Adiós PagePlace – long live tolino

Jan 19, 2014 2 min read

So it’s official: PagePlace, the ebook shop by Deutsche Telekom, is closing at the end of March 2014. At first, one could think that this is another bad news for the tolino alliance after Weltbild declared bancruptcy last week [German]. But I don’t think that this is bad news after all.

Looking back, I though it was really strange when I heard that Deutsche Telekom is starting to sell ebooks and epapers back in 2011. I asked myself: Why should an IT and telecommunications company sell books? After hearing they are selling an ebook reader as well, I thought: Well, if they are selling an ebook reader they need to provide content as well. And so having an ebook shop made some sense to me after all.

In spring 2013, things changed. Deutsche Telekom, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel and Club Bertelsmann announced to join forces to face the overly powerful Amazon Kindl – at least in Germany. And so far that went pretty well: In December 2013, the tolino alliance had a market share of 37% [German] (again: in Germany). That brings us to the crucial question: Why is Deutsche Telekom going to close the PagePlace shop?

Let me put it this way: If you want to buy an (e)book, would you go to an IT store or a book store? Right! So let everyone in the tolino alliance do what they do best: Book companies like Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel and Club Bertelsmann should sell ebooks (and the ereader hardware, if they want to). However, let Deutsche Telekom be in charge of the technical side of things, like providing the infrastructure and the tolino software (for example, the web reader, the client apps for iOS, Android and so on). This way, everyone can focus on what they are good at to ensure the tolino alliance’s success.

By the way, this shows one of the really great advantages of an open platform. One shop is shutting down, just move your content to another shop. Try that with your Amazon Kindl content.

As I said before, closing the PagePlace shop doesn’t sound that bad to me. What do you think?