EBay takes on Amazon Prime in Germany

24 Oct 2017

EBay Germany joined up with Thalia, Germany’s largest bookstore chain, to offer e-book deals to EBay Plus customers. It also said it plans to build out the benefits of EBay Plus membership. In doing so, it’s taking on Amazon Prime.

EBay Plus members pay €19.90 ($23.00) per year for free, express shipping and exclusive sales. Now, with the Thalia partnership, members also get free access for six months to Tolino Select, an e-book subscription package Thalia offers whereby readers can download up to four books per month for a monthly fee of €9.90. (Tolino is Thalia’s e-book reader, a twin to Amazon’s Kindle.)

Eben Sermon, CEO of EBay Germany (photo from his LinkedIn page with thanks)

EBay.de said in a news release (in German) that the cooperation is a “starting point of a new ecosystem for German consumers” which it will continue to build out. In an interview on Wiwo.de (in German), Eben Sermon, managing director of EBay Germany, said the marketplace would like to explore other partnerships around music and video. “In addition, I’m open to integrating more services into EBay Plus. We want to expand EBay Plus as quickly as possible,” he said.

Sermon claims that EBay has around 17 million German customers, but he declined to say how many have signed up for EBay Plus, which launched in September 2015.

Amazon Prime, at €69.90 per year, is significantly costlier than EBay Plus, but offers much more than express shipping, and access to e-books and other media — such as streaming TV series, films and music; and audio broadcasts of German premier league soccer games.

Thalia is the largest bricks-and-mortar bookstore chain in Germany, but its online marketplace offers less than half the number of e-books Amazon.de does. It advertises users can download more than 2.5 million titles, whereas Amazon.de offers around 600,000 German and more than five million foreign language e-books.

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Kate Rodriguez

Kate Rodriguez covers the German market for AIM Group. She is a freelance business writer with an extensive background in public policy, business consulting and marketing. Originally from the U.S., Kate is now based in Munich.