New E-Reader for Under $13 From Txtr

German e-bookseller txtr will shake up the e-book market later this year when it releases an e-reader that it says is smaller, lighter and cheaper than any currently on the market.

Dubbed the “txtr beagle,” the e-reader is 5 millimeters thick (on its thin side, 14 millimeters thick where the battery goes in) with a 5-inch e-ink display, weighs 128 grams and will cost as little as €9.90 ($12.82), the company announced today at the Frankfurt Book Fair in a statement.

The e-reader doesn’t have any cables or WiFi capabilities and works on AAA batteries that last a year and a bluetooth connection to an Android device. Readers who have the Android txtr app on their smartphone or tablet with bluetooth can download books to the app and then send them to the reader. (An iOS app is reportedly on the way.)

By comparison, the Kobo Mini is about 10 millimeters thick with a 5-inch e-ink display and 134 grams. At $79.99, it offers far greater functionality but at roughly six times the price. (There is also an e-reader with a 4.3-inch e-ink screen from German device manufacturer Trekstor called the Pyrus Mini which retails at €50.)

At about $13, the txtr e-reader represents a new low for e-reader pricing. Currently, the cheapest e-reader on the market in the U.S. is the $69 6-inch Kindle with WiFi. There has been speculation that a free e-reader will come on the market in the next several years.

The txtr device is aimed at the market of potential readers who own smartphones but who do not yet have an e-reader or tablet reading device. Part of the business strategy is to help cell phone service operators break into the e-book market.

“So far network operators have not actively marketed eReading. In our view, this is because of the lack of a suitable device, which matches the crucial conditions relevant to the operator business model. Our new product connects with popular smartphones,” said txtr chief commercial officer Thomas Leliveld in the company’s statement.

The company is currently in conversations with potential partners in Asia, Europe and the U.S., it said.

Here are the product specifications for the new device:

Dimensions: 140 mm by 105 mm by 4.8 mm (14 mm on the battery side)
Weight: 128 g
Display: 5-inch e-ink display; 8-level grey scale; 800 x 600 pixels
Screen: Non-glass touch-screen
Connectivity: Bluetooth to txtr Android app
Storage: 4 gigabytes for up to five books
Available Colors: Jade Green, Grapefruit, Turquoise, Purple
Comes with two AAA batteries
Price: €9.90, to start

Watch a product video here:

txtr beagle from Yvan Go on Vimeo.

10 thoughts on “New E-Reader for Under $13 From Txtr

    1. Jeremy Greenfield Post author

      That’s a good point, except why not have it? It’s basically disposable at that price point. What if your phone/tablet runs out of batteries? Or what if you want to read on the beach and not worry about your device?

      I won’t get one — i already have an e-reader, smartphone and tablet, all of which I read on — but I don’t think it’s geared toward me. It’s supposedly geared toward those who don’t have an e-reader or tablet already.

      1. Pamela Berkman

        Easier on your eyes, I think. I have a smartphone, and I don’t want to spend the money to buy a tablet. But it does make my eyes a little crazed to read books on my smartphone. So I’d buy it — bigger screen for $13 instead of $399 or $499? and eink? Not bad. Heck, I’ll buy one now. Where do I go?

    2. DaveH

      Why? Because the device here has an e-ink screen, which can comfortable be read outdoors even in bright sunlight. something you really can’t do with a phone or tablet.

  1. Carol

    I got my Kindle free for opening an account with my local credit union — a great 21st-c. update on the toaster, & an idea I’m surprised Amazon et al. (& especially B&N) haven’t picked up.

  2. Pamela Berkman

    Jeremy, did they say anything about the formats needed from publishers so the content can be read on the device? Will it just take an ePub file? Any word on how they plan to offer a bookstore as extensive as Kindle’s or Apple’s? How great a stumbling block will that be? And by “later this year,” do they mean they are going to try for a U.S. release before Christmas?

  3. Jackie Aldridge

    This will be the breakthrough for schoolbooks. With this a teacher can customize lessons and write pamphlet textbooks for their class. Not all children have good access to more expensive readers and computers. Every child should have a minimum basic reader starting in kindergarten or first grade.

  4. Sharath

    Has this been released yet. Reading on a tab or smartphone is good, but consumes lot of battery. This one will save lots of battery… and that will be main advantage for me



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