Thalia is Selling eBooks in Store

The German bookseller Thalia has achieved the booby prize of bookselling: it is now selling ebooks in its brick-and-mortar stores.

A reader can select an ebook and buy it in the shop without having to register in the bookstore. After paying the total at the register, the customer receives a download code which they can enter into their Thalia account online.

After entering the code, the ebook can be read on the Tolino eRraders, on the PC or via the free Tolino app for Android and iOS. The Thalia bookshops offer free wifi for download in store, or customers can have their purchase delivered directly to their existing Thalia account so that the ebook is available for direct download from the Tolino cloud.

In a way this sounds a lot like the ebook gift cards that Amazon briefly tested in Seattle, or the gift card service Enthrill recently shuttered before selling the tech to Firebrand.

But the key difference is that Thalia is selling ebooks without gift cards.

This is an elegant solution, but to what problem?

B&N, Amazon, or any of the Tofino partners could have offered this service years ago, and no one – because customers don’t want this any more than ebook gift cards.

After all, why would you get the ebook gift card when you can just use the free Wifi to buy the ebook online? Less muss, less fuss, and best of all you can use your favorite platform.


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. dg11 April, 2017

    You write, there’s no need to register, but in the next sentence you write, the customer needs a Thalia account.

  2. DaveMich12 April, 2017

    I actually get this. It’s for people who like to browse paper stacks but prefer to buy ebooks. You have the paper book in hand – you want to buy it, but in ebook format. Here’s a code that gets it for you. You don’t need to go back to their ebook portal and look up the book and do a transaction there, you can finish the transaction while you are considering it, there in the bookstore. Amazon should do this.

  3. sam18 June, 2018

    Both my books are up for sale on Thalia. I didn’t put them there and KDP have taken me off Select, as a result… any ideas anyone?

    1. Nate Hoffelder18 June, 2018

      Thalia probably got the ebooks from a distributor. At some point did you list your books with D2D, StreetLib, or some other distributor?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top