Books & Review | Sam Goodwin
Updated: Mar 04, 2013 06:33 AM EST

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German book retailers have collaborated with Deutsche Telekom to launch their own e-book reader, challenging Amazon's stronghold over the market.

Amazon has been criticized for its dominance in the growing market for digital books by many independent booksellers. However, a few German book retailers have decided to take matters into their own hands and go up against the online retail giant.

Thalia, Hugendubel, Weltbild and Club Bertelsmann have teamed up with Deutsche Telekom and will produce their own e-book reader which will go on sale starting March 7, 2013 and will have the option of downloading over 30,000 books. The announcement was made by the company late last week in an official statement.

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Thalia is known to be the biggest German book retailer. The company is currently undergoing restructuring and closing shops. Hence it saw sales fall 2 percent to 915 million Euros ($1.2 billion) in its business year to end-September.

"The future of the German book industry should remain in our hands and not those of listed American groups," Carel Halff of publisher and retailer Weltbild said.

E-books account for over 10 percent of the book market in the U.S. However, that is not the case in Germany. Here e-books have a mere 3.2 percent hold in the book market. However, this condition is fast changing. According to a report by market research group GfK, e-book sales rose to approximately $133 million in 2012 and they state that e-books could account for 17 percent of sales in the German book market by 2015.

A spokeswoman for Thalia, owned by perfumes and beauty retailer Douglas, said the eReader partnership has not come too late.

"This is exactly the right moment," she told Reuters. "It's about offering the customer a good alternative to Amazon and Apple now, in order to secure a position in the market for the future."

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