Germany

Top German Booksellers + Bertelsmann + Telekom = Mega E-book Project

In German Buch News by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

When Amazon calls a press event, they get headlines. When Apple calls a press event, they too get headlines. How about when five of the most powerful names in German publishing, bookselling and communications call a press event?

This Friday, ahead of CeBIT and Leipzig Book Fair, Lesen.net reports that three booksellers — Thalia’s Michael Busch, Weltbild’s Carel Halff and Hugendubel’s Nina Hugendubel — as well as Club Bertelsmann Program Director Anita Offel-Grohmann and Thomas Kiessling, CIO of Deutsche Telekom, will come together on stage to make a big announcement about a “really big new project in ebooks and e-reading.”

Lesen.net speculates that it is likely the group will introduce a new e-reading platform, possibly with complimentary devices.

Each bookseller has their own ebook solution, albeit with varying but modest degrees of success: Thalia is selling Bookeen readers, Weltbild has Trekstor devices, Telekom offers it’s own PagePlace e-bookstore online.

So what could come of a collaboration between these five very powerful entities? Perhaps a truly viable competitor to Amazon, which has driven most ebook adoption in Germany.

Of course, as we’ve seen in recent weeks, offering a viable solution to Amazon can be very difficult, even if you have the brand recognition of being the top bookseller(s) in the country. Think only of Barnes & Noble, which continues to lose money on its NOOK business, despite big investments from Microsoft and Pearson and highly praised devices.

Let’s wait and see.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka is the Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. A former foreign correspondent, he has covered the book business exclusively since 2000, serving as daily news editor for Publishers Weekly and columnist for Bloomberg News.