E-Readers in the Wild at the Mall

On Saturday, I was with my Dad at the Roland Center, a fairly big mall here in Bremen.

And since I was at the mall already, I of course hit the book stores. The foreign language section at the Thalia bookstore was rather disappointing, not to mention that all foreign language books were shelved under “Fernweh”, one of those untranslatable German words that means “yearning to travel the world”. Sometimes, it is translated into English with another German term, “Wanderlust”, which is odd since “Wanderlust” and “Fernweh” are two different things. Besides, when I see a shelf labeled “Book about yearning to travel the world”, I expect travel books not foreign language books.

While I was browsing, my Dad was somewhere else. I expected that he’d be hanging out in front of the store or maybe that he’d be sitting on one of the sofas scattered about in the store. However, once I finished browsing and went to look for him, I found him perusing the e-reader display.

“This thing is stupid”, he said, playing with what appeared to be a basic Oyo e-reader, “The type is much too small. You need a magnifying glass to read this.”

I smiled. “The great thing about e-readers is that you can adjust the font size”, I said.

“There’s nothing here to adjust the font size”, my Dad said.

“Well, I don’t know how it works with this model, but trust me, it can be done.”

Still, it’s kind of sweet that he was looking at e-readers, especially since he only reads magazines and image heavy non-fiction books as well as work-related stuff, so a regular e-ink reader won’t actually be very helpful for him anyway.

In my quest for buying an e-reader, I had ruled out Thalia‘s e-reader family pretty quickly. Not because they’re bad, but simply because Thalia is mainly geared for the German language market. But looking at their display, I noticed that they have expanded their e-reader family with a frontlight e-ink reader to compete with the Kindle Paperwhite, Kobo Glo and whatever the frontlight Nook is called as well as with a mini tablet to compete with the Kindle Fire, Kobo Vox and whatever the Nook tablet is called. Prices were comparable, too. In fact, I think Thalia‘s tablet was even cheaper than the Kindle Fire.

Roland Center is quite unique, since it is a mall with two bookstores. Alas, bookstore number 2 is a small Weltbild shop focussing mainly on bestsellers and non-book products (because if you have limited floorspace, you’ve got to waste it on candleholders). I didn’t spend a lot of time browsing there, because the target audience for that shop is totally different and they’re not likely to carry anything I’m interested in.

Now Weltbild also offers its own e-book reader, which is actually the cheapest e-reader available on the German market, twenty Euros cheaper than the cheapest Kindle. They market it pretty heavy via TV ads, too. Though up to now, I’d never seen a Weltbild reader in a Weltbild store. Weltbild still is mainly a mail-order retailer – the stores are only a sideline. Still, I always found it strange that they wouldn’t push their e-reader in their own stores.

Still, at least the Weltbild store in Roland Center now had Weltbild readers in stock, though they still didn’t have a display stand like Thalia.

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2 Responses to E-Readers in the Wild at the Mall

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