Pocketbook Launches Whitelabel eBook Platform
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.
idrhgh April 28, 2015 um 7:33 pm
I think, PocketBook has offered interested parties to customize its ereaders before. They now merely seem to have expanded their portfolio in that regard and have apparently started to advertise it more. I, for one, bought my first PocketBook ereader (the Touch 622 back then, when the Touch Lux 623 did not yet exist) from some online shop (legalo.de), and that device was branded with that shop’s logo on the startup and sleep screen and also on the physical back cover. I don’t remember any further customization though, but I guess there was no cloud back then. The "normal" versions at the time had an Oobrey logo for their startup and sleep screen and on the back of the device, IIRC. I’m not sure in what exact way Umbreit has partnered now with PocketBook, but I’d expect it to be about the same as Osiander or Mayersche have done, who also have such custom logos. I’ve read, Osiander’s PocketBooks also comes with an additional dictionary as an extra goodie, but I’m not aware of any heavy modification to the software. I think, its basically just some individual branding and a little customization for stores who want that and are willing pay for it. Having an entire eStore platform to offer might certainly attract potential partners though, who have no own technology in that regard, and I guess there’s probably a good number of those, that are too small to afford larger expenses.
Nate Hoffelder April 28, 2015 um 7:51 pm
Was that Pocketbook or was it txtr? I know txtr had something like this in late 2010 (pocketbook was involved, yes). It didn’t come to much.
idrhgh April 28, 2015 um 8:41 pm
The "customized" ereader I bought was definitely a PocketBook. Although you can hardly call it customization, since nothing was changed, except for the splash screen and the back cover. Current PocketBooks have "PocketBook" written on the back cover (http://geizhals.at/p/5625/1075625/1075625-2.jpg), while former models sold here had "Obreey" written there (https://i1.ytimg.com/vi/7Ls31wmosG4/hqdefault.jpg) and my model had "legalo" written on it (couldn’t quickly find a web picture, but I still have the reader here). Txtr had an own content shop. I don’t think they were working with other book stores. They rather tried to sell their picture viewing device together with phone plans, but apparently weren’t able to find a telecom partner for their idea at the time. Today, at least Osiander and Mayersche have their own spash screens on the PocketBook readers they sell. That PocketBook cloud is probably not more than a simple file server. Send-to-PocketBook or Dropbox for synchronization purposes is already a regular feature of the PocketBook software, regardless of whether some shops stick their own label to it or not. If I were PocketBook, I guess I’d happily take some money for such really simple customizations and more for some more effortsome ones. I have yet to learn of an example for the latter ones, though.
Nate Hoffelder April 28, 2015 um 9:18 pm
The program I am referring to dates to 2010. It’s a lot older than the beagle.
I don’t have a copy of the press release anymore but I do know that Pocketbook hardware was involved in txtr’s whitelabel program somehow.
Publishing Tales: Stories about Literature from across the Web (April 24 – May 1) May 3, 2015 um 8:20 pm
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