Kobo is seeing tremendous growth on the international stage with its e-reader and eBook ecosystem. The Rakuten owned company has increased their 4th quarter 2013 revenue by over 44% year on year. The online customer base has also dramatically increased from 12 million in 2012 to 18 million in 2013.
The international strategy Kobo is employing is paying off with more users in more countries signing up and purchasing eBooks. The Canadian based company is accessible in over 190 different countries and has close to five million titles in their library.
When Rakuten purchased Kobo in 2011, the writing was on the wall that there would be a management change. This is primarily due to the Japanese culture of not having western people as the CEO or in key leadership roles. A few weeks ago Michael Serbinis stepped down as the CEO of Kobo and has been supplanted by Takahito “Taka” Aiki.
Taka is basically a turnaround specialist, who is put in charge of companies to increase their revenue stream. According to the most recent Kobo shareholder report Aiki was running Fusion Inc. He took it from being a black hole to earning 12 million dollars a few years later. Kobo is a profitable company, but missed opportunities in key markets, such as China, Russia and the US.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve 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. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.