Bertelsmann has struck its second agreement in as many months with Audible Inc. to support the launch of Audible's service overseas. In a deal announced in late September, Bertelsmann, through its French book club, France Loisirs, will back the creation of www.audible.fr. The new service, set to begin December 15, will provide digital downloads of French content as well as offering English language content from audible.com. France Loisirs will market the service to its book club members, although nonmembers can also access the service.
Unlike its joint venture in Germany, in which Bertelsmann and Holtzbrinck each invested $1.5 million, Bertelsmann is not providing funding for audible.fr, but is providing marketing and distribution through its clubs. "The cooperation with Audible.com is a promising step of the club business into the universe of digital distribution of spoken words and texts," said Ewald Walgenbach, CEO of Bertelsmann's direct group.