Tolino is a brand name of e-readers and tablets marketed by leading booksellers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in cooperation with Deutsche Telekom.Since 2014, the e-reader has also been available in Belgium, Netherlands, and Italy.
It was purchased in January 2017 by Rakuten Kobo Inc.
The German Bookstores Club Bertelsmann, Hugendubel, Thalia, and Weltbild founded, along with Deutsche Telekom, the Tolino-Allianz (Tolino Alliance). Deutsche Telekom functions as the Alliance's "Technology partner". It is responsible for the entire software and hardware element of the platform, as well as the marketing of Tolino's library of digital e-books. Despite the alliance, the book stores remain in competition with one-another. The motivation for the founding of the Tolino Alliance was to provide an e-reading solution for German e-book readers, and to prevent the migration of German users to international competitors (most notably Amazon Kindle). However, the closed nature of Amazon's ecosystem (because of its proprietary AZW e-book format) makes it difficult to return customers to the German booktrade.
The first negotiations between the four German book stores took place in the Spring of 2012. And in the Summer of 2012, the Tolino Alliance was formed.
The Tolino brand was constructed during March 2013, with the introduction of the brand to the public with Tolino's first e-book reader, the Tolino Shine. Come November 2013, the Tolino Shine was complemented by two tablets: Tolino Tab 7", and Tolino Tab 8.9".
In January 2014, the co-founding member of the group, Weltbild, filed for bankruptcy, and was dissolved into Paragon partners.Shortly before March 2014, Deutsche Telekom introduced its own e-book shop, "PagePlace".
Tolino's second and improved e-reader, Tolino Vision, was introduced to the market in April 2014. In October 2014, during the Frankfurt Bookfair, the bookwholesaler Libri announced that it would become part of the Tolino Alliance. Following this, more than 1,000 independent bookstores removed the Tolino products from their shelves, and connected their online shops with the Tolino Cloud.The new partner's goal was to become a comprehensive alternative for digital reading for the entire German bookmarket.
Likewise, in the Autumn of 2014, the Belgium producer Standaard Boekhandel joined the Tolino Alliance. The Italian bookstore IBS Italy became yet another partner. IBS offered its books through ibs.it and libraccio.it.
A new and improved Tolino Vision 2 was introduced in November 2014. It featured a water-resistant shell and "tap2flip". The Tolino Tab 8" tablet complemented the introduction of the e-reader.
In September 2015, it was announced that bookstores Mayersche and Osiander were new partners of the Tolino Alliance.
The Tolino Alliance's prominence was increased with the induction of netherlandic bookstore Libris.nl (also blz.nl) to the group.
During the Frankfurt book festival in October 2015, Tolino introduced two new e-readers. Immediately thereafter, the two were made available for purchase. The Tolino Vision 3 HD became the new model in Tolino-Vision line, and is aimed at the high-end market. While the Tolino Shine 2 HD is the lower-end and cheaper model, that serves as an improved version of the previous Tolino Shine.
In November 2015, another Italian online shop was introduced by the Italian Tolino-Partners IBS. Ever since, indiE-Book.it has marketed Tolino products in Italy.
As previously announced through The Direct Group Bertelsmann, the founding member of the firm Club Bertelsmann ("derClub.de") ceased operation at the end of 2015.
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In 2015, the Tolino brand was voted by the readers of lesen.net as the e-reader provider of the year.Tolino was followed by Amazon's Kindle at 45% with its product line (35%). In the previous two years, Tolino secured first place with 34% in 2013, and 37% in 2014.
Tolino was chosen as e-reader brand of the year by allesEBook.de in 2015. Tolino received 44.3% of votes, Kobo 27.7%, and Amazon 17.8%. In the previous year's survey, Tolino was ranked fourth, capturing 17.7% of voters.
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