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.
It's an interesting idea but it's already pockmarked with seemingly unimportant documents and images. I think it's a great idea in concept but without moderation it's poorly executed. There are already a few clearly illegal documents and copyrighted works even entire novels. However, given time, I think Scribd could be something useful.
What's neat is that Scribd is kinda like Youtube for documents in that each document is it's own file and they're converted into flash so viewing them is 99% possible by everyone since Flash is pretty much ubiquitous. Plus they allow embedding, direct URL links and downloading of documents in several different formats.
One thing I'm not sure about is if you can keep some documents private. I'm not sure how that would fit into their revenue plan and it's not mentioned in their FAQ but if you could keep documents private then Scribd would be even more useful to small companies and individuals to an extent.
If you have a book in print, you can upload an excerpt (or even the whole thing!) to Scribd as a promotion.
Really, it's a place to host your documents for free and view them in any web browser. I like that idea. Since we talk about writing fiction here, here is a link to files tagged with "Novel" at Scribd. And here are the collected works of Poe which is of questionable legality I'm sure.
This is a fun one I found on there.