Thousands of French-language ebooks, audio books, magazines and comics are available online or via a mobile app at an affordable price. This is what YouScribe offers to the French-speaking community around the world, especially to populations who may not have access to reading material.
Can you say that YouScribe to reading is what Deezer is to music?
Juan Pirlot de Corbion : This is a good comparison because YouScribe (opens in a new window) is a 100% digital streaming library that works on all devices: computers, tablets and smartphones. With more than a million titles divided into five main categories (books, audio books, newspapers, comics and educational documents) it is the world’s largest French-language digital library. It also addresses the lack of physical reading material due to distribution networks or cost, especially in countries across Africa. Under the “YouScribe by Orange” label, we offer an innovative daily (€0.14/day) or weekly (€0.80/week) subscription model with a mobile payment facility as well as annual subscriptions for the B2B market (businesses, schools etc). We’re present in four countries in Africa. We also enable authors and publishers to contribute content via YouScribe as we believe any publication has a readership, especially in countries where traditional publishing is poorly developed due to the lack of a distribution network. We donate a large proportion of our revenue to publishers or authors.
Why did you allow free access during the lockdown?
Juan Pirlot de Corbion : We took the initiative in partnership with Orange’s subsidiaries in Senegal and Burkina Faso to support the Group’s solidarity actions regarding partners and customers. We wanted to find a simple solution to ensure educational continuity at home during the lockdown. We have recorded a very strong increase in use. The aim is for each mobile to become a pocket library for learning or entertainment anywhere and at any time, even without internet connectivity.
Do you think this crisis will change your relationships with partners and users?
Juan Pirlot de Corbion : The transition to digital is not yet as strong in terms of reading as for music or news. However, the crisis has increased awareness. Among readers, of course, but also among publishers who have discovered a new and previously unidentified mode of distribution to address the lockdown and fact that many bookshops were closed. Many African and French publishers have contacted us, requesting to be included in the catalogue.
What future developments do you envisage?
Juan Pirlot de Corbion : An organic development: the more publishers out there, the richer the library and the more readers we’ll attract. We’re targeting a million subscribers by the end of 2020. Then, with support from Orange Content, Orange subsidiaries in African countries and Digital Virgo (payment solution), we’ll offer the “YouScribe by Orange” solution in new countries including Mali, Congo and Guinea by the end of 2020.
YouScribe and Orange, a partnership promoting education and reading
“We are already associated with the Orange Prize for Fiction in Africa run by the Orange Foundation, which is awarded to an African author each year. More recently, Orange Money offered 10,000 YouScribe access codes to customers from the African diaspora to benefit families and schools in their home country. A start-up like ours needs good partners: Orange plays an important role as an accelerator for YouScribe. We’re delighted and honoured.”