At Editis, one of France’s leading publishers, Virginia Clayssen oversees digital development. In an interview with CCC’s Chris Kenneally, she accounts for why France has not yet had its ebook moment, but is about to this year. “We didn’t have in France the Kindle effect, because connected e-readers are just arriving in France. We have one now, but it’s very new.”Also on the Google Book Settlement:
Sweeping broadly across the digital landscape, Clayssen also comments on why controlling e-book prices matters to French publishers; on the importance of copyright and reasons for French rejection of the pending Google Book Settlement; and on sustaining French literary life in the digital age.
Q. Well that raises inevitably the Google book settlement with which the French government and French publishers became actively involved. And of course it’s all still up in the air right now, sitting on the desk of Judge Chin here in New York City, and we’ll have to wait for him to tell us what he thinks.
But tell us, in summary, what the French publishing community’s reaction was to the proposed settlement.
A: French publishers rejected this settlement for several reasons. One reason is they were not happy with Google digitizing content without permission of right owners. A second reason is to think it’s maybe it’s not a very good thing to have a global library completely controlled by a private company, even if we love this company and we have nothing against Google, but in the principle. Maybe this big, big project to make out-of-print books available for the public has to be managed by public institutions and not by a private company.
There is a real risk of monopoly on orphan works, though we are very sensitive about these questions and we have now a project with French government to build a solution for to make available out-of-print French works, and it’s a big project, and we are hard working on it to do this in the next years.