Kobo Inc.

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Kobo Inc.
Type Subsidiary
Industry eBooks
Founded Toronto, Ontario, Canada (December 2009 (2009-12))[1]
Founder(s) Michael Serbinis
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Area served Global
Key people Takahito Aiki (CEO)
Greg Twinney
Michael Serbinis (Founder, Former CEO)
Products eBooks, eBook reader, Reading apps, Tablets
Owner(s) Rakuten
Website www.kobo.com

Kobo Inc. (previously Shortcovers[2]) is the company that makes the Kobo eReader, and its headquarters is in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was founded in 2009.[3] The company is owned by Rakuten, Inc. in Japan. Kobo was sold to Rakuten on 8 November 2011 and the transaction closed 11 January 2012.[4][5][6] Before this sale, the majority shareholder was Indigo Books and Music, where Kobo was originally a business division before being spun off. In addition to producing an ereader, Kobo also makes applications for Windows, BlackBerry, iOS, and Android devices.[7] During the 2011 Christmas period, the company saw a record sevenfold growth in sales.[8][9]

The company has strategic partnerships with Cheung Kong Holdings,[10] W H Smith,[7][11] Whitcoulls,[12] FNAC,[13] and Livraria Cultura.[14]

In 2011, the company established a publishing arm.[15]

"Kobo" is an anagram of "book".[2]

Market Share[edit]

Market share of e-readers in Canada by Ipsos Reid in January 2012
[16]
Sellers Percent
Kobo
  
46.0%
Amazon
  
24.0%
Sony
  
18.0%
Others
  
12.0%

While hard independent market research numbers do not yet appear to be publically available for other markets, Michael Serbinis of Kobo has stated that their U.S. marketshare is in the “high single to low double digits.”[17]

Kobo-owner Rakuten's CEO Hiroshi Mikitani has additionally stated that Kobo is "number one in France; they’re ahead of Amazon in Japan, partially because of us, and Australia and New Zealand as well."[18]

Kobo Writing Life[edit]

In July 2012 Kobo unveiled Kobo Writing Life, a platform upon which authors can self-publish their work directly via Kobo's ecosystem, avoiding the middle man.[19] Key features of Kobo Writing Life include "deep analytics", allowing authors to track sales in real time; a "learning center" to guide newcomers in digital publishing; and allowing an author to sell books globally.[20]

Kobo eBook Store[edit]

eBooks as well as newspapers and magazines can be downloaded directly from the Kobo website as well as formerly from the Borders eBook Store. Users could transfer their Borders eBooks to their Kobo library following the closure of Borders.[21] Similarly, when Sony's Reader Store was shut down on 20 March 2014, the company offered a method allowing customers to transfer their existing library to Kobo.[22]

Products[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hartley, Matt (8 November 2011). "New chapter for Kobo as firm sold to Japan’s Rakuten". Financial Post. Archived from the original on 8 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Woods, Stuart (15 December 2009). "Shortcovers rechristened Kobo, with no branded e-reader in sight". Quill & Quire. Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Andriani, Lynn (9 February 2009). "Indigo Unveils Shortcovers, New E-Reading Platform". Publisher's Weekly. Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "E-reader maker Kobo Inc. says its sales to Japan's Rakuten has closed". Toronto: Canadian Business. 11 January 2012. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "Rakuten Completes Acquisition of Kobo". Toronto: Tech Finance. 12 January 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  6. ^ Clark, Shaylin (11 January 2012). "E-reading Company Kobo Sold To Rakuten For $315 Million". WebProNews. Archived from the original on 13 January 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Kobo Announces Partnership with Leading UK Retailer WHSmith to Deliver the Kobo eReading Platform and eReaders to Customers". Market Watch. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Kozlowski, Michael (5 January 2012). "Kobo Experiences Record Growth during the last Six Weeks". Good eReader. Archived from the original on 5 January 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Campbell, Lisa (5 January 2012). "Kobo e-book sales increase seven-fold in December". London, United Kingdom: The Bookseller. Archived from the original on 5 January 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "Indigo Maintains Majority Ownership As Kobo Closes $50 Million Investment Round". CNW Canada Newswire. 19 April 2011. Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Jones, Phillip (21 October 2011). "More detail on the W H Smith Kobo deal". Future Book. Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  12. ^ Biba, Paul (26 April 2010). "Whitcoulls of New Zealand to launch ebooks – Kobo is branching out". TeleRead. Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "Kobo continues global expansion". Kobo Inc. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Kobo partners with Livraria Cultura to sell e-readers in Brazil". PaidContent.org. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Kob to become a publisher". CBC News. 27 October 2011. Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Barbour, Mary Beth (19 April 2012). "BlackBerry, Apple and Kobo Vie for their Share of the Pie in Canada’s Hot Mobile Device Market". Ipsos Reid. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  17. ^ KRASHINSKY AND STRAUSS (6 September 2012). "$315-million Kobo takeover deal a windfall for Indigo". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  18. ^ Geron (6 September 2012). "Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani On Amazon, Pinterest And Fixing Japanese Business". Forbes. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  19. ^ Kozlowski, Michael (18 July 2012). "Kobo Launches the Writing Life Self-Publishing Platform". Good eReader. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  20. ^ Kozlowski, Michael. "Interview with Michael Tamblyn on Kobo Writing Life and International Expansion". Good e-Reader. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  21. ^ Carnoy, David (20 July 2011). "Kobo trying to untangle itelf from Borders mess". CNET. Archived from the original on 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  22. ^ http://blog.sony.com/2014/02/the-future-of-reader-store/

External links[edit]