New French E-book Firm,, Formed
Herbert R. Lottman -- 11/27/00

French former print publisher François Bourin has entered the e-book arena with, which launches with not one but two business models. First, a totally free vanity press, publishing in all areas--fiction as well as nonfiction, scientific, technical or practical subjects--that is an electronics-only delivery system that readers can download without charge. This is coupled with a more conventional paying model where the texts--as eclectic as the free ones--are vetted by Olympio's editorial team; viewers can sample some pages and read a table of contents, but there is a charge for downloading.

Bourin, formerly publisher of his own Paris general imprint and later editorial director of Flammarion, enters the e-book world with a professional staff including Claire Touchard, previously director of Microsoft Press France, and Catherine Blanchard, formerly publishing director of trade imprint Olivier Orban. Bourin told Livres Hebdo's Christine Ferrand he plans to sign up authors with a 10-year electronics-only contract and 15% royalty. The fee for downloading will be under $5 (representing only 25%- 30% of the list price of an average print book). Bourin expects to break even in 2003.