News24

Kalahari.net turns to e-books

2010-11-23 14:01

Cape Town - Online retailer kalahari.net is betting that South Africans will choose e-books over traditional reading material.

Kalahari has debuted a range of e-readers for the South African market, but the latest one aims to capture a budget-conscious reader.

"We launched e-books in March and now there are 200 000 titles available," kalahari.net's head of eContent Gerjo Hoffman, told News24.

He said that the Elonex 500EB was an entry-level reader, designed to convince people to adopt e-reading. Most of parent company Media24's magazines are available as e-book downloads.

"While there's been stagnant growth in high cost devices, we've seen exponential growth since we launched this one in September," said Hoffman, without elaborating on exact sales numbers.

'Misconception'

The device itself is smaller than an iPad, and sports a colour screen. It manages images, video and several formats to read books, but lacks Wi-Fi.

This means that the user has to download content to a PC, and then transfer it to the device.

There is an SD memory card slot so that content can be transferred and the device has a built-in memory of about 2GB.

The controls are somewhat tricky to get used to, but it's easy to learn and master, and it uses a 12cm TFT LCD screen as opposed to e-ink like Amazon's Kindle. Battery life, though, is quite impressive and like most high-tech devices, it can be charged via USB ports.

"There's a misconception about e-ink devices. If you're really a hardcore reader then they're fine, but this device is perfect for the casual reader.

"We have a variety of devices for different segments of the market and our approach is to follow what our customers want," said Hoffman.

He said that kalahari spotted the e-reader at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and decided that they would introduce it to the South African market at a lower cost than devices like Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle. The Elonex 500EB retails on kalahari.net for R999.

The e-books on kalahari can be read on PC screens, mobiles and various e-readers.


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Comments
  • shahied.lodewyk - 2010-11-23 15:46

    I recently bought my wife a Kindle and she absolutely loves it. A book that currently costs $12.00 (ZAR85.20) from Amazon is ZAR128.96 on Kalahari's website.Still a rip off. Amazon also issues free books from time. Not sure Kalahari will offer the same. There are also quite a few decent books available for $2!

      Janine - 2010-11-24 07:46

      Do you have to download e-books from Amazon's website onto your pc before loading it onto the kindle? My understanding is in SA we can't use the Kindle's 3G and Wi-Fi options. (would love to buy one! or the Nook from Barnes & Noble which won the #1 pick for e-readers judged by Money Magazine)

      Alicia - 2010-11-24 08:41

      I have a kindle too and you download your ebook directly onto the kindle, no pc involved and no cost. The 3G and Wi-Fi does work and its free, no sim card or anything. It is really amazing. I would definitely recommend it.

      Alicia - 2010-11-24 08:43

      I have a kindle too and you download your ebook directly onto the kindle, no pc involved and no cost. The 3G and Wi-Fi does work and its free, no sim card or anything. It is really amazing. I would definitely recommend it.

  • Fastbowler - 2010-11-23 16:31

    Save yourself a lot of misery and get a Kindle rather.

  • Alicia - 2010-11-24 08:44

    I have a kindle too and you download your ebook directly onto the kindle, no pc involved and no cost. The 3G and Wi-Fi does work and its free, no sim card or anything. It is really amazing. I would definitely recommend it.

      Pamela - 2011-03-05 15:51

      i have just bought the iriver ebook for my husband and would like to know how to download books on to this mechanism???

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