Kobo Sets Sights On Billion-Reader Opportunity As It Introduces World-Class eReading Experience To India Leading booksellers choose Kobo as the partner of choice to deliver a fully localized digital reading experience and award-winning devices to Indian market

TORONTO, Oct. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Kobo, a global leader in eReading, and leading Indian booksellers Crossword, WHSmith and electronics retailer Croma, today announced the arrival of Kobo's digital reading platform in India. Passionate Readers now have access to an award-winning line-up of devices, one of the largest content catalogues in the world, along with Kobo's top-ranked apps for iOS, Android, Microsoft, and BlackBerry platforms. The device line-up, featuring a range of best-in-class E Ink and tablet devices, includes the Kobo Touch™, Kobo Glo, Kobo Arc and Kobo Aura HD.

Starting today, Kobo will be available in retail locations across India through its partnerships with Crossword, WHSmith and Croma. Readers will also have access to Kobo's eBookstore, one of the largest in the world, featuring nearly 4-million titles across 68 languages including ninety-five percent of India's bestselling content featuring work from top-selling Indian authors including Jhumpa Lahiri, Ramachandra Guha and Sachin Garg to international bestselling authors like Dan Brown, John Grisham and Lee Child.

"As e-commerce continues to expand and demand for digital content continues to grow, we are thrilled to be launching in India and look forward to introducing passionate Readers to our world-class digital reading platform," said Wayne White, Executive Vice President & General Manager, Kobo. "India is in the early stages of what we believe is a 25-year transformation from print to digital reading. In partnership with some of the leading booksellers and retailers in the country, Kobo is poised to lead this transformation, by delivering a fully localized experience designed to meet the increased demand for digital content in India."

Kobo is the global leader in providing passionate Readers with a selection of high quality content. The title list continues to grow and expand to include content from thousands of local and international publishers and authors including self-published authors through Kobo Writing Life. 

"Traditionally known as the land of storytelling, it was important to us that we enter the market with an offering that met the expectations of a discerning Indian audience who are passionate about the books they read," said Michael Tamblyn, Chief Content Officer, Kobo. "We are delivering an experience that delivers the very best from around the world and titles from the most beloved local authors. In partnership with some of the best retailers, we'll set the standard for digital reading in India."

Kobo is a global company that creates localized experiences with a dedicated team focused on building new partnerships in the local market with the objective of delivering an industry leading digital reading experience to meet increased local demand.

"With e-commerce in the midst of a rebirth and a steady increase in demand for more digital content, the time is right for Kobo in India," said Haja Sheriff, Country Director – India, Kobo. "Literature and the love of storytelling are ingrained in our culture and the Kobo platform will make it easier than ever before for Indians to access to the stories they love – anytime, anyplace and on any device."  

In a survey* commissioned by Kobo and conducted by Ipsos India, 93 percent of self-identified Readers, said they are familiar with eReading devices or apps that allow for reading across a variety of devices and 56 percent said they would prefer to read digital content on a dedicated eReading device. Furthermore, 54 percent of respondents said they would read more if they had an eReader that provided them with access to their own digital library anytime, anywhere, anyplace.

"Crossword aims to be a point of cultural and social interaction - a place and space for people who seek information and knowledge through the pleasure of reading," Kinjal Shah, COO, Crossword. "Kobo was the natural choice when looking for a partner to enhance our offering to book lovers by bringing them what we believe to be the leading digital reading platform in the industry."

"Our partnership with Kobo aligns with our commitment to deliver the latest and the best technology to our customers. We've once again been named as the Most Admired Retailer for the 6th consecutive year because of such efforts." said Mr. Ajit Joshi, MD & CEO, Infiniti Retail Ltd., Croma. "Kobo's award-winning line-up of E Ink and tablet devices allows us to deliver an unmatched digital reading experience to meet the growing demand of our customers."  

"Having enjoyed tremendous success working with Kobo in other international markets, we are thrilled to expand our partnership to include WHSmith locations in India," said Surjit Verma, Vice President Commercial, WHSmith. "As leading purveyors of books, magazines and stationary, we look forward to providing a complete reading experience to our Indian customers with the introduction of Kobo's digital reading platform to our stores."

To celebrate Kobo's launch in India, and Festival of Lights, special Diwali pricing will be available until November 3 on select Kobo devices including:

  • Kobo Arc available at Rs. 9999 (regularly priced at  Rs.11, 999)
  • Kobo Touch at Rs. 6999 (regularly priced at Rs. 7,999)

Free or discounted ebook offers will also be available with the purchase of Kobo devices or with the download of a Kobo app for a limited time.

KOBO TOUCH – THE MOST NATURAL READING EXPERIENCE (MRP Rs. 7, 999)
The award-winning Kobo Touch eReader is equipped with an anti-glare 6" Pearl E Ink touchscreen that offers the closest experience to reading print on paper and is easy on the eyes – even in bright sunlight. The thin and lightweight Kobo Touch is highly portable and offers many ways to personalize the reading experience.

KOBO GLO – READ COMFORTABLY DAY OR NIGHT (MRP Rs. 10,999)
The front-lit Kobo Glo eReader offers the most even and adjustable ComfortLight technology to enable people to read anytime – day or night. Its durable screen and customizable fonts and page-turning features make it the perfect eReader for the most passionate booklovers. The Kobo Glo uses E Ink technology, and its no-glare XGA high-resolution 6" E Ink screen provides an experience that is just like reading print on paper.

KOBO ARC – READS YOU LIKE A BOOK (MRP Rs. 11, 999)
For Readers who want a full multimedia experience, the Kobo Arc is the perfect Google-certified, 7" Android 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean) multimedia tablet offering great ways to discover content – books, movies, TV shows, music, web pages and more. Tapestries – Kobo's exclusive interface on the Kobo Arc – uses a cross-media engine to recommend related content based on what users 'pin' to their Tapestries. The high-definition display delivers crisp, sharp text and its 16 million color capability brings photos and videos to life.

KOBO AURA HD – DESIGNED FOR PASSIONATE READERS (MRP Rs. 13,999)
Kobo Aura HD offers the highest-resolution screen available in an eReader today. At 265 dpi, the spacious 6.8" Pearl E Ink touchscreen offers 30 percent more reading surface and the closest experience to print-on-paper – showcasing text and high-resolution images beautifully. The device's 1GHz processor makes page turns fly and is the fastest eReader on the market – 25 percent faster.

*The survey commissioned by Kobo and conducted by Ipsos India, examined responses from 1,000 people who self-identified as readers from Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune.

About Kobo Inc.

Kobo Inc. is one of the world's fastest-growing eReading services offering nearly 4-million eBooks, magazines and newspapers to millions of customers in 190 countries.  Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides consumers with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders and Google-Certified Android tablets to suit any Reader's style including the award-winning Kobo Touch™, Kobo Mini, Kobo Glo, Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura HD, Kobo Arc, Kobo Arc 7, Kobo Arc 7HD, and Kobo Arc 10HD. Along with the company's free top-ranking eReading apps for Apple®, BlackBerry®, Android®, and Windows®, Kobo ensures the next great read is just a page-turn away. Headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten, Kobo eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit www.kobo.com.

About Crossword

Crossword, with 84 stores, across Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bhopal, Bengalooru, Chennai, Delhi, Durgapur, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kota, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Nasik, Pune, Siliguri, Udaipur, Vapi, Vadodara and Vijayawada is India's fastest growing chain of bookstores & has pioneered the lifestyle bookstore concept in India. The objective of Crossword is to build readers and develop a reading community in India through its bookstores. Crossword sells Books, toys, stationery, magazines , movies and music.

Crossword was ranked the 6th most admired retailer in India by Business world for the year 2006; it was the only book retailer in the top 10. Crossword won the Reid & Taylor Award for Best Retailer of the year – Leisure & Specialty at the India Retail Summit 2005 & 2007& 2009. It also won the Star Retailer Award for the Best Lifestyle Retailer in Books & Music in 2011. Crossword won the Retailer of the Year Award - Leisure (Books, Music and Gifts Category) at the Images Retail Awards 2005 & 2007& 2009. Crossword received the Federation of Indian Publishers Award for excellence in Publishing for the year 2004 on 18th June 2005 at the hands of Shri Arjun Singh, Minister of Human Resource Development. Crossword won the Debutant E-tailer of the year - books - at India eRetail Awards 2012. In 2013 Crossword won the ET Retail Award for Excellence in Marketing award for The Popular Award.

Crossword Bookstores Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary Company of Shopper's Stop Ltd – India's leading department store chain. The Holding Company inter-alia also acts as a Master Franchisee of the Company. For detail visit www.crossword.in

About WHSmith

Conferred with the mandate to set up, operate and manage WHSmith exclusive Books, News and Convenience formats in the country, TNSI has emerged as one of the largest retailer of books and magazines in organized retail and is expected to secure top honors by the end of 2013. Through its 24 outlets spread over an area of 25,000 sq. ft. in 6 cities, Travel News caters to over 40 million air travelers and 10 million consumers in non-airport locations every year. We have demonstrated very strong performance with robust year on year growth thereby benefitting all the stakeholders. Our core retail formats includes news, books and convenience stores, premium bookshops and high quality book cafes. We also customize books/convenience kiosks for extremely small locations. We employ over 500 retail professionals across various verticals at different locations in India. We have strong backend processes and infrastructure which include robust IT support and state of the art warehousing facilities spread over an area of 15,000 sq. ft. across 4 cities in India.

About Croma

Croma is a chain of multi branded electronics retail stores in India. Croma is run by Infiniti Retail Limited, a Tata Enterprise a globally recognized brand that stands for trust and reliability. Launched in October 2006, the chain now has 94 outlets across 16 major cities of India. Croma sells over 6000 products in the stores from 5 lead categories namely Home appliances, Entertainment, IT products, Digital imaging and Communication. Croma came in with a strong intent to help consumers in their buying process. This is aptly expressed in the brand's tagline- "We help you buy". The pillars on which this promise stands are Knowledgeable and helpful staff, wide range of brands and products, post-sale service assurance and International shopping experience. Dedication and adherence to this brand promise has earned the company "Most Admired Retailer" – Consumer Electronics award for 6 years in a row from the Indian Retail Forum. For more details contact Croma toll free Helpline Number : 1800 258 3636 or visit www.cromaretail.com

For more information please contact:

Ketaki Golatkar
Account Director, Edelman
+91 77382 31238
Ketaki.golatkar@edelman.com

David Gollom
Director, Public Relations, Kobo
+1-416-420-0852
dgollom@kobo.com

SOURCE Kobo



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