Over the past six years the grocery store chain Aldi has released branded ereaders and tablets in the UK, Australia, Germany, and other countries.
Now it is getting into ebooks.
Starting on 20 October, Aldi will be selling ebooks in its home market of Germany through a new service called Aldi life eBooks. The service will offer a paltry million titles which can be read through a matching Android app.
There's no mention by Aldi of an app for iPhone or iPad, but the announcement does say that you can read on a PC. (Several German sites say there will be an iOS app, but it's not clear whether that is true or an assumption.)
Aldi will be bundling the new app with an Android tablet which launches next Thursday. The Medion E6912 E-Tab is a 7" tablet which cost 129 euros and runs Android 6.0 on a quad-core CPU with 1GB RAM. It will be carried by both parts of Aldi (Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud) and will come with a 10 euro credit for Aldi Live eBooks.
Aldi is getting into ebooks rather late, but this venture is less about ebooks for their own sake than a more general move into digital content and services. Also also offers prepaid phone cards under the Aldi Talk brand, and it has a streaming music service: Aldi life Musik.
In a way, Aldi is copying Tesco's failed attempt to launch a digital content sub, Blinkbox. That effort included ebooks, videos, and music, but it shut down last year after it was sold off for parts and the ebook customers were handed off to Kobo.
It would be easy to assume that Aldi's venture into digital is as doomed as Tesco's, but it's worth remembering that Tesco spent a lot of money buying and building Blinkbox and then shut it down when the company did not provide the expected return. We have no similar evidence that Aldi hs made a similar investment in a money-losing property.