Kobo has ironed out an agreement with the number one book seller in France, FNAC! In the 4th quarter of 2011 the Kobo e-reader line will be front and centre in over 81 different retail locations in France via FNAC. For the launch FNAC will have eReading experts on hand to give personalized in-store Kobo demonstrations and to introduce and educate their customers to eReading and Kobo.
Not only will the Kobo line of e-readers be available in France and new firmware issued to make all of the menus and settings localized in the French language, but the company is opening a bookstore for that market. The new Kobo French store will offer books by local authors and best selling ones. During the launch they should have a few thousand books available in French and millions in English. Kobo already has stores in Hong Kong, Canada, USA, Australia, and New Zealand.
As part of the agreement with FNAC the entire line of Kobo applications for iOS, Android and Blackberry will be revised to incorporate support for French. Users do not necessary need a Kobo Reader to buy and read books, but can simply use the apps.
“Partnering with leading bookseller in France, FNAC, brings Kobo closer to our vision of delivering the best eReading experience to more readers, on any device, in more countries around the world,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo, Inc. “We believe our launch into France as well as our upcoming entries into Spain, Italy and the Netherlands will be embraced by the European eReading community, as people start eReading, building their lifetime digital libraries, and reading freely across multiple devices.”
Kobo is the second major North American company to penetrate the French market. Recently Amazon has entered that arena and offered its bookstore, Kindle line, and self-publishing tools for the French audience.
Launching to market within the fourth quarter of 2011, in 81 stores in France and online with Fnac.com, this partnership will cement Kobo and FNAC as the popular eReading platform of choice within the French marketplace. For the launch FNAC will have eReading experts on hand, to give personalised in-store Kobo demonstrations and to introduce and educate their customers to eReading and Kobo.
“Partnering with leading bookseller in France, FNAC, brings Kobo closer to our vision of delivering the best eReading experience to more readers, on any device, in more countries around the world,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO, Kobo, Inc. “We believe our launch into France as well as our upcoming entries into Spain, Italy and the Netherlands will be embraced by the European eReading community, as people start eReading, building their lifetime digital libraries, and reading freely across multiple devices.”
“A leading retailer of technology, leisure and cultural products, Fnac is also the number 1 book retailer in France, selling more than 50 million print books each year.” said Alexandre Bompard, CEO, FNAC . “Like Kobo, FNAC is passionate about reading and about the opportunity ebooks offer to the consumers. We are very excited to move a step forward and partner with Kobo, by bringing “Kobo by FNAC” innovative ereading solution to the French market. Our common objective is to offer a top notch solution and the largest ebook catalog in order to meet French customer expectations and lead the ebook market in France.”
LARGEST GLOBAL eBOOKSTORE
In addition to its global store, Kobo already offers stores in the US, Canada, Germany (localised), UK, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. The Kobo store offers a selection of over 2.5 million eBooks, newspapers and magazines with bestselling titles, the hottest new releases, thrillers, romance and over a million free books.
Kobo’s European stores offer customers a rich assortment of local content, merchandised to the tastes and preferences of readers across Europe, Kobo has partnered with European publishers to offer a wide range of titles. With this launch, FNAC will deliver a large content catalogue, making it the largest eBookstore in France – the new store will feature the latest releases and bestsellers from popular French authors.
Since its launch in 2009, Kobo has been dedicated to an open cloud-based platform, enabling users to read on any device, and with open standards that give users the freedom to build their lifetime libraries as they choose.
LEADING eREADING DEVICES AND FREE EREADING APPS
Kobo has developed a line of top selling eReaders, are distributed in leading booksellers, consumer electronics retailers and mass merchants around the world such as, Best Buy, Target, Indigo Books, Walmart, Collins, Whitcoull’s, and now expanding to retailers in the European market.
As part of the partnership Kobo will develop free eReading French language apps for iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® and Android™, and PlayBook™. The apps will bring a next-generation reading experience to users. FNAC customers will be able to access their library and read across devices, French-language best sellers, the hottest new releases and classics.
In addition to delivering a complete ecosystem of content, apps, and eReaders – Kobo will also offer a localized version of popular social program – Reading Life. under the Kobo by FNAC brand. Reading Life is a leading, industry-first social experience that lets passionate readers track and share their love of reading. With Reading Life, users can connect with friends or book clubs and discuss their favorite books on Facebook, they can track their statistics which provide a tally of their library and reading activity – an insightful way for users to learn about their reading habits. Plus, user can earn awards – just for spending time reading.
About Kobo, Inc.
Kobo is a global eReading service with more than 2.5 million eBooks, magazines and newspapers – one of the largest eReading catalogues in the world. Kobo believes consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device and has attracted millions of readers from over 100 countries across the globe. Kobo has top ranked eReading applications for iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows and MacOS, and is the eReading application of choice for leading tablet OEMs. The Kobo Wireless eReader and the new Kobo eReader Touch Edition are available at leading retailers, including Indigo, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and WH Smith. Kobo’s innovative Reading Life is an industry-first comprehensive social eReading experience – Kobo users can earn awards simply for time spent reading and encouraging others. Kobo is backed by majority shareholder Indigo Books & Music Inc, Cheung Kong Holdings, and institutional investors.
FNAC, a subsidiary of PPR, is the leading retailer of leisure and technology products in France. It operates 153 stores (the 30th of September 2011): 82 in France and 71 elsewhere in the world (Belgium, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland). Its www.fnac.com (http://www.fnac.com) website is one of the foremost B to C e-commerce sites in France in terms of the public it reaches, with an average of 750,000 unique visitors daily. FNAC employs more than 15,000 people and reported €4,473 million in sales in 2010.
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.