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Kobo becomes new technology partner at the tolino alliance

3 January 2017

From the Kobo Newsroom:

  • Deutsche Telekom sells the tolino ecosystem to Kobo
  • The tolino alliance welcomes leading global e-reading provider Kobo as its new technology partner
  • tolino remains eReading brand for the German-speaking region

Augsburg, Bonn, Hagen, Munich, Toronto, 2 January 2017 – The book retailers in the tolino alliance have a new technology partner. Rakuten Kobo Inc. from Canada, one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading service providers, will acquire the tolino technology platform from Deutsche Telekom at the end of January 2017 to become the new technology partner of the tolino alliance. The corresponding contracts have been signed. The founding book retail partners of the tolino alliance – Hugendubel, Thalia and Weltbild – are delighted to welcome Kobo as their new partner. It means that two of the leading providers in the global market for digital reading will be working closely together in future.

Deutsche Telekom looks back positively on the excellent collaboration with the book retailers. “We are proud to have contributed to tolino’s success as its technology partner. Together, we were able to make the tolino product an established name in the eReading market with its open ecosystem and tolino devices, which rank highly in many recognized tests. Having successfully developed a digital eReading ecosystem on an equal footing with strong US-based competitors, it is now the right moment for Deutsche Telekom to divest the platform business that we have built up over the last four years with substantial investment and effort. We are therefore delighted that the founding partners of tolino stand fully behind our decision to sell the tolino ecosystem to Kobo as the alliance’s new technology partner,” said Felix Wunderer, Vice President of ePublishing at Deutsche Telekom.

“Together with our partners from the German book trade, we intend to continue to enhance the tolino ecosystem for its many dedicated customers,” said Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo. “This acquisition allows us to bring Rakuten Kobo’s experience with collaborating with book retailers around the world to the tolino alliance. This is the coming together of two strong pure-play eBook platforms, and we look forward to bringing even more capability and competitiveness to the tolino offering. We look forward to working together as their technology partner to attract even more people from German-speaking countries to digital reading.”

Link to the rest at Kobo Newsroom

One example of PR speak that struck PG was:

Having successfully developed a digital eReading ecosystem on an equal footing with strong US-based competitors, it is now the right moment for Deutsche Telekom to divest the platform business that we have built up over the last four years with substantial investment and effort.

Even after making allowances for German-English translation, Deutsche Telekom appears to be saying:

  1. We spent a whole lot of money to build an ebook system as good as Amazon’s.
  2. So we’re selling it.
  3. Because this is the right time to dump this turkey onto Kobo.

Here’s a bit more from the press release:

“The handover of the ecosystem to Kobo is a sign of the advanced market development: Having found a perfect partner in Deutsche Telekom to establish the business, our next step with Kobo is to grow further and in particular to uphold and expand the international eReading standards,” according to Nina Hugendubel.

Of course, press releases are always crafted to put the best face on everything, but this seems strained. Should “upholding and expanding the international eReading standards” be a key goal for a profit-making enterprise?

Certainly, this is a shot at Amazon’s proprietary ebook format, but do readers care?

Is it a great burden to install a free Kindle app and a free Kobo app on a smartphone or tablet?

Plenty of consumers seem to be able to handle Pokémon GO and Candy Crush Saga at the same time.

Kobo, Non-US

8 Comments to “Kobo becomes new technology partner at the tolino alliance”

  1. DT clearly learned their lesson from Indigo.
    Rakuten apparently didn’t and are still chasing the whale.

    Kobo being somewhat of a player in Tolino territories, this looks more of a consolidation play. From Amazon’s point of view they now have one competitor less they need to track. Just in case.

  2. I wonder if this means Kobo’s web site specifically the search capability will improve? 🙂

  3. Plenty of consumers seem to be able to handle Pokémon GO and Candy Crush Saga at the same time.

    WHO TOLD YOU??!!

    Oh, wait, I play Candy Crush Soda Saga. You must be talking about someone else. 🙂

  4. Actually, tolino has a pretty big share of the German language eBook market, so this could be quite interesting for Kobo. I don’t know the current numbers, but when I was looking it up about a year ago, tolino was at around 45% of eBooks sold in Germany.

  5. The handover of the ecosystem to Kobo is a sign of the advanced market development: Having found a perfect partner in Deutsche Telekom to establish the business, our next step with Kobo is to grow further and in particular to uphold and expand the international eReading standards,” according to Nina Hugendubel.

    LOL. Doppelsprechen.

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