Star Tech

The Joy of Reading, by 

“Before the web existed, we worked a lot in schools and were motivated to offer content in digital form, specifically francophone and Quebecois content, because what existed at the time was mainly in English. Today, we have several anglophone partners, but we have nevertheless realized that our great strength lies in multilingual content, since other territories and languages share our concerns.”

Marc Boutet, President, CEO – De Marque

With their integrated offering for digital distribution, including services such as marketing and quick access to an online store, De Marque enables publishers to distribute and sell their content to a variety of audiences locally, nationally and internationally. Producers of digital books and web content can do business directly with retailers such as Renaud-Bray and Amazon, or take advantage of the De Marque network, which simultaneously reaches 2,300 points of sale and 2,000 libraries.

Since 1990, the company has contributed to cultural development by promoting reading and encouraging the sharing of digital content both at home and abroad. Their contribution has been recognized with several awards, including, most notably, two OCTAS from Réseau Action TI: one in the IT category for the cultural, educational or media sectors, and an OCTAS de l’Excellence for the best IT project developed in Quebec.

Technology for publishing

Having focused mainly on digital books, and having recently included audio books, De Marque is now adopting a multimedia approach and developing their infrastructure to integrate other types of metadata such as illustrated books and audiovisual content.

Marc Boutet believes that his company’s brilliant trajectory is explained by its great adaptability. “For us to have been around for 28 years… it’s because we’ve always been able to see the next wave coming, while successfully managing current models and imagining future models according to the needs of the market,” he explains. De Marque improves its solutions by collaborating with libraries, publishers and booksellers. “Our way of doing things is more collectivist than some competitors and our technologies encourage the creation of a multitude of long-term partnerships.”

Of the 50 people who make up the De Marque team, about 20 developers have been perfecting the company’s state-of-the-art tools since 2008. At that time, the digital book was widely used by schools, and a major opportunity on the fictional book side presented itself. De Marque has therefore played a key role in the advent of digital books in Quebec. “Even in France, there was still very little available, and we wanted independent decision-makers, like Ulysses for example, to be able to collectively afford a technology that was, until then, reserved for large international groups,” recounts Marc.

De Marque has thus helped publishers work together and regain control of their destiny and their copyrights. With an ingenious system that gives them control over distribution parameters, allows them to track a book’s evolution and provides them with statistics and business intelligence data, publishers can retain control of their works, even if sold internationally.

“The digital book lending model is rather unique in Quebec and there is great interest for it in France as well,” indicates Marc. Indeed, more than 6 million loans have been registered since 2011 and De Marque has exported this model to several countries. As a leader in four territories: Canada, France (as well as Belgium and Switzerland), Spain and Italy, the company is also gaining a foothold in several other markets. This week, they announced their acquisition of Libranda, the world’s largest distributor of Spanish-language digital content, which will contribute to De Marque’s growth in the key markets of Spain and Latin America.

From CD-ROM to unified ecosystem

Before becoming the champion of digital reading, De Marque made a name for themselves with their software and educational applications, as well as in the distribution of educational resources and the digitization of magazines and journals.

Light years away from CD-ROM content, the company began offering a content-selling ecosystem last year.

De Marque is also launching a mobile application, alongside content with a one-stop shop approach for libraries across Western Canada. The latest technological developments in reading and multi-lock digital protection now enable schools to build a digital library with the digital lending platform that has been available in all Quebec libraries since 2011. Students with special needs can also benefit from the De Marque ecosystem and use digital versions in class. The company is currently conducting pilot projects with schools to develop integrated reading support tools.

If we could read the future… we would undoubtedly see continued successful innovations from De Marque!

Translated by Jenn Mierau

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