Germany's Tolino is 'national alternative' to Kindle

Deutsche Telekom has confirmed it is bringing out an e-reader in collaboration with booksellers Thalia, Weltbild and Hugendubel, plus Club Bertelsmann.

Bookseller Nina Hugendubel has called it "a national alternative to the major US corporations."

According to German media reports, the Tolino Shine, launched next week (March 7th),  will offer 300,000 titles to start with and will be priced at 99 euros. It supports EPUB, PDF and TXT files. E-books can also be saved free of charge on Telekom's cloud and accessed by WLAN from home, via one of Telekom's 11,000 free hotspots or at any of its bookseller partners' 1,500 shops in Germany. 

In interviews on German book trade news publication Buchreport, Weltbild chief executive Carel Halff said: "The aim of the partnership is to create a competitive, single internet platform for digital products, especially for digital reading. This platform requires very strong sales... Only in our group will we have enough power to be able to operate
the platform and further develop economically."

Nina Hugendubel told Buchreport: "We need more force in the market to pose a real alternative to the North American competition. Therefore we are forming an initiative that is also unique in the world: great booksellers teaming up with a technology partner to build a national alternative to the major US corporations."

Hugendubel said one advantage the Tolino would have over Amazon's Kindle was that it offers an "open" system. "We do not chain the customer to us," she said. "You can download the books at any time from the cloud to other devices." Halff said: "Closed systems create dependencies, we want to give customers freedom."

The booksellers said they will remain in competition with one another, offering the same device with the same technical infrastructure of Telekom, but installing their individual bookstore on each e-reader. Halff said: "We remain competitors in all fields, and each will try to offer the best content."