Kobo – Expanding and innovating
Kobo is moving firmly into the number two position in international e-book retail (no prizes for guessing who is in first place), and being acquired by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has added the financial muscle to accelerate this move.
Over the last year Kobo has launched local offerings in the UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, and in July they entered two more major markets.
In conjunction with its parent company (Rakuten) Kobo launched its full e-reading offering in Japan on the 19th July. This includes a fully localized Japanese experience including popular Japanese content (novels, essays, business and comic books) and authors in local currency.
In Italy Kobo has partnered with the Mondadori Group, Italy’s largest book retailer and publisher. The Kobo touch device will be available in 400 of Mondadori’s stores, and the publisher will also make 4,000 of its titles available to the overall 30,000 Italian e-books. The Italian e-book market is valued at close to 10 million Euro.
Kobo has also announced a self-publishing platform called Kobo Writing Life (KWL), which offers authors a range of tools, including live metrics of how and where their e-books are selling and the ability to manage pricing at a country level. KWL will launch in English, but localized language versions are already on the roadmap.
Kobo launched in December 2009 and now has more than 9 million registered users worldwide and a catalogue of over 2.5 million books, newspapers and magazines. Kobo is focused purely on e-reading and has launched many industry firsts such its social experience which includes Reading Life and Author Notes as well as e-book gifting. Kobo has customers in 190 countries.