Kobo and American Booksellers Association bringing e-wares to indie bookstores

The e-book vs. real-book debate is very much a matter of opinion, so it's only fitting that the two learn to get along. Kobo and the American Booksellers Association seem to think so too, which is why they are teaming up to bring the Kobo's devices, accessories and virtual shelves to independent bookstores across America. Around 2,000 indie retailers are included in the plan, with the first 400 expected to get tooled and trained this fall. Although the stores will take a cut of Kobo's sales, we can't see any long-term benefits for them, but what do you make of the increasing physical presence of e-readers? Is it a move towards peaceful co-existence, or a case of "keep my enemy closer"?

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Kobo powers eBooks and eReaders for local bookstores

NEW YORK – August 29, 2012 – Kobo, a leader in eReading with over 10 million registered users worldwide, and the American Booksellers Association (ABA) today announced a new partnership to bring Kobo's world-class eReading platform to independent bookstores across the United States. By partnering with the nearly 2,000 ABA-member stores, Kobo continues its successful strategy of working with booksellers around the world, and America's indie booksellers grow their ability to discover and deliver great reads, in any format, to their customers.

In partnership with the ABA, Kobo has developed a unique program designed for independent booksellers and their customers. Booksellers will be able to offer a total experience for their customers including a full line of eReaders, eReading accessories, and ebooks from Kobo's catalog of nearly 3 million titles. ABA members will share in the revenue on every sale. The program includes valuable training, in-store merchandising, marketing, sales, and logistics solutions to help independents be successful. ABA members will also be able to offer ebooks directly to their customers online. Kobo expects to launch with the first 400 bookstores this fall.

"We are very excited to work with the ABA and independent bookstores across America to bring an Indie alternative to the eReading market," said Mike Serbinis, CEO, Kobo. "With this partnership, we are confident that independents will a world class offering for their loyal customers and a voice in the digital transformation."

"We are pleased to offer our ABA members a competitive eBook retailing solution uniquely crafted to meet the needs of independent booksellers and their customers," said Oren Teicher, CEO, American Booksellers Association. "Through this partnership with Kobo, indie bookstore customers will have access to a broad and diverse inventory of eBooks. Today's readers want a first-class shopping experience, both in-store and online, and this new partnership allows indie booksellers to meet the ever-changing needs of shoppers in a dynamic marketplace."


Since its inception in 2009, Kobo has built a global base of over 10 million registered users in 190 countries, and one of the largest eBook stores in the world with 3 million books, newspapers and magazines with titles ranging from the NYT bestseller list, the hottest new releases, Indie Next List and Bestseller List titles, and over a million free books with titles in 60 languages. With one of the largest content catalogs in the world, a line of award winning eReaders available in 7 languages, free eReading Apps, and the newly launched self-publishing program, Kobo Writing Life – Kobo has a rich eReading ecosystem and a unique win-win approach to the market.


Kobo and the ABA share fundamental values that are rooted in the love of reading. The ABA and its independent bookstore members introduce newly discovered titles to readers, as well as support freedom of speech, literacy, and programs that encourage reading. Kobo's Read Freely philosophy supports an open platform and adoption of industry standards to ensure that people own the books they buy and are never locked to one device or service. Additionally Kobo offers free eReading apps so people can read conveniently anytime, anyplace from a device they already own. With Kobo, consumers can easily browse and shop from the Kobo eBookstore and automatically sync their library across most popular devices including iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, and smartphones, as well as all Kobo eReaders.


In less than three years since the company was founded, Kobo has developed a successful turnkey solution that enables a wide variety of retailers – both large and small – to capitalize on the eReading growth occurring around the world. First-class brick-and-mortar booksellers like Indigo, Fnac, WHSmith, Mondadori, Collins, Future Shop/Best Buy, Target and others have taken advantage of what has become known as Kobo's "Playbook" to quickly introduce eReading to their customers and ultimately creating new streams of revenue by making eBooks more accessible around the world. Through the partnership with ABA, Kobo adds to this network nearly 2,000 independent bookstores that will be able to take advantage of Kobo's unique services, including one of the largest content catalogs available today and line-up of accessible eReading devices and free eReading applications.

"This partnership signifies a tipping point for independent booksellers around the world and Kobo is leading the way," said Serbinis. "We expect to quickly bring our unique offering to independents globally."