Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Provisional administrator Christian Köhler-Ma has been appointed to German ebook service provider Txtr.
Txtr provided ebook solutions to retailers such as Foyles, device makers and mobile operators such as Deutsche Telecom. They developed a large international repository of ebooks which they serviced through a cloud based white label ebookstore and a comprehensive set of apps. Their service was based on Adobe ACS4 DRM and they sold ereaders based on eink technology.
At the time Foyles pinned its flag on Txtr in 2012, Sam Husain, CEO said, “Our new eBook store and apps, ‘Foyles powered by txtr’, make buying and reading eBooks as easy as possible, without the added expense of having to buy new hardware. It is the next step in our on-going journey to serve our customers with a choice of books, across the widest possible range, in every format.” The question now is whether their customers will still be serviced from a bankkrupt cloud?
Txtr developed ‘The Beagle’ which they launched in 2012. The 5" device was designed to be paired with a smartphone and to be a "companion reader" with smartphones and subsidized by new mobile contracts. However despite the fanfare, the low price, it was too late to market and came at a time when the smartphone and tablets were replacing the old eink technology.
The txtr team launched Blloon, a new ebook subscription service, which was set up as a separate entity and therefore should not be impacted by the current situation. At its launch last summer txtr founder Thomas Leliveld, said that, ‘Blloon aspires to offering a lower cost ebook service in a market already crowded by Scribd and Kindle Unlimited.’
Blloon's subscription model is different and is based on pages and a lower subscription price. Leliveld said at the time, ‘We aren't offering an expensive ‘unlimited’ service simply because that isn’t the demographic we are targeting. And people can only read so much. We’re welcoming young people, the majority of whom currently read up to 12 books a year. Providing a package that allows them to expand to two or three a month makes it an attractive and affordable offering - without any compromise on the quality of the titles. In time we hope it will encourage them to read even more.’
So as Blinkbox follows Sony and bites the dust it is now to be followed by Txtr. The question is not how many more will follow but what the impact these collapses have on consumer confidence not in ebooks but in ebook services who may leave them and their purchases in the cold. These events also strengthen the case for subscription services. However subscription services may be able to be switch off like a tap and impact the consumer less as he merely moves his subscription to another service