A couple of weeks ago Kobo submitted two e-readers to the FCC to get approval to sell them in the United States. One of the new devices has been dubbed the Kobo Aura One and features a 7.8 inch screen, which is the largest e-reader the Toronto based company has ever produced. The second has a standard six inch screen and is thought to bridge the gap between the Kobo Glo HD and the Kobo Touch 2.0.
Hardware is a profitable business for Kobo and the company and CEO Michael Tamblyn admitted the bulk of their e-book sales stem from e-readers. “The kind of customer we get through a device is worth about 30% more than through a smartphone. Book libraries are bigger. These customers are more loyal. They tend to read faster. That’s because they are already a person who is predisposed towards doing more reading. We have a great business on iOS and Android, but we can see from the data that the experience is more fragmented. Reading times are shorter and it’s broken up by text messages or social media. It is a much less immersive experience than on an e-reader.”
When it comes to global e-book and e-reader sales, Kobo is a solid number two behind Amazon. People obviously buy Kobo products in higher numbers than Barnes and Noble, Icarus, Onyx and Pocketbook.
I think the Aura One will be the most exciting product Kobo has issued in a longtime. Not only is the screen 7.8 inches, but it is likely flush the bezel, instead of using Neonode Infrared Touch. I believe this to be true because the first generation Aura had the flush bezel design.
So the question remains, will you buy either of the two new Kobo e-readers?
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.