Pocketbook hasn't been able to make much headway in Amazon's core markets, so the Ukrainian ereader maker has recently taken a new approach: it's recruiting allies.
Last month Pocketbook announced Pocketbook B2B Cloud Solution, their deceptively named whitelabel platform. Following in the footsteps of txtr, Pocketbook is now offering a service which lets companies rebrand Pocketbook's ebook platform.
Pocketbook will support companies who want to develop their own ebook platform based on Pocketbook's ereaders, apps, and ebookstores. The ereader maker will develop the rebranded apps and help them get approved in Google Play and iTunes. Pocketbook is also offering to license its ebookstore, or simply develop a book recommendation service (discovery engine) for use in a partner's site or store.
This service even extends to Pocketbook's hardware, and includes the devices' branding and full software customization. Pocketbook is eager to add custom splashscreens, bookstore apps, and social service apps.
Pocketbook B2B Cloud Solution hasn't gotten much attention so far, but the service actually launched last month in Germany. This story didn't make the news at the time (because I couldn't understand what the bleep they were talking about), but Pocketbook signed a German book wholesaler right around the time of the Leipzig Book Fair. Umbreit, a name which means little to those outside of Germany, announced that it was partnering with Pocketbook.
The press release is less than clear on the exact services Pocketbook will be providing, but it does note that Pocketbook B2B Cloud Solution is going to formally launch later this year at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
When that happens Pocketbook will be but the latest company to enter this market. Pocketbook won't have much to worry about from the late txtr, but they will still have to compete with Page Foundry, which has licensed a whitelabel ebook platform for the past 4 years.
Page Foundry's past partners include high-profile names like Asus, and under its Inktera brand, PF currently supports 22 3rd-party apps in Google Play (including the much-maligned Clean Reader app).
Other competitors include Bluefire, which has developed apps for Android, and iOS (but no ebookstore platform), Datalogics, and (in a distant way) Kobo. Late last year Kobo launched a program to recruit device OEMs. That service was focused more on getting Kobo apps on to 3rd-party hardware rather than rebranding Kobo's service, but it does fall within shouting distance of Pocketbook's new offering.