Hachette prepares for Sony French launch

<p>Hachette Livre is to acquire French digital book distributor Numilog. The move is designed to prepare Hachette Livre for the launch in France of the Sony digital e-book at the end of this year.</p><p>Hachette said that it would enable it to distribute books published by its own imprints as well as by third-party publishers in a variety of digital formats.</p><p>Numilog, which was founded in 2000 by Danis Zwirn, currently offers 43,000 titles in all formats, most of them professional, and will digitise several million more general public titles over the year.</p><p>Numilog has not grown as fast as expected initially, because digital books have not yet made much inroad into the French market. That will not change massively for at least two generations, according to Hachette Livre CEO Arnaud Nourry. He predicted that digital books would represent between 1% and 5% of the general public market within five years. The Numilog books will be priced 10% to 20% lower than their paper versions.</p><p>The takeover is an important step in the group&#39;s digital strategy. &quot;Numilog&#39;s know-how will be an important asset for Hachet Livre with respect to key links of the digital value chain--conversion, storage, protection, distribution and billing,&quot; Nourry said.</p><p>Zwirn will continue to run Numilog.</p>