Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2010 Issue

New E-Readers Hit European Shelves

Oyo

The Oyo electronic reader.


By Michael Stillman

The electronic reader knows no borders. The rapid rollout of Kindles and Nooks in America is being repeated with a group of locally produced electronic readers in Europe. On the Continent, like America, many are offered by local bookselling and electronics chains.

Thalia, the leading bookseller in Germany, recently began filling orders for its Oyo e-reader. The Oyo features a 6-inch screen, a 2GB memory good for around 1,000 books, and a wi-fi connection for downloading. It is compatible with numerous formats, meaning it does not use a proprietary operating system that can only accept books sold by Thalia. The Oyo employs a touchscreen for navigation. The price is €139 (around $200 in American dollars).

The Oyo is not limited to Germany. In France, DirectGroup Bertelsmann will be making it available through their online bookseller Chapitre.com. There the price will be slightly higher - €149. It will also be available through the locations of the buying club France Loisirs. The Oyo will be sold in the Netherlands by Selexyz, a local chain with bookstores in 15 cities. In Poland, bookseller Empic began selling the Oyo in late October, followed a few weeks later in selected stores.

In France, an alternative to the Oyo recently became available, the FnacBook. This strangely unattractive name can be traced to its retailer, FNAC. It stands for (in French) Federation of National Purchasing Managers, but just goes by the FNAC name today. The FnacBook is a bit more expensive, €199, but it features 3G service rather than just WiFi alone. A similar product is available in Italy, the Telecom Italia eBook. This reader is being sold, naturally, by Telecom Italia, Italy's largest telecommunications company.

All of these new e-readers look a lot alike, and with good reason. None of these companies is producing its own. Each of these makes is actually a branded version of the Binder, produced by Sagem. Sagem is a large French electronics maker. You don't actually buy a "Binder." It's what Sagem describes as a "white-labeled" device. They deliver it to others for re-branding. The prototype for the Binder was only first announced early this year and just began shipping in late October. As best we can tell, it is currently available in the two versions, one including 3G connectivity; one not.

Electronic readers appeared first in America with Amazon's proprietary Kindle. It was not only their own device, it accepted only books from their store. Barnes & Noble responded with the Nook, their own device, but one that could accept books from many sellers. Borders followed with the Kobo, a device both available from multiple retailers and accepting electronic books sold by multiple retailers. It looks as if Europe is skipping the proprietary e-readers, except that perhaps some otherwise identical readers will have a different brand name pasted to the front. And, the various iterations of the Binder are not the only electronic readers now available in Europe. Amazon is still far and away the leader, but their monopoly is rapidly disappearing. It will be interesting to see whether they can maintain their market dominance in a world where they no longer dominate by virtue of owning a monopoly.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT. <i>A Celebrated Patriotic Song, the Star Spangled Banner.</i> 1814.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> [COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER, Amerigo Vespucci ..] Bernardus Albingaunensis .. Dialogo nuperrime edito Genue in 1512.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true originall copies,</i> 1632.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (WATKINS, TABER &c.). <i>An album of 32 photographs of the Yosemite and American West Various places</i>, c. 1890s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (BATTLE OF CONCORD.) <i>Powder horn used by Minuteman Oliver Buttrick at the Battle of Concord</i>, April 19, 1775.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (CIVIL WAR.) <i>An Extraordinary Confederate Photograph and Autograph Album of Dr. R. L. C. White</i>, 125 original mounted salt prints. 1859-61.
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    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Full scale vintage <i>Sputnik-1</i> EMC/EMI Lab Model, with live transmitter. US$ 10,000-15,000
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    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown Space Suit from ISS Expidition 6. Worn by Flight Engineer Don Pettit on his dramitic return to earth. US$ 25,000-35,000
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  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Leaves from<br>George Washington's Own Draft <br>of His first Inaugural Address. An Extraordinary Rarity!
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation.
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    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>The Chap Book</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>Troupe de Mlle Églantine</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Philippe Henri Noyer, <br><i>Limonade Brault</i>, 1938. <br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br><i>The Great Men of the World</i>,<br>designer unknown, circa 1945-46. <br>$7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>James Montgomery Flagg,<br><i>Wake Up, America!</i>, 1917.<br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Alfred F. Burke, <i>Share / Jewish <br>Relief Campaign</i>, circa 1915.<br>$3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Ludwig Hohlwein, <i>Marke Pkz / <br>Burger - Kehl & Co.</i>, circa 1911. <br>$8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br>Gian Emilio Malerba,<i> E.A. Mele / Modo e Novita per Signora</i>, circa 1900. $7,000 to $10,000.

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