There has been swirling rumors and speculation today about Kobo getting involved in the audiobook space. This was primarily due to a number of placeholder entries in their digital bookstore that had meta data that alluded to HarperCollins Audio.
Kobo has confirmed to Good e-Reader today that they have no plans currently to enter the audiobook space. The fact that some books had no cover art and mentioned Harper Audio was due to bad metadata that was sourced by HarperCollins on a number of new eBooks. Kobo has told me that they were unaware of this data issue until Good e-Reader brought it to their attention. The company said tat this error is being solved internally within the next few weeks by the development team.
I think audiobooks is the only missing piece to the global content offerings that Kobo currently sells. The rise of audio publishing is directly proportionate to the rise of digital distribution. In 2007 a paltry 3,073 titles were available and rose exponentially to over 20,000 published titles in 2013. The entire industry is said to be worth over two billion dollars, which is a huge jump from $480 million in retail sales in 1997.