Germany's leading tabloid Bild announced that they are expanding their content store. Bild.de already sells video and offers a subscription music service, and as of this morning they launched a new ebookstore at ebooks.bild.de.
This store is being operated in partnership with the media retailer Buecher.de, and it draws its ebook catalog from the Tolino platform. The site stocks millions of titles, and is already selling the 99 euro Tolino Shine. The Bild catalog includes bestsellers, novels, biographies, guidebooks and photo books, as well as a line of reissued public domain novels by authors such as Daniel Defoe, Alexandre Dumas, Mark Twain and Jules Verne, with prices starting at under 1 euro.
The ebooks are sold in Epub, and they can be read on the Tolino Shine, as well as on any ereader or reading app which supports Adobe DE DRM. On a related note, Bild is also selling paper books.
So how did a German tabloid come to launch an ebookstore? This initially confused me, but after I asked Johannes Haupt of lesen.net he explained the connections between Tolino, Bild, and Bluecher.
The first thing you should know is that Buecher.de has been part of Tolino since that platform launched in March of this year, and has been selling ebooks for all of that time. That name has not come up before on this blog, but it turns out that it is owned in part by Weltbild, one of the original 5 Tolino partners.
Buecher.de is also owned in part by Holtzbrink (which also owns Macmillan and the Skoobe ebook subscription service). And Buecher's third owner is the publishing conglomerate Axel Springer, which also owns Bild.de.
Once you know who owns whom it makes a lot more sense, doesn't it?
The Tolino consortium, when viewed as a group and not nearly a dozen different ebookstores, is either the first or second largest ebook platform in Germany. It's not clear at this time whether the Kindle has a larger market share, but I suspect that it does.
The Tolino platform was announced in March along with the Tolino Shine ereader, which has a 6" Pearl HD E-ink screen. Tolino has since launched an updated Shine as well as a couple Android tablets.