Exactly how many eBook stores do we need? Depends. If you own a dedicated e-reader then one is all you get. Own a tablet or smartphone and the world of eBook stores is pretty much yours for the taking through competing apps. Borders looks to be taking a hybrid approach by offering up the $150 Kobo, $120 Aluratek Libre (available July 20th), $170 Sony Touch, and $150 Sony Pocket eReaders and today's launch of a self-branded eBook store powered by Kobo's catalog of more than 1.5 million titles -- "thousands" of which are free and available in a variety of formats including ePub (primarily) and PDF. Borders also has desktop PC and Mac apps ready for download in addition to a few apps listed as "coming soon" for both Android and BlackBerry devices -- these join the apps already released for Apple's iOS. It just went live so why not hit the source and have a browse.
P.S. Funny enough, there's not a single mention of Spring Design's Alex on Borders' new site. Funny sad, not ha ha.
Update: The Android and BlackBerry apps are now live.
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Borders Opens eBook Store with Goal to Secure 17 percent eBook Market Share
Company Also Introduces BlackBerry® and Android™ Applications Following Recent iPhone and iPad Releases
ANN ARBOR, Mich., July 7, 2010-Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE: BGP) today announced the launch of the Borders branded eBook store, powered by global eReading service Kobo™. Borders' goal is to secure a 17 percent share of the eBook market by July 2011.
Borders' eBook store launches with more than 1.5 million titles, including thousands of free titles, available in a variety of formats, including ePub, mobile and PDF. The store launch follows the successful introduction of the Borders iPhone and iPad apps, powered by Kobo, as well as the introduction of the Kobo eReader and Aluratek Libre eReader on Borders.com. Both devices, which are value-priced at under $150, have surpassed sales expectations.
To provide additional value around its digital offerings, the retailer will offer its Borders Rewards® loyalty program members benefits ranging from special gift cards and free shipping on certain items, to exclusive offers on popular digital series, double Borders Bucks™ incentives on the purchase of eReaders, as well as other valuable offers. More than 38 million members have signed up for the Rewards program since it launched in 2006.
"The race to emerge as a retail leader within the digital category is just starting," said Mike Edwards, Chief Executive Officer for Borders, Inc. "During the past several months, we've been carefully crafting a digital strategy, one that has great content and a device neutral philosophy backed by the Borders brand as its cornerstones. We believe we are very well positioned to come out strong and to ultimately claim about a 17 percent eBook market share by this time next year."
Borders' Consumer Research
According to Borders' consumer research, convenience, choice, content and quality hardware rank at the top of the attributes readers look for in an ideal digital bookstore experience. The launch of the company's eBook store will be complemented by its strong in-store digital presence through its upcoming Area-e sections, where customers will be able to try out a number of eReading devices before making a purchase. Area-e sections, which will be in virtually all Borders stores by early September, will be staffed by knowledgeable associates, who will demo products and answer customers' questions.
Research further shows that eReaders priced below $200 are likely to be the most gifted items this holiday season. The Kobo eReader ($149), which also comes with 100 free titles, and the Libre eBook Reader Pro ($119), both of which are priced to fit most budgets, position Borders for strong consumer adoption and market penetration. The Kobo eReader is currently available in select Borders stores and can be ordered on Borders.com anytime. The Libre eBook Reader Pro can also be ordered on Borders.com.
Borders Opens eBook Store with Goal to Secure 17% eBook Market Share -- 2
Blackberry and Android Applications
The company also announced today it is making available to consumers Blackberry® and Android™ eReading applications, also powered by Kobo. Now customers can enjoy the free, easy-to-use eBook reading applications on the BlackBerry® Curve™, the new BlackBerry® Tour™ 9630 and the Blackberry® Bold™, as well as Android devices. These apps enable users to quickly and easily browse and buy eBooks; search by title, author, topic, or keyword; access their eBook library; download eBooks for offline reading; and enjoy several enhanced reading features that amplify the digital reading experience. Users can download the free BlackBerry and Android apps in the Borders branded eBook store at www.borders.com. The launch of these apps represents another pillar in Borders' digital rollout - an important part of its commitment to enable customers to enjoy digital books on a wide variety of devices.
About "Powered by Kobo": Kobo, Inc.
"Powered by Kobo" is an eBook partner program from Kobo, a global eBook service backed by Indigo Books & Music, Borders Group, REDgroup Retail, and Cheung Kong Holdings. The 'Powered by Kobo' program provides a flexible solution for hardware manufacturers and retailers worldwide to launch an eReader or eBook store. "Powered by Kobo" partners have access to Kobo's catalogue of more than two million titles and applications for smartphones, netbooks, laptops, tablets and dedicated eReaders. Kobo's vision is to deliver any book on any device and is a strong voice in the eBook industry supporting open standards for eBooks and eReaders. For more information, visit www.kobobooks.com.
About Borders Group, Inc.
Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., through its subsidiaries, Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE: BGP) is a leading specialty retailer of books as well as other educational and entertainment items. The company employs approximately 19,500 throughout the U.S., primarily in its Borders(R) and Waldenbooks(R) stores. Online shopping is offered through borders.com. Find author interviews and vibrant discussions of the products we and our customers are passionate about online at facebook.com/borders, twitter.com/borders and youtube.com/bordersmedia. For more information about the company, visit borders.com/media.