When the German ebook coalition Tolino formed earlier this month it looked like a desperate move by 5 also-rans who couldn't see any other way to compete against Amazon. But now that a similar partnership has been announced in France, I think we could be seeing a trend.
Numilog and ePagine, 2 of the leading ebook distributors in France, have just announced that they will be forming a new partnership.
Unlike Tolino, they're not combining their 2 independent ebook platforms into a single platform (or at least that's not what the press release suggests). Instead ePagine and Numilog will be offering each of their customers the ability to store their ebook purchases in a new digital locker. This would combine ebooks bought from any of the ebookstores supported by ePagine or Numilog and let readers access and manage their library from a single location.
The specific details (like how this will work) are still sketchy, but more will be revealed at the Salon du Livre next week. This book fair opens next Friday, and ePagine will be promoting the new digital locker in their booth.
I've been wanting a single place to keep my ebooks ever since I started buying them. In fact, the first reason I had for removing DRM was to collect my ebooks in a single location in a single file type (which could then be transferred to all my ereaders). And now someone is offering a commercial solution. Well, two solutions; Tolino was the first.
It's a pity that all parties could not have combined their efforts into a single platform that spanned both countries. It's certainly not out of the question; this digital locker idea of Numilog and ePagine is made possible by the fact that both platforms are based on Epub encumbered with the Adobe Adept DRM. Tolino uses the same DRM, so there was little to prevent a larger coalition.
And no, I am not wrong in saying that this is a move to counter Amazon. No one really wants to have their ebooks locked down in a half dozen locations, tended to discourage ebook buyers from supporting smaller stores. At best they would shop in one, or maybe two, but even that would make managing an ebook library difficult. But now that Numilog and ePagine are supporting a digital locker, ebook buyers will hopefully find buying from one of the dozens of smaller ebookstores more appealing.