Kobo has plans to unveil a new framework for libraries that would allow them to buy and distribute ebooks. The new library program will allow libraries to purchase ebooks directly from Kobo and allow its patrons to read them. The first stage of this grand plan is rolling out with the Hutt City Libraries in New Zealand. The company has just begun to sell e-readers and tablets in its branches and will provide a rental system for the devices later this year.
Kobo’s response to Hutt City Libraries’ approach in August last year was one of delight. The company had been waiting a long time for a library somewhere in the world to establish a new trial program for selling e-readers. The advantage to Hutt City Libraries is collaboration with a well-known and respected brand and one that integrates with the popular Overdrive ebooks.
In order to build digital literacy, the libraries will run regular sessions on how to get the most from your tablet or e-reader and develop a whole range of interactive sessions for class visits, as well as regular children’s, teens’, and adult programs.
Kobo hopes to build the same kind of traction selling e-readers to libraries as it has garnered with independent bookstores in the US and UK. The ebook company has been focusing very hard on the New Zealand market, which is often neglected by many of its competitors.
There is no word yet on how the semantics will work with libraries being able to buy books through Kobo instead of Overdrive. Right now Kobo is focusing on launching its new Kids store and implementing a new digital magazine system. Likely, these storefronts and content deals need to be finalized and formally launched. This will provide libraries with more than just ebooks and give them access to a wider array of content.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.