67 thoughts on “Scribd's iPaper Plan”

  1. I believe that Adobe did attempt to do this. They call it Flash Paper. It was no where near as successful as they had hoped. I am not sure that they ever got to the “streaming” part but I believe flash itself has streaming content capabilities when combined with the Flash Media Server.

  2. Gave it a shot based on the recommendation, but looks like it isn’t up and running yet – error message said the embed code they gave me was the “old” version.

    Looks promising though!

  3. [I wonder why Adobe didn’t develop an iPaper viewer of its own. I guess they didn’t learn the lessons of online video.]

    Check out Adobe Share. It’s a web-based application written in AIR that has similar functionality.

  4. PS. you do not need AIR to use this, and its a simple online tool to share and store different types of media including:

    Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007 formats, Rich Text Format (RTF), Open Office formats, text, and PDF.
    • HTML
    • Adobe supported image formats: GIF, JPEG, BMP, PNG
    • Creative Suite file formats
    • SWF and Captivate formats
    • ZIP

  5. “There is no way for Google to advertise against non-HTML documents such as PDF format files.”

    Them’s fighting words Om.

  6. “If the tiny startup can replicate the popularity of YouTube…”

    Somehow I don’t see people getting quite as excited about online documents as they would online videos. Kinda like saying a library should be just as popular as a movie theater on Friday night. I can see great advantages in a business environment, but not much for the general consumer market.

  7. Just a purely mechanical observation:

    I just went and looked at Scribd and found a document of interest. When I went to blog it there was no simple way to copy the paragraph that demonstrated its importance so I could paste it into my blog.

    You CAN embed the entire document and you CAN download the document for further use, and those are valuable features, but without the ability to copy/paste right off the display this will be a richly frustrating experience for bloggers, who will find a trove to explore and a multi-step not quite thought through process they must traverse every time they share.

    just my 2Cents… very close guys. Very close.

  8. Adobe currently partners with Yahoo! to deliver advertising-supported PDFs.


    FlashPaper is a desktop application/convertor, and developers were always curious if Scribd received server-side licensing for the commercial convertor or simply applied a hack. The launch of iPaper solves the licensing issue for Scribd and may have been a required step for the company.

  9. looks great, altho i’m not clear on what’s all that different about iPaper from the original Macromedia Flashpaper i first took a look at about 4 years ago (which i thought was awesome way back then). why Adobe couldn’t be doing this too, except for perhaps Acrobt / PDF corporate fiefdoms at risk? can someone elucidate further?

    anyway, it’s an interesting product regardless… and Scribd looks like a winner.

    along with Scribd, i’m very impressed with SlideShare.net. they’re doing something similar, altho a bit more on the professional side for presentations & powerepoints. if Scribd is YouTube, then maybe SlideShare is Flickr. actually i might say Scribd’s audience is Facebook; SlideShare’s audience is LinkedIn.

    (full disclosure: recently became an investor/advisor in SlideShare, however i’ve been using it fanatically for over a year…)

  10. @ Dave

    Dude i think the search, flipping through pages, different views and smaller foot print are some of the key differences. I think Adobe should have done this a long time ago, but they didn’t and that is precisely the problem most incumbents have – fiefdoms as you said yourself.

  11. actually now that i think about it i think it’s EXACTLY the Acrobat fiefdoms at risk.

    * Macromedia comes out with FlashPaper, great Acrobat competitor that doesn’t require huge-ass download every time (Flash is on 98% of browsers)
    * Adobe buys Macromedia, realizes it doesn’t need 2 technologies, quietly asphyxiates FlashPaper before people realize how much better it is
    * Scribd takes a look, realizes it can rebuild FlashPaper as iPaper and kick Adobe’s Acrobat ass with Macromedia’s old product
    * Scribd adds some monetization features for $$$ & differentiation

    fucking brilliant. why didn’t i think of that?


  12. Adobe’s PDF is capable of streaming since probably version 4.0. However, applications that create PDFs (including Acrobat) will not always enable the “Fast Web View” or the user neglects to “optimize” the file.

    In addition, the web application serving the PDF file to the browser must also be “streaming” enabled — which is fortunately the case with almost all of the modern web platforms.

    It is nice to see a tightly coupled (server + client) application where streaming is natural and not a user option.

  13. to get youtube-class buzz virality would would almost certainly involve massive copyright infringement across a far wider range of publishers, with a clear financial model (ads) for them to attack. awesome.

  14. Scribd needs to get their copyright and licensing straight before they are going to go anywhere. (Flickr is a great model.) Everything on Scribd is licensed using a CC-BY-NC license, even though at no point does the user agree to this license. Scribd seems to be willfully ignorant in regard to copyright and licensing. Their video promoting ipaper uses several documents (supposedly licensed under the CC-BY-NC license) without attribution and for the commercial purpose of promoting their service.

    Legally, if the license doesn’t hold up, then no one can reuse, redistribute, or even embed documents on Scribd. This seems to be quite a problem for their advertising model.

  15. You can share and display any document (more than 200 document types) in your own blog or on any website where you can add html code. Simply copy paste the embed code from Docuter into your blog or web page and give a unique viewing experience to your users.
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