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docstoc-logoDocStoc, a service that helps you share documents (such as templates for contracts and legal agreements), has been experimenting with ways to help users make money from those documents, such as advertising. Today it’s taking the logical next step: The company is opening a DocStore where documents can be bought and sold.

It’s tempting to see this move by DocStoc to copy competitor Scribd — both companies offer ways to upload documents, so you can share them without forcing readers to download large files, and Scribd opened an eBook store in May. But chief executive Jason Nazar says the stores serve very different purposes, and his claim is backed up by the content highlighted on each site.

When Scribd launched, its big-name partner was Tamim Ansary, author of the bestselling nonfiction book West of Kabul, East of New York, who sold copies of his first novel in the store. DocStoc, meanwhile, has partnered with 12 companies such as Real Deal Docs and Spreadsheet Zone, and the screenshots Nazar sent are of a “terms of lease” legal document. In other words, Scribd is trying to provide an alternative to Amazon.com, whereas DocStoc is focused (as it always has been) on professional documents.

“Scribd is trying to be the world biggest book club,” Nazar says. “We have selectively partnered with top tier brands who provided the best quality professional content.”

With the store, Nazar says DocStoc is becoming the iTunes of documents — i.e., the central marketplace to find what you need. Free documents will still be an important part of that, of course. The Los Angeles company says it hosts millions of free documents in addition to the thousands that you can now pay for. DocStoc also says it’s getting 8 million unique visitors per month, up 150 percent from the beginning of the year.

The company has raised $4 million to date from Rustic Canyon Partners, Crosscut Ventures, and individual investors.



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