The French site of Bertelsmann’s on line book services, Books On Line (BOL.com), crashed on the day of its launch yesterday. The first two German- and French-language sites of the much heralded and greatly delayed rival to Amazon.com’s European operations were launched yesterday at press conferences in Paris and Berlin. But by 6PM GMT the French site could not be accessed. When ComputerWire rang BOL to find out why the site was down, the by now jubilant delegates in Paris were unaware of the fault. A spokesperson for BOL said they were not sure what the problem was, but that the site had functioned well during the demonstration and they were now working to repair the problem. The site was still down at the time of going to press. The launch has been delayed since November last year when BOL International’s vice president of corporate communications, Dr Cristof Ehrhart, said that the launch had been delayed because the company felt it was more important to get things right than to be on time. On the same day, BOL announced its UK and Netherlands sites would be launched in the next few weeks and the Spanish site in the next few months.