Over the course of the last few years Kobo has been the company of choice for bookstores belonging to the American Booksellers Association. The stores earn a commission for every Kobo sold and nets a small percentage of every digital edition that customers purchase. Amazon is certainly not content to let the Canadian company have all of the fun and today has announced a new Program called Amazon Source.
The new program from Amazon enables independent bookstores and other retailers to sell Kindle devices and accessories, and earn money while doing so. In addition to a discount on purchasing Kindles and Kindle accessories for resale, retailers will have the option of receiving 10% of every Kindle book purchased on Kindle devices sold by the bookstore for the first two years after a customer buys a device.
“We believe that retailers, online or offline, small or large, should be striving to offer customers what they want—and many customers want to read both digital and print books,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “For many years, bookstores have successfully sold print books on Amazon—now Amazon Source extends this opportunity to digital. With Amazon Source, customers don’t have to choose between e-books and their favorite neighborhood bookstore—they can have both.”
Amazon may have the name recognition factor when it comes to the average customer trying to decide what e-reader is good for their needs, but Kobo has solid marketing material. The ABA releases a series of colleratoral a few times a year, such as posters, banners, digital guides, tutorials and a myriad of other content to assist bookstores in promoting the brand and understanding what they are selling. This allows the average bookstore to promote it in their shop and not just rely on the device sitting on a shelf to gain interest.
In the short-term Kobo does not have much to worry about as Amazon is not providing any marketing material to sell the e-readers in the bookstores. They aren’t really promoting it either and instead relies on bookstore owners finding out about Source. The Seattle based company only has around half the States in the USA eligible to enroll in this program and traction will determine if they have a broader rollout.