By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Eighty-Eight Publishers Represented in OfferingThe “diversity and richness of French and Francophone literature” is reflected, says François-Xavier Schmit, in the major new expansion of ebooks he is offering at Albertine.
The bookshop and reading room at 972 Fifth Avenue positions itself as New York’s only French bookshop, and has brought books from some of France’s best-known publishing houses into its huge new catalog of ebooks. A total 88 French publishers are represented in the collection, including Actes Sud, Minuit, Flammarion, and Gallimard.
The surprise for many may be some of the titles that have not been available in the US market before now in French.
For example, a quick search for the expected Kindle edition of Albert Camus’ iconic l’Etranger, gets you only, “This title is not currently available for purchase” on the Amazon.com site.
The situation appears to be similar for Patrick Modiano’s Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier and for Mathias Enard’s Boussole.
Schmit likes to stress the community aspects of his store’s standing in New York. In a prepared statement, he says:
“French authors speak at numerous festivals and literary events across the United States. Albertine’s mission and that of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy is to support authors as much as possible in these endeavors, most notably by providing a platform to sell and share their works with the public.”
One of the more innovative efforts of Albertine’s outreach program is its “French Corners” scheme that sees a selection of physical books in French offered at independent bookstores around the country. Each of these “Corners” has a basket of 75 French titles chosen by the Albertine staff in collaboration with the French Embassy’s Cultural Services offices.