Kobo's starting its post-CES 2013 (the year doesn't really start until after the Consumer Electronic Show, right?) with a little bit of sales-inspired back patting. Apparently the company managed to bring 4 million folks on-board to its e-reading ways over the past six months, bumping up its registered user number to 12 million. Kobo's also calling last month its largest yet, thanks in no small part to the release of a number of new devices, including the Mini, Glo and Arc. All of offer up a reminder that, while the company doesn't have much of a foothold here in the States, it's pushing for a much larger presence in places like its home country of Canada and Japan, where its owner Rakuten is a retail powerhouse.
Kobo Brings the Joy of eReading to More than 12 Million People around the World, Millions of eReaders Sold in 2012
Kobo Inc., a global leader in eReading, today announced that it has exceeded 2012 market forecasts, doubling device sales and attracting more than 4-million new customers within the last six months to bring its total to more than 12 million registered users. Contradicting forecasts claiming eReader sales would decline in 2012, Kobo's E Ink eReader sales were up nearly 150 percent in December, helping the company to carve out 20 percent of the global eReader market [source: DigiTimes]. In less than twelve months, the company launched three new eReading devices and further established its eReading services in new territories including Brazil, Portugal, Italy, Japan, Spain, South Africa, and the Netherlands this year. The annual growth and outstanding international performance culminated in Kobo users reading more than 22 million pages on Christmas Day.
"In December we celebrated Kobo's third anniversary as well as the biggest month for the company yet," said Michael Serbinis, CEO, Kobo. "Millions of new users registered with Kobo in December alone, annual device sales soared with millions of Kobo eReaders bought, and eBook sales nearly doubled from the previous year. 2012 was truly outstanding for our company and our network of booksellers and retailers around the world."
THE WORLD IS READING DIGITALLY
The average Kobo customer bought more eBooks in 2012 – nearly 20 percent more per customer – than in 2011. With the availability of eBooks growing around the world, Kobo invested heavily to ensure that publishers and authors could take advantage of the growing opportunity to engage with fans around the world.
· 22 million pages were read with the company's open eReading platform.
· English was the most common language read, followed by French and Japanese.
· People in Canada read the most on Christmas Day – with an average of 200 pages each – while Americans read 160 pages and the British read 93 pages.
· The most popular genre at Kobo is Romance. Canadians – perhaps as a result of their cold winters – top the charts as romantic fiction fans.
· Fifty Shades of Grey and The Hunger Games dominated 2012 as the most read eBooks and most read eBook series, while the most downloaded Christmas classic was Clement Moore's classic 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
THE EREADING ECOSYSTEM IS THRIVING
In 2012, Kobo invested heavily to provide customers with a cross-platform eReading ecosystem that now includes three E Ink eReaders – the Kobo Touch, the Kobo Mini, and the Kobo Glo – and its new 7" Google-certified Android tablet, the Kobo Arc. At the same time, the company's free top-ranked eReading apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows attracted people to read on more tablets than ever during the holiday period.
"We are seeing tremendous international opportunity to bring eReading to new markets, and help transform the industry through technology innovation," said Wayne White, EVP and GM of Devices, Kobo. "The transition from print to digital, the evolution of devices, the application of technologies, and the market adoption of eReading around world is in its infancy. Kobo's trajectory of growth reinforces that people want to read more – and on a variety of devices."
AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS ARE JOINING KOBO
Kobo's commitment to delivering localized experiences for its customers begins with its efforts to attract and secure leading titles from local authors and publishers to deliver a truly unique experience for people around the world. Now offering more than 3.2 million titles across 68 languages Kobo's English catalogue doubled in 2012.
· Italian, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Afrikaans, German, Spanish, and Catalan grew by nearly 200,000 titles with continued growth as new titles become available.
· Kobo grew its Manga, comics, graphic novels, and illustrated non-fiction titles by 1900 percent in 2012.
· The company continues to work with leading publishers and authors to provide customers with the ability to pre-order 2013 titles such as Dan Brown's Inferno.
Since the launch of its self-publishing platform Kobo Writing Life in July 2012, Kobo has signed up ten-thousand authors from 96 countries who have published more than 60,000 titles across 40 languages.
"Kobo's self-publishing program has engaged a wide variety of publishers and authors to quickly publish new and back-listed titles with Kobo," said Mark Lefebvre, Director Self-Publishing and Author Relations, Kobo. "We've designed Kobo Writing Life to put the power of publishing into an author's hand without impeding them with hidden fees. It's the most flexible platform available today and as a result, 98 percent of our authors publish works internationally."