France’s Vivlio Launches a New Ebook Service

Not unlike the ‘Storytel Originals’ effort to create new audiobook content in some markets, France’s Vivlio is starting a ‘Stories’ platform.

Image: Vivlio stories

By Jarosław Adamowksi | @JaroslawAdamows

Looking To Expand Its International Reach

One year after purchasing ebook streaming platform Doors, French ebook platform and e-reader seller Vivlio is launching Vivlio Stories, a new ebook streaming app. The platform currently comprises 200 works, and Vivlio plans to add new series every week, focusing on young readers who read on their mobile devices.

In a statement, Vivlio cites data indicating that one in five French citizens aged 15 to 24 have told survey takers that they don’t read at all. The company’s intention, it says, is to “make reading accessible to everyone, everywhere, and all the time.”

Vivlio positions itself as “the best ecosystem for reading and buying ebooks,” another of its marketing slogans being “for book lovers, by book lovers.” Its key offers are “a range of e-ink e-readers,” a digital library “that synchronizes your ebook purchases and reading positions,” and “a mobile application for tablets and smartphones.”

Its site, in fact, makes a targeted appeal to readers, referring to its offer as representative of a “European way of e-reading.” It appears that this is an outreach based on three considerations that the companies see as appealing to a European mindset or perhaps allaying some common concerns about the format in some European book markets (Vivlio’s site offers French, English, Dutch, and Spanish).

A level of corporate stability is implied in the mention of Vivlio having been in business for 10 years; climate-crisis responsibility in packaging for sustainability; and “the French touch” which, it turns out, means “an e-library entirely created and developed in Lyon and an exclusive distribution of our products in the major French and European cultural stores.”

Julien Simon, the editorial director of Vivlio, tells Publishing Perspectives that the company’s acquisition of Doors marked the initial step in the creation of Vivlio Stories.

“First,” Simon says, “by acquiring a pre-existing catalogue which allows us to already offer numerous works to the app’s users, then by integrating certain members of the Doors editorial team with Vivlio to internalize the capacity to produce new works, to select them, to create editorial processes, but also to ensure a continuity with the authors who are already present in the catalogue.”

The Vivlio Stories app, he says, was “coded from scratch” because the Doors app was developed in a way that would make it hard to integrate Vivlio Stories.

Developing the ‘Stories’ Portfolio

While in some markets, e-reading (like audiobook listening) has mostly moved beyond dedicated e-reading devices such as smartphones, the Vivlio line of e-readers features four models, this one the Vivlio Color 6-inch-display model. Image: Vivlio

Asked about the genres in which Vivlio Stories will be written, Simon says that in addition to genres represented on the platform, works offered for streaming in the Stories initiative are “original creations which have been specifically written by their authors in the form of a literary series … in which each chapter makes readers want to read the next one.

“The Vivlio Stories catalogue offers romance as well as thrillers,” he says, “fantasy, comedy, drama, historical novels, and even westerns. You’ll also find nonfiction and investigative journalism. As for the authors, they come from all backgrounds: we publish both young authors for whom this is the first publication and seasoned authors, such as Sophie Jomain or Michael Roch, who have done us the honor of entrusting us with their works.”

The service is available for mobile users only, and priced at €3.99 (US$4.28) per month, and the new platform—with plans for international expansion, Simon says—wants to increase its foothold in other European markets through partnerships with local book-industry players such as established publishers.

“It’s logical that we should think about expanding Vivlio Stories to other countries,” he says. “Vivlio’s appeal lies also and above all in its ability to forge alliances with book industry stakeholders. Vivlio’s strategy has always been to create these synergies and take advantage of each other’s strengths.”

Despite Vivlio’s focus on consumers, the Stories platform opens as the United States-based National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is going forward. This crowd-buoyed program is primarily geared to aspirational amateurs (although some professional writers use it to jump-start a manuscript), who work to produce as much of a manuscript as possible in 30 days.

The Vivlio team says that they’re keeping an eye on the output from NaNoWriMo this month in case something from “talents of tomorrow” is spotted.

Image: Vivlio Stories

More from Publishing Perspectives on the French market is here, more on ebooks is here, and more on digital publishing is here.

About the Author

Jaroslaw Adamowski

Jaroslaw Adamowski is a freelance writer based in Warsaw, Poland. He has written for the Guardian, the Independent, the Jerusalem Post, and the Prague Post.

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Not unlike the ‘Storytel Originals’ effort to create new audiobook content in some markets, Fra…