Germany’s answer to the Kindle is reportedly having a lot of success in its first 100 days. Weltbild and Hugendubel, 2 of the retailers that make up the Tolino consortium, put out a press release this morning touting just how great the past 100 days have been.
They’re pleased to tell you that the Tolino Shine, the new generic 6″ ereader that launched with the Tolino platform 100 days ago, has seen sales in the “high five figure range”. The press release doesn’t get into specifics on the sales figures, but it does note that sales exceeded expectations.
The Tolino ebook catalog has also grown in the past 100 days, and it now stocks over 500 thousand titles (up from 300,000 German language titles at launch). As impressive as that might sound, that is a paltry number compared to the 2 million titles that Amazon is showing in the Kindle Store on Amazon.de. And no details were released on how many ebooks were sold or downloaded from Tolino, making me wonder if ebook sales didn’t meet expectations.
Tolino is a cooperative ebookstore platform supported by 4 German retailers (Thalia, WeltBild, Hugendubel, and Bertelsmann) and Deutche Telekom. The 5 partners sell the Shine ereader in 1,500 retail locations across Germany as well as on their websites, and they also maintain 5 ebookstores with nearly identical content and (thanks to German book pricing laws) nearly identical prices.
That’s a rather thin press release, isn’t it? It makes me wonder if Tolino is really all that successful in absolute terms. We know that the German ebook market was miniscule in 2012 (2.4% of the book market), and we also know that selection is still limited. Just over half of the current releases are available as ebooks, and only around 29% of publishers’ backlist. With that in mind there might not be any great news to share for some time.