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How to Loan an E-Book to Twenty-Nine Friends


Classic story of David and Goliath. The small French company ePagine has developed new tools that allow 1,113 French bookstores to sell digital books through their own site or through a marketplace. The big find comes from the fact that the chosen digital book protection solution – called DRM Readium LCP and managed by EDR Lab, a European non-profit organization – offers a non-proprietary, open, interoperable system. Unlike the proprietary systems used by Amazon, which only allows e-books to be read on Kindle, its own e-reader, or that of Fnac and its Kobo e-reader. Today, Kindle and Kobo handily dominate the e-reader market.

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From now on, with this option, the buyer of an electronic book – who today benefits from an offer of 562,000 titles offered by all French publishers – can choose between different media. The first study conducted in 2022 among the 3,400 users who used this DRM thus shows that they chose as a reading tool, a Kindle and Kobo reader (nearly 36%), a PC computer (nearly 34% ) and their mobile phone (nearly 30%). A real change, the sharing of books is possible since each electronic book can be activated up to thirty times, which makes it possible to read on different media or to have the purchased book read to friends or family members by giving them the passphrase that serves as the password.

Law void

This first test allows the passage to test the springs of the human soul. Of the 3,400 users, only two broke the rules of the game and pirated a book by making it available to everyone, free of charge, on a peer-to-peer site. This is the tween novel Dual 6, by Emmanuel Trédez (Didier Jeunesse, 2019, 9.99 euros in digital price), and one of the volumes of the comic strip The Children of the Resistance, by Vincent Dugomier (Lombard, 5.99 euros in digital price).

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“Our goal is to make the sale of electronic books in bookstores credible, with an easy-to-use system for the bookseller and the reader”explains François Boujard, co-founder and CEO of ePagine. “Sales of all bookstores on our platform have exploded during the pandemic period to reach 471,746 copies in 2021”, he explains. More than 86,000 customers spent an average of 10 euros per e-book. Year-to-date, the top sellers this year went to The Alaska Sanders Affair, by Joël Dicker (Rosie & Wolfe, March 2022, 16.99 euros per digital book), with 485 copies, and at common future, by Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Seuil, 2021, 6.99 euros per digital book), with 429 copies.

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