While showing one of my French speaking friends my wonderful new Kindle and asking if he had one, he gave me a surly reply. Merde! I’d love one but there aren’t any ebooks in French. And he’s right. Mais pourquoi?
It may come as a surprise, but Kindle has yet t to take over the entire literary world. A quick glance at Amazon.fr, the Amazon store in France, will hit you in the eye with what is obviously missing. No Kindle, no ebooks, not a single mention whatsoever. So while every other Amazon store around the world is plugging the revolutionary wonders of the Kindle and ebook reading to marketing death, the French still make do with paper, completely unaware that a revolution is going on. Now that is not French at all to miss a good revolution, so what’s up?
Well, there was a bit of noise earlier this year about Amazon in France looking to hire staff for the upcoming Kindle uprising, but since then, rien du tout! Nothing. Not even a hint. Has it been guillotined?
As with many things Amazon, and even more things French, the answer is ‘who the hell knows?’ Perhaps there’s been a literary dispute and l’académie française has got it’s accented knickers in an electronic knot. Or more likely, they are trying to decide on the new official French words for Kindle and ebooks before Amazon can release the Kindle in France. Now don’t laugh, I’m serious. It took years and years for l’académie française to come to grips with email. After a long process, ‘courrier électronique’ was chosen as the official French word for email. No one uses it of course, but well, that’s the way it is with the French language. There has to be an ‘official’ word.
So if this is the reason for the hold up, maybe I can offer a few suggestions to get the Kindle ball rolling in France and put my friend out of his envious technological state.
May I suggest instead of Kindle, ‘mon petit livre sur un écran’ which means my little book on a screen. Or, ‘Merde! c’est un livre’, Shit, it’s a book! Or, ‘Ce n’est pas un livre!’ It’s not a book! I really think this last one has what it takes to gain literary traction in France. And for ebook? ‘Again, Ce n’est pas un livre!’ That should kill two birds with one stone.