Kobo Plus is an unlimited e-book subscription program that launched in the Netherlands and Belgium back in February. When Plus first came online you could subscribe for € 9,99 per month and have access to 40,000 titles, 16,000 of which are in Dutch. Over the course of the past five months things have been really quiet, there has been no meaningful data on how Plus has been performing, until now.
- 20% previously had not bought any books (paper or digital) at bol.com
- 40% have not bought a digital book before (through bol.com or Kobo)
- 10% bought only one digital book per year; with Kobo Plus these customers have on average 10 titles on their digital bookshelf
BOL and Kobo offer a free 30-day free trial and 75 percent of users ended up paying for a monthly subscription and users have read over a million hours. Daniel Ropers, general director of bol.com, sees an additional benefit to the book industry and that is drawing attention to unknown authors.
“One of the reasons for launching Kobo Plus is to reduce illegal downloads, just like successful streaming services for the film and music industry,” says Ropers. “The fact that nearly half of the users are a new digital reader is for bol.com and Kobo an indication that the first steps towards reducing piracy in the Netherlands and Belgium have been set.”
Kobo plans to have 20,000 Dutch-language titles by the end of the year. Since its launch, the catalog has grown from over 40,000 to over 80,000 titles and currently 18,000 of these are in Dutch. Since Plus first launched over 400 new publishers have been added.
I think one of the driving forces behind the success of Kobo Plus is how easy it is to purchase a subscription. Users can sign up directly on their e-readers and be able to filter out other categories to only display Kobo Plus books. You can also purchase a subscription via the Kobo e-reading app or the main Kobo/Bol website.
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.