Nordic news publisher Schibsted buying in to ebook service Riidr

Why would a newspaper publisher want to own a book distributor? Same reason it wants to operate a music subscription firm: to get back in to the direct user-payments content game.

Scandinavian’s Schibsted is following its spring acquisition of the Aspiro music service by purchasing 10 percent of Danish ebooks service Riidr, ArcticStartup reports.

Kobo-like platform Riidr is a service for reading .epub and watermarked ebooks through a simple web interface or through iOS and Android apps. So far, its titles are only Danish and Swedish. Riidr also lets readers move those titles over to Kindles, thereby growing the Scandinavian repertoire on Amazon’s device.

Aftenposten newspaper publisher Schibsted is one of the largest news and magazine publishers in Europe and Scandinavia and is diversifying from newspapers with this investment.

Schibsted CEO Rolv Erik Ryssdal wrote last month that the company has gathered its news content, classified and other payment efforts, started at its Fædrelandsvennen title, up together with others from its digital portfolio into a groupwide program it’s calling Schibsted Payment:

“[The aim is] to facilitate simple payment solutions for all of our companies’ customers, for buying everything from second-hand bikes on to quality content in our newspapers.”

“We must lead the way in finding new quality content and new sources of revenue. We must derive most of our revenues from digital courses.”

Riidr and Aspiro are two ways Schibsted may get to build competency in this area.

Riidr tells ArcticStartup newspapers may get to offer its ebooks through their web pages.