The French internet portal for independent booksellers, 1011libraires.com, will finally be launched on 4th April after several months of delay due to technical difficulties.
Initially, 300 outlets will be hooked up to the site to sell up to 300,000 physical and electronic books. The aim is to increase the number of booksellers taking part to 800 by 2014 and to 1,300 by 2018, and to make one million titles available.
Shareholders in PL2I, the company created to run the portal, comprise 34 booksellers, two bookseller associations and the ADELC, which is financed by publishers and other bodies to promote independent bookshop development. The government's National Book Centre has also contributed revenue.
Target sales through the portal are €10m, or 4% of the online market for print books, within three years, said PL2I president Gilles de la Porte. This is in line with booksellers’ 40% share of the book market, he added.
Booksellers, whose subscriptions will vary according to their turnover, can integrate their websites into the portal, or use it to create new ones. As well as serving as a sales platform for all available e-book titles in France, 1001libraires will deliver physical books to the door or find nearby bookshops where customers can pick up their orders within two hours. It will also offer reader advice.
Although some large independent booksellers in France have developed their own online sales services, the site has been set up to enable those which cannot afford the investment. When e-books expand to 10% or 20% of total book sales, it would be dangerous for booksellers to remain outside the market and for digital content to be deprived of bookseller expertise, added de la Porte.