French Newspapers Get Together to Sell Digital Reader

using digital reader photo

Paula Kupfer for the International Herald Tribune

Newspaper sales are dropping all over the world as people migrate to electronic sources; in North America they all let Craigslist eat their lunch with free classifieds, and it seems that young people have completely abandoned them. They certainly are not the most environmentally benign way of delivering news, either.

In France, the newspaper companies aren't waiting for iPhones and computers to kill their business; they are working together to introduce the Read & Go, which will let subscribers download the contents of participating papers onto "the most convincing electronic facsimile of ordinary paper in existence." The Kindle delivers papers in America, but the French system is advertiser supported.

Paul-François Fournier of France Telecom says that "the Read & Go editions of the papers would be different from online, print and mobile editions, while borrowing elements from all three. The articles resemble the print versions, for instance, but instead of appearing once a day on the newsstand, they are downloaded and updated automatically, over the cellular network. The advertisements, meanwhile, resemble print display ads but have some of the interactive qualities of online ads, allowing readers to click on them for more information about a product being advertised." ::International Herald Tribune

One might ask why such a device is needed when one can read the paper online or on a cellphone, particularly as cellphone screens all start imitating the iPhone and get big enough to read on. However, in Europe a much higher percentage of the population commutes by transit, where most people read their papers and where it is pretty hard to read a laptop.

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