown with “A Race Against History”

Remembering D-Day
Never in history had two major military factions – the American and British, combined for such a massive mission. It was the largest full-scale amphibious assault in history comprised of aerial, nautical and land support. And thanks to some lucky breaks and bad weather, the invasion was a success at allowing troops to pour into France and deep into enemy territory.
This is one of our favorite selections from the curated collection of D-Day books we published yesterday.

A Look to the Week Ahead:

Next week, the annual WWDC rolls into San Francisco. For those of you attending, be sure to make the ten minute pilgrimage to Scribd HQ for our third annual WWDC party. There will be go-karts. Bungee runs. Beer. Booze. And lots of Scrazy shenanigans. You don’t want to miss out. For more information, click on the flyer and also be sure to rsvp on our Facebook page and share the awesomeness with your friends!

Honoring & Remembering the D-Day Anniversary

It’s one of the most penultimate moments in American military history.

Never in history had two major military factions – the American and British, combined for such a massive mission. It was the largest full-scale amphibious assault in history comprised of aerial, nautical and land support. And thanks to some lucky breaks and bad weather, the invasion was a success at allowing troops to pour into France and deep into enemy territory.

Sixty-nine years ago today, 160,000 troops landed ashore on a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified coastline of Normandy, France. Supported by more than 13,000 aircraft, paratroopers and 5,000 ships, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower famously delivered this inspiring message to American forces prior to their historic beach-landing:

“But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!”

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The harrowing, heroic and unimaginable scenes that transpired that day tilted the tide of the Allied forces in the European Theatre.

They’ve been immortalized in photographs and on celluloid for Hollywood and in countless documentaries and historical recreations.

We’ve curated an immense collection of the best books and documents that tell the many stories of the courageous soldiers who landed on the beaches and infiltrated France and Europe in the goals of eradicating Hitler’s tyranny. Here are some of our favorites:

Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation
Tom Brokaw first began to appreciate fully all we owed the World War II generation while he was covering the fortieth and fiftieth anniversaries of D-Day for NBC News. “When I wrote in The Greatest Generation about the men and women who came out of the Depression, who won great victories and made lasting sacrifices in World War II and then returned home to begin building the world we have today–the people I called the Greatest Generation –it was my way of saying thank you. I felt that this tribute was long overdue, but I was not prepared for the avalanche of letters and responses touched off by that book. Members of that generation were, characteristically, grateful for the attention and modest about their own lives as they shared more remarkable stories about their experiences in the Depression and during the war years. Their children and grandchildren were eager to share the lessons and insights they gained from the stories they heard about the lives of a generation now passing on too swiftly. They wanted to say thank you in their own way. I had wanted to write a book about America, and now America was writing back.”

D-Day With the Screaming Eagles
Gerald J. Higgins, major general, U.S. Army (ret.), from the ForewordIn the predawn darkness of D-Day, an elite fighting force struck the first blows against Hitler’s Fortress Europe. Braving a hail of enemy gunfire and mortars, bold invaders from the sky descended into the hedgerow country and swarmed the meadows of Normandy. Some would live, some would die, but all would fight with the guts and determination that made them the most famous U.S. Army division in World War II: the 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles.”George Koskimaki was part of the 101st Airborne’s daring parachute landing into occupied France that day. Now, drawing on more than five hundred firsthand accounts–including the never-before-published experiences of the trailblazing pathfinders and glider men–Koskimaki re-creates those critical hours in all their ferocity and terror. Told by those who ultimately prevailed–ordinary Americans who faced an extraordinary challenge–D-Day with the Screaming Eagles is the real history of that climactic struggle beyond the beachhead.

Flying Colt
The Diary and History 456TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP (HEAVY)15TH AIR Force ROBERT S. CAPPS, Colonel, USAF, RetiredThe famous “Battle of Britain” prevented the German invasion of England in 1940, because the Royal Air Force dominated skies over Britain. Nazi Germany was attempting to prevent the invasion of Europe (D-Day) by dominating skies over Europe, as the 456th Bomb Group arrived in Italy during January 1944. This was less than five months before the planned Allied invasion of Europe, ordered for early June, 1944. Germany dominated the skies!This book gives a detailed history how the 456th Bomb Group of B-24 Liberators helped gain air superiority in Europe, making D-Day possible, on time. During this great four month battle, the 456th Bombardment Group lost almost one-third of its aircraft.Written by Dr. Robert Capps a Group pilot during this period.

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies
In his celebrated bestsellers Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat, Ben Macintyre told the dazzling true stories of a remarkable WWII double agent and of how the Allies employed a corpse to fool the Nazis and assure a decisive victory. In Double Cross, Macintyre returns with the untold story of the grand final deception of the war and of the extraordinary spies who achieved it. On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and suffered an astonishingly low rate of casualties. D-Day was a stunning military accomplishment, but it was also a masterpiece of trickery. Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialized in turning German spies into double agents, deceived the Nazis into believing that the Allies would attack at Calais and Norway rather than Normandy. It was the most sophisticated and successful deception operation ever carried out, ensuring that Hitler kept an entire army awaiting a fake invasion, saving thousands of lives, and securing an Allied victory at the most critical juncture in the war. The story of D-Day has been told from the point of view of the soldiers who fought in it, the tacticians who planned it, and the generals who led it. But this epic event in world history has never before been told from the perspectives of the key individuals in the Double Cross System. These include its director (a brilliant, urbane intelligence officer), a colorful assortment of MI5 handlers (as well as their counterparts in Nazi intelligence), and the five spies who formed Double Cross’s nucleus: a dashing Serbian playboy, a Polish fighter-pilot, a bisexual Peruvian party girl, a deeply eccentric Spaniard with a diploma in chicken farming and a volatile Frenchwoman, whose obsessive love for her pet dog very nearly wrecked the entire plan. The D-Day spies were, without question, one of the oddest military units ever assembled, and their success depended on the delicate, dubious relationship between spy and spymaster, both German and British. Their enterprise was saved from catastrophe by a shadowy sixth spy whose heroic sacrifice is revealed here for the first time. With the same depth of research, eye for the absurd and masterful storytelling that have made Ben Macintyre an international bestseller, Double Cross is a captivating narrative of the spies who wove a web so intricate it ensnared Hitler’s army and carried thousands of D-Day troops across the Channel in safety.

Tales From the Front Line: D – Day
This is the chronicle of the build-up and aftermath of the most decisive battle of World War II, told through the tales of the participants who recorded their experiences in letters or diaries, or recounted them after the event. Part of a new series featuring fascinating insights into the greatest conflicts in history. Jonathan Bastable has skillfully woven disparate tales from generals and frontline soldiers, statesmen and civilians, into a compelling narrative of one of the key events in the twentieth century.