Google is to launch a French ebookstore as part of its new Google Play entertainment portal. This will be the first time Google Books has moved into a non-English-speaking country, with the exception of a controversial book-scanning program.
The French ebookstore is a significant move because France has traditionally been a somewhat difficult market to crack for international ebook retailers. Amazon has its own French bookstore, which has been doing pretty well by all accounts, but it’s clear that Google is trying to position itself as a global ebook player rather than simply being limited to the English language.
Whether Google’s program catches on in France is something that remains to be seen. But perhaps we have to get used to the idea that not all newly-launched services have to be huge, blockbuster-style successes. If Google Play’s French ebookstore can quietly get on with the job of attracting customers and driving innovation, that might be reward enough.