WH Smith has now officially begun to sell the Kobo line of e-readers in their locations this week. The United Kingdom based company has trained nearly 6,000 staff members on the technical details on the ebook readers they are putting in stock.
WH Smith, when they came to Canada, was eventually bought out and formed Chapters/Indigo books, who were the main financial backer of Kobo. The two companies have a great working relationship, especially during the crucial holiday season when it is the best time to peddle their ebook readers in Europe. The e-readers will be sold through 750 stores and WHS will get a commission on any e-book sold via the Kobo Book Store.
The UK based WHS has prepared television and in-store videos to promote the e-readers and the bookstores. It will be followed by a wide array of press releases and other media.
WHS head of non-fiction and digital books, Toby Keir, said: “In the majority of stores there are working units so customers can see and feel the product and learn how to use the devices ahead of making a purchase. We see this as a very important part of the customer offer and believe it will help customers make the right choice. In our larger stores we are also adding dedicated staff during peak trading to talk to customers and demonstrate the key features of the devices.”
Kobo and Amazon are waging a war in Europe with the UK being the latest battleground to sway customers to either side. European domination is on both agendas and parterships are being struck to gain market traction. It is hard for any bookstore to make their own e-reader from scratch and develop paid content to maximize the returns. Many bookstores are switching to e-readers that can tap into a rich ecosystem to make customers’ lives easier.
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.