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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.


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dg April 11, 2017 um 7:19 pm

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

DaveMich April 12, 2017 um 11:01 am

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.

sam June 18, 2018 um 1:08 pm

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?

Nate Hoffelder June 18, 2018 um 1:27 pm

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

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