Kobo has slowed down their torrential pace of international expansion and is now focusing on software and hardware development. The company has received a dramatic influx of new customers, due to them taking over Sony’s entire eBook business in North America, Europe and Australia. Could a virtual book club be next on Kobo’s agenda?
A new survey has been dispatched to select Kobo e-reader owners and people who typically buy a ton of eBooks. It is worded as if the Book Club will be launched and they are asking key questions about the social media aspect. Most of the queries centered around connecting it to various social media networks like Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. A number of other questions asked if social was even important at all, or if you merely want to discuss books with like minded souls.
Kobo has experimented with community based programs in the past with Kobo Pulse. It was a short lived initiative that was only implemented in their iOS apps. It let people know how many people were reading the same book as you were and how many people have completed it. The intention was to foster community based discussion and to prevent spoilers from ruining the experience. They even brought in Gena Showalter to talk about her book to the community, but engagement was low and Kobo abandoned it.Could Kobo make a virtual book club succeed in the modern era? The company sorely needs a competitive edge against GoodReads, which Amazon purchased last year. Digital reading is a solitary endeavor, you buy and read the books in the comfort of your own home. Being able to socialize with fellow readers is a very compelling value proposition. If done right, it could be integrated into all existing and future Kobo e-readers and their official apps for Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows.
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 CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.