All stories relating to Kobo
The new version of iBooks supports 40 languages, continuous page scrolling, and improved synchronization across devices. Thanks to a feature similar to Kobo’s Reading Life, readers can now highlight quotes from an ebook and share them on Facebook and Twitter.
Aimed at textbook publishers, the latest version of iBooks Author includes embedded and custom fonts, fixed layouts, mathematical equations, new templates, and multi-touch widgets.
Both iBooks and iBooks Author will be available for download later today.
Today was a big day for device junkies and e-book addicts in Canada and the U.S.
At competing press conferences in Toronto and Santa Monica, California, Kobo and Amazon each unveiled a pair of new e-readers and an upgraded tablet device. The timing, not to mention the similarities between the new product offerings, shows how the two companies are competing very much in lockstep.
While the bulk of media coverage so far has focused on the escalating tablet wars (Kobo unveiled the newly branded Kobo Arc, which will replace the existing Kobo Vox, and Amazon revamped its Kindle Fire), both companies also showed their continued investment in dedicated e-readers, offering several new E Ink products and an array of pricing options.
On the low end of the price spectrum, Kobo arguably has the edge, at least in terms of novelty. The pocket-sized Kobo Mini, which retails for $79.99 and comes equipped with a 5” E Ink touchscreen, is being billed as the smallest e-reader on the market. By contrast, Amazon’s low-price entry is really an updated version of its existing starter model, with the price knocked down to $69.99 (U.S.). Both models go on sale Oct. 1.
Both companies are also releasing new touchscreen e-readers with “front-lit” displays, a technology that improves contrast and allows for reading in direct sunlight and low-light conditions. The Kobo Glo makes use of what the company calls ComfortLight technology, while Amazon is branding its new e-reader as the Kindle Paperwhite.
How do the competing e-readers stack up? It could be weeks before anyone gets their hands on both devices for a side-by-side comparison, but the specs provided by the two companies are remarkably similar. Here’s how it shakes out:
Release date: Oct. 1
Storage: 2 GB, with option to expand to 32 GB with micro SD card
Battery: More than one month with Wi Fi and light turned off; more than 55 hours with light turned on
Display: 6” E Ink touchscreen
Connectivity: Wi Fi enabled
Price: $119 (U.S.); 3G model available for $179 (U.S.)
Release date: Oct. 1
Storage: 2 GB
Battery: Eight weeks, even with the light turned on
Display: E Ink touchscreen
Connectivity: Wi Fi enabled; 3G option available
The new line of e-readers includes an Android-powered tablet (known as the Kobo Arc), a pocket-sized device being billed as the smallest e-reader on the market (known as the Kobo Mini), and an update of Kobo’s popular touch-screen e-reader that now has a built-in light (known as the Kobo Glo).
The Kobo Arc, an update of Kobo’s existing tablet known as the Vox, will retail for $250 for the 16 GB version and $200 for the 8 GB version. The Glo and Mini will sell for $130 and $80, respectively. Kobo CEO Mike Serbinis tells Reuters that they will go on sale in the coming months.
The launch comes as Kobo makes a big push in the U.S., where it recently announced a retail partnership with independent bookstores. The announcement also comes in advance of an Amazon press event later today, at which Kobo’s main U.S. competitor is expected to unveil an update to its own tablet device, the Kindle Fire, and possibly even launch its first smartphone.
“There are players in the market — Amazon being one of them — that have Apple envy and they are going after this general purpose tablet market. We remain focused on the book lover and are really making a bet on the book lover,” said Serbinis.
“It is certainly the road less traveled, but what we have proven having just crossed over 10 million readers across the world in a matter of 32 months is that we have a great solution for those book lovers.”
Book links roundup: Winnipeg comedian’s Shades of Grey parody takes off, Target discontinues selling Kobo Touch, and more
- Winnipeg comedian Ryan McMahon’s tweeted novel Powwow Shades of Grey is taking off
- Target no longer carries the Kobo Touch
- Vanity Fair publishes Christopher Hitchens’ foreword to George Orwell’s diaries
- Peter Jackson tells Comic-Con audience about possible third Hobbit film
- Publisher accused of plagiarizing Raymond Hawkey’s landmark book jacket for The Ipcress File
- Author Larry McMurtry to auction off 300,000 books from personal collection
Kobo will expand its European presence this fall through a new partnership with Italy’s largest book publisher and retailer, the Mondadori Group.
The Kobo Touch will be the first of the e-reading company’s devices available to Italian consumers. The e-reader will be sold for £99 in over 400 Mondadori stores and online through its website. Readers will be able to shop from a catalogue of 4,000 Mondadori titles, plus Kobo’s 2.5-million ebooks. The Digital Reader also reports that Mondadori will run Kobo’s regional e-bookstore.
Kobo already has partnerships in the U.K., U.S., France, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Austria, and Japan.
Book links roundup: Kobo to launch in Japan, Rotimi Babatunde wins Caine Prize for African writing, and more
- Kobo to launch in Japan this month
- The Caine Prize for African writing goes to Rotimi Babatunde
- Little, Brown releases cover design for J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy
- U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey to publish memoir with HarperCollins
- Booksellers Association survey reveals bookshops with cafés have higher sales
- Joe Meno: What a novel can do that film and TV can’t
Kobo announced today it has seen substantial growth in ebook and Kobo Touch sales over the past year, with ebook downloads up 400 per cent and e-reader sales up 160 per cent. Most significantly, the company has almost quadrupled its user base, with a reported 280 per cent growth in the number of international Kobo users.
The Digital Reader quotes Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis:
It’s become increasingly clear that the world of eReading is the way of the future and as technology continues to break down geographic borders, Kobo is excited to lead the charge into new markets and continue to shape the future of the multi-billion dollar eReading industry.
[...] We expect Kobo’s trajectory for international growth and user adoption to quickly meet and exceed market projections.
Kobo users can now read ebooks like Alice in Wonderland, The Last of the Mohicans, and War of the Worlds as illustrated comics, through a content distribution deal between Kobo and the digital publisher Trajectory.
The Classics Illustrated series includes over 120 titles, which are also available for Apple devices and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.
Kobo’s promo of The Three Musketeers gives an idea of the series’ style.
Rakuten, the Tokyo-based parent company of ebook vendor Kobo, is leading an investment round in the image-based social media website Pinterest, a move that could allow Kobo to expand its array of applications geared to “social reading.”
Rakuten is part of a group of companies that has invested $100 million in the online startup, which was launched in 2009 and, according to Reuters, now has about 20 million users. In turn, Kobo, which was acquired by Rakuten in January for $315 million, views the investment as an opportunity to enhance existing community functions, including its Reading Life app, which allows users to share comments via Facebook and Twitter.
“We see amazing future opportunities with Kobo’s focus on social reading, Pinterest’s visual communication of things consumers love, and the e-commerce engine of Rakuten to one day create another avenue for consumers to engage online,” says Kobo spokesperson Cerys Goodall in a press release.
Goodall adds: “We have seen first-hand the benefits of working with the Rakuten powerhouse and have taken advantage of their resources to expand internationally.”
Since its takeover by Rakuten, Kobo has launched a bricks-and-mortar retail partnership in the Netherlands and expanded its retail operations in the U.S. and the U.K. It now claims to have readers in nearly 200 countries (which, in case you’re counting, would cover just about all of them).
Following Thursday’s announcement, Kobo director of merchandising Nathan Maharaj elaborated on what Rakuten’s investment in Pinterest might mean for the firm.
“We’re happy to feel like Pinterest is that much closer a member of our family,” he says. “It’s kind of like we’ve got a new cousin, and we’re just delighted.”
While it’s still too soon to say if Kobo will enter into a strategic partnership with Pinterest (similar to its relationship with Facebook), the ebook vendor’s aggressive approach to social-media marketing already appears to be paying off.
“What we know is that we’re seeing incredible growth in people posting their activity to Facebook using the timeline integration of our apps and devices to share what they’re reading, and when they’re reading, with their friends,” says Maharaj. “We’re seeing those events increasing, and we’re seeing them turning into interactive events where friends on Facebook are clicking those links and following it back through to Kobo, and closing that loop.”
Kobo already has a presence on Pinterest, and Maharaj says early experiments on the site have been promising. “I understand that … ebooks maybe don’t strike you immediately as the most visual [media], but Pinterest is part of our social strategy,” he says. “A book cover is the visual hook for a book no matter what format you’re reading it in.”
Update: This story was updated with comments from Nathan Maharaj
- Calvin Trillin and Charles Foran on satire and Mordecai Richler
- EU pushes open access with research grants
- Kobo to sell Harry Potter ebooks
- Study shows Amazon user reviews as reliable as media experts
- U.K. publisher sells U.S. rights to Iraq war refugee’s banned stories to Penguin
- Hundreds in literary community rally for New York Public Library
- Does ebook sharing create economic damage?