French indies launch book portal

<p>Seven independent booksellers with nine outlets between them in eastern Paris have launched France&rsquo;s first collective portal for selling new books. The website was launched last night and began operating at 10 am this morning (10th March).<br />&nbsp;<br />Although the French Booksellers Association (Syndicat de la Librairie Fran&ccedil;aise, SLF) is working on a nationwide portal, this will not be launched before next January, according to Renny Aupetit, president of the joint venture, Librest.com, and owner of Le Comptoir de Mots in the 20th arrondissement.<br /><br />&quot;We didn&rsquo;t want to wait,&quot; he told The Bookseller. &quot;I launched the idea of a portal at the SLF four years ago when I was a member of the board, but the project is taking a long time because it is difficult for 300 or 400 booksellers to reach agreement.&quot; <br /><br />Librest will join the national portal when the time comes, but will preserve its own method of working, Aupetit said. Ordered books can be picked up at any of the nine shops or can be delivered for &euro;8 by bicycle within three hours anywhere in Paris or in the adjacent eastern suburb of Vincennes, where two of the shops are located.<br /><br />&quot;Our idea is not to become online booksellers, but to provide an extra service for our customers. If we acquire new ones along the way, so much the better,&quot; said Aupetit. Librest stocks 120,000 titles through its stores and the wholesaler it acquired last summer, and can obtain the rest through the trade&rsquo;s databases. &quot;It was not complicated to work out the rules for the sharing the proceeds of sales, whether cash or credit card,&quot; he added.</p>