Kobo’s Partnership with WHSmith Proves Successful After Trial RunBy: Heather Campobello - April 19, 2012
Kobo Inc., a global leader in eReading, today announced plans to open new Kobo branded shops within 100 WHSmith High Street retail locations in 2012. This decision follows the successful trial of the ‘Kobo Centre’ in some of WHSmith’s larger stores. Across the United Kingdom, WHSmith stores will provide consumers with a signature Kobo experience that features the full range of Kobo eReading devices, including the award- winning Kobo Touch eReader and the family friendly Kobo Vox eReading tablet. Starting today, the Kobo Vox eReading tablet is available for £149.99. The Kobo Touch eReader is currently available for the special low price of £79.99 and the Kobo Wireless is £59.99 at leading WHSmith stores and online at www.whsmith.co.uk.
“We value our partnership with WHSmith and are excited to have dedicated, knowledgeable staff members who will educate WHSmith customers and introduce them to the benefits of Kobo.” said Mike Serbinis, CEO of Kobo. “We know that in partnership with WHSmith we will deliver an engaging in-store experience that will demonstrate our expertise, best-in-class design, easy user experience, and innovative product line.”
Focused on helping customers embark on their eReading adventure, WHSmith stores will have a dedicated team of Kobo experts to help introduce consumers to eReading and the best eReading device for their reading style. At each of the WHSmith stores, customers will find an experiential center designed to help them discover the full line of Kobo eReading devices and an even larger selection of the latest, stylish accessories and eReader covers. Outfitted with WiFi and PCs, knowledgeable Kobo experts will provide an immersive in-store experience for customers and fans alike. Now, shoppers will have the chance to experience Kobo, learn about eReading, purchase the devices, browse the Kobo eBookstore, and activate their Kobo account before leaving the store.
The Kobo experiential shops, commonly known as a “store within a store,” are designed to provide WHSmith customers with a personal, informative Kobo eReading experience.
Aggressive International Expansion for KOBO in 2012
This announcement further strengthens Kobo’s international strategy focused on delivering eReading on a global scale that encompasses an end-to-end eReading experience, award winning eReaders, and a world-class content catalogue. The ‘store within a store’ initiative builds on Kobo’s continued partnership with WHSmith and its increasing focus on the UK marketplace.
Kobo endeavors to lead in new markets around the globe and since Kobo’s acquisition by the e-commerce leader Rakuten, Kobo has the resources, network and capacity to scale quickly around the world and to deliver a solution that meets and exceeds our customer and partner needs.
Kobo has had tremendous success both through its localized online eBookstores that offer content in 60 languages across 190 countries, as well as through its network of premier retail partners. With country-specific, localized stores and retail partners in United Kingdom & Ireland, Canada, The Netherlands, United States, France, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, and Hong Kong – Kobo delivers a tailored country experience that appeals to unique cultural interests and tastes of that country.
In addition to these countries, Kobo eReaders are also available via online stores in Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, and Austria. Kobo’s international online partner network includes stores like Buy.com, Play.com, PriceMinister.com, Walmart.com, Comtech.de, Redcoon, and Informatique.
The Kobo Vox
Perfect for families on the go and those who want to blend tablet functionality with their eReading experience, the Kobo Vox offers a seven-inch, FFS+ multimedia touchscreen for a dynamic reading experience in vivid color. Optimized for outdoor reading and with an extra-wide viewing angle for shared reading, the Kobo Vox makes the rich content offered at the Kobo online bookstore pop.
Unique to Kobo, readers can take reading to a whole new level with Kobo Pulse™ sharing ideas on passages and recommending books with other readers. The seamless integration with more than 15,000 apps, including family favorites like Facebook, Twitter, The Weather Channel and Cut the Rope, make the Kobo Vox the perfect device for families on the go – and with its new price point at £149.99 at WHSmith stores, it’s budget friendly too!
The Kobo Touch
Built by booklovers for booklovers, the Kobo Touch offers a best-in-class reading experience, with an amazing touch experience that uses Infrared Touch Technology, allowing readers to easily swipe or tap to turn pages. With the intuitive touch interface, readers can highlight a phrase, lookup a word, zoom into an image, increase the font size, or quickly navigate through a book and an entire library. Plus, finding that next read is also quick and easy with Wi-Fi and a virtual keyboard.
The Kobo Touch eReader now available for £79.99 at WHSmith is also the first eReader to be available in multiple languages and offers a localized experience, including content, recommendations, and the Kobo store. Readers may choose from English, French, Canadian French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch.
About Kobo, Inc.
Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services offering more than 2.5 million eBooks, magazines and newspapers– and counting. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo has built an open-standards platform to provide consumers with a choice when reading. Inspired by a “Read Freely” philosophy and a passion for innovation, Kobo has expanded to nearly 200 countries, where millions of consumers have access to localized eBook catalogues and award-winning eReaders, like the Kobo Touch. With top-ranked eReading applications for Apple, BlackBerry, Android, and Windows products, Kobo allows consumers to make eReading social through Facebook Timeline and Reading Life, an industry-first social experience that lets users to earn awards for time spent reading and encouraging others to join in. Headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten, Kobo eReaders can be found in major retail chains across the globe.