Kalahari.net turns to e-books

2010-11-23 14:01
Kalahari.net is hoping to spur e-books with the EB 500 e-reader. (Picture provided)

Kalahari.net is hoping to spur e-books with the EB 500 e-reader. (Picture provided)

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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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