Kalahari.Com rolls-out first Wi-Fi enabled e-Reader

South African online retailer, Kalahari.com yesterday announced the launch of its first Wi-Fi gobii 7” e-Reader.

First Wi-Fi Gobii e-Reader (image source: Kalahari.com)

The new WiFi model follows the initial launch of the gobii 7” colour LCD eReader which, at a price of R899 (about US $112.7) with additional R160 (about US $20) in vouchers, sold out within 21 days of launch in August this year.

gobii is a sleek new range of affordable electronic products available exclusively on kalahari.com.  The new WiFi model will retail at R1 299 (about US $162.6). Both devices are available on pre-order and will be available for purchase from early November, making them the perfect stocking filler this festive season.

“2011 has been the year of the tablet and eReader as these hotly demanded electronic devices fly off kalahari.com’s shelves. eReaders are starting to enter the mainstream as customers look for the ideal device on which to consume their content. As the largest supplier of digital content in South Africa, we believe that this range of eReaders is ideal to meet the specific needs of the local market,” says Gary Novitzkas, CEO of kalahari.com.

“Some interesting statistics came to the fore:  we saw that our female shoppers clearly preferred eReaders while our male counterparts favoured the Tablet. The launch of gobii provided the perfect opportunity to cater to that need; whilst the WiFi enabled version of the gobii 7” eReader will be valued by the more itinerant consumer looking for increased access to eContent,” says Novitzkas.

Novitzkas confirms that kalahari.com has seen a 100% year on year growth in the sale of eBooks for the last six months. This growth can be attributed to increased consumer familiarity with the format of eBooks, greater product availability, and of course, the proliferation of affordable devices which have been spearheaded by the online retailer.

“We saw massive uptake in eBooks with the release of our eReaders for under R900. Moving into hardware manufacturing was a bold step to take for kalahari.com, but it has ultimately benefited the consumer by driving down prices and pushing up the demand for eBooks locally.

Kalahari.com is working hard to make eContent and eBooks more accessible to all South Africans and to that end the Gobii range of eReaders continues to drive adoption locally. We believe that ultimately local demand will emulate the growth we have seen in the US where the sale of digital reading devices jumped fourfold from three million in 2009, to 12.6 million in 2010,” confirms the CEO.

A major worldwide trend is that consumers are not as interested in owning content as much as they are interested in having access to it. The Internet makes this possible.

“What this means is that the way we interact with literature is changing as we begin to include this new technology into our lives. Kalahari.com alone has more than 350,000 international and local eBooks leaving consumers spoilt for choice.The WiFi enabled gobii makes that entire library available with the flip of the on-switch,wherever the customer is online,” continues Novitzkas.

“Digital content allows for more connected experiences. In the future, opportunities exist for publishers to provide more than just their print content by enriching the reader’s experience through rich media with links to the Internet, embedded video, sound clips and other interactive features such as applications. Kalahari.com is proud to be at the forefront of this change in South Africa with the release of its affordable gobii range of eReaders,” concludes Novitzkas.

The gobii ranges of eReaders, and other electronics, are available exclusively on kalahari.com

Staff Writer