Kobo has recently closed its latest investment round with their majority shareholder Indigio Books. Canadians may know of Indigo books in the form of retail chain Chapters, where the Kobo e-Reader is easily found for purchase.
Indigo Books and Music Inc was one of Kobo’s founding shareholder and from day one believed in the long term viability of partnering itself with a dynamic young Canadian company with a solid content distribution chain and an original e-reader. This new funding will go towards Kobo’s market penetration globally and continued research and development of a new e-reader. This will also allow Kobo to make more overseas partnerships. It was only a few months ago that Kobo had landed a distribution deal with Swindon which brought their e-reader to Hong Kong. Recently Kobo also landed a deal with Wallmart and Futureshop to carry their products as well. In Canada, Kobo is one of the main e-readers that have the highest availability.
Since its inception Kobo has been doing many things right as far as application development goes. Their iPad app continues to be the e-reading app to beat and you can find their content easily accessible on all major platforms. Kobo initially came onto the scene last year with the release of their Kobo e-Reader. This edition was fraught with peril and many users expressed many errors with its interface, and hardware flaws. Kobo recognized this issue and released the updated Kobo Wireless months later, this new e-reader would allow users to purchase books directly from Kobo. Not only could you now buy eBooks with the Kobo device, but you could also purchase magazines and newspaper subscriptions. Kobo built on the continued success of their e-readers with releasing their products overseas in Australia and New Zealand via Redgroup/Borders, Angus and Robertson and Whitcoulls book store chain. They then landed the Swindon deal to less fan-fair and seek to further expose their products to alternative markets.
Recently though, Kobo’s products in Australia and New Zealand may be in Jeporday with the bankruptcy of their major partners. Although publically this information was made available in those local markets, but Kobo has yet to officially announce anything regarding it, and they have been unavailable for comment.
While doing their e-reader marketing, they have been working with tons of companies to further the Kobo brand and get their content on various platforms. We initially broke the news last year when Kobo and Samsung teamed up for the Readers Hub on the Samsung Galaxy Tab. They also recently closed deals with Research in Motion for content delivery to the Blackberry Playbook with their Social Reading program and HTC.
While leading the charge with e-readers they have continued application development and rumor has it they are working on a new e-reader. Hopefully with the recent windfall of financial operating costs and money to burn, they will get something juicy going in short order.
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.