ANN ARBOR, Mich., July 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- 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 with 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.
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.
Safe Harbor Statement
This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. One can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of words such as "expect," "planning," "possibility," "opportunity," "goal," "will," "may," "intend," "anticipates," "working toward" and other words of similar meaning. One can also identify them by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. These statements are likely to address matters such as the company's future financial condition and performance (including earnings per share, profitability, liquidity, cash flows, debt levels, market share growth and other sales information, inventory levels and capital expenditures), its cost reduction initiatives and plans for store closings and the expansion of product categories, including eBook content and eReaders. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and plans to differ materially from those included in the company's forward-looking statements.
These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, consumer demand for the company's products, particularly during the holiday season, which is believed to be related to general economic and geopolitical conditions, competition and other factors; the availability of adequate capital--including vendor credit--to fund the company's operations and to carry out its strategic plans; adverse litigation results or other claims, the performance of the company's information technology systems and, with respect to eBook content and eReaders, the availability to the company of anticipated content levels and a variety of competitive devices.
The company's periodic reports filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission contain more detailed discussions of these and other risk factors that could cause actual results and plans to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements, and those discussions are incorporated herein by reference. The company does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements.
SOURCE Borders Group, Inc.