Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn sat down with Shane Digman of the Globe and Mail last week and shared some information that has been been publicized before. Tamblyn admitted that January was Kobo’s best e-book sales month ever and estimated that e-books make up 18% of Canadian book purchasing. Kobo’s most dedicated customers buy an average of one e-book a month and 16 print books a year.
Here are some of the highlights of the interview
- Kobo has 26 million users.
- Presence in 190 countries.
- A library of 4.7 million e-books and magazines.
- In third place behind Apple and Amazon.
- Writing Life self-published titles account for 15% of all the books Kobo sells.
- 2011, Kobo was sold to Rakuten for $315-million.
- 2007, 25 people worked at Kobo, now it is 360 employees.
- Average customer is more likely to be 50 years old than 20.
Ultimately, “Kobo is competing with companies with massive resources that are building out lifestyle platforms,” says Robert Wheaton, chief operating officer at Penguin Random House Canada. “Amazon is commissioning television [series] to bring people into their Prime platform, from which they can also buy books, and Apple is innovating on phones where they can also buy books. I would imagine that’s super-challenging to compete with. Kobo’s backed away from the multimedia tablet industry. Their No. 1 customer is first a book reader.”
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.