Wednesday, January 18, 2012

BPN 1589 No endless bankruptcy for Dutch e-reader manufacturer

The Netherlands based Endless Ideas, the company behind the Bebook line of e-readers, officially filed for bankruptcy on January 5, 2012. The company offered in less than two years the e-reader models Bebook Neo, One, Club, Mini, and the recently released Club S. The problem for the company was the worldwide competition, the stay in the middle price range, technical problems and bloating supplies. But within two weeks the company has been purchased by the BAS Group, a Dutch consumer electronics distributor, active in Europe and the US.
The BAS Group is the better known in the Netherlands through its chains Dixons, PC World and Dynabyte. By acquiring Bebook and Endless Ideas BAS Group will be able to expand its portfolio and sell through the e-readers in their street locations and online. AS Endless Ideas has also developed a tablet, the BAS Group recognises the difference between tablets and e-readers. The group recently opened an iPad shop in a retail store. But it sees a niche group of readers for the paperlike screen readers. But being a hard- and software distributor, BAS Group is guaranteeing the Bebook warranties and support.

Endless Ideas has had a rough ride so far. It started up being a Dutch competitor of the Philips spin-off , iRex Technology, dubbed IRX Innovations coming out of bankruptcy. So it had to start competing in price with that company, as iRex was serving to top segment in the market, between 500 and 600 euro. Endless Ideas was producing the Bebook models, offering them between 200 and 300 euro. In this price rage they had competition from the UK and French manufacturers, resp. Cool-ER and Cybook. Working from the Netherlands the company had to cover The Netherlands and other European countries as well start up competition in The States. In the US it sold e-readers through Amazon and eBay; however the company never found a regional content partner and financer to offer competition to the Amazon homebrand Kindle e-readers. Recently  Endless Idea got onto the fray of tablets with the 279 euro Bebook Live.

Besides this marketing situation the company had more inventory of e-readers than sales. And with the last model Club S with the S for Storage, increasing the internal memory to 2000 Mb for up to 4000 books or documents, the company got into technical problems as the boot strap contained a bug, which needed a manual patch, too difficult for average users.

With the BAS Group taking in Endless Ideas, the company will gain more marketing and technical support. However in order to make Bebooks a success, BAS Group will have find an association with a content supplier in the Netherlands such as, or the network of Dutch bookstores, but also other countries.

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