Kobo Announces Partnership with Leading UK Retailer WHSmith to Deliver the Kobo eReading Platform and eReaders to Customers

Oct 13, 2011, 08:00 ET from Kobo Inc.

Brings Best-in-Class Kobo eReaders to UK Consumers

Largest Global Bookstore  with over 2.5 Million Titles  and over 1 Million Free Books

TORONTO, Oct. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - Kobo, a global leader in eReading with over 5 million users worldwide, announced today a partnership with WHSmith to sell Kobo eReaders in over 750 High Street, airport, and railway stores across the United Kingdom - as well as online at www.whsmith.co.uk. This partnership builds on the recent news announcement that Kobo has launched in France, expanding on the Kobo strategy of delivering eReading globally, with the objective of delivering local content and an immersive reading experience to more readers, in more countries around the world.

"Readers in the UK have been looking for an eBook service that encompasses an end-to-end eReading experience, best-in-class eReaders, and a world class catalogue - we are excited to be able to partner with WHSmith and fulfill that need. This announcement expands on several recent partnership announcements from Kobo building on our international strategy to secure top-tier retail partners", said Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo. "As we continue our expansion into Europe, WHSmith was Kobo's first choice to bring our best-in-class eReader to UK stores.  We value our partnership and look forward to delivering a superior reading experience to UK consumers."

Kate Swann, CEO of WHSmith, said: "WHSmith is pleased to be working with Kobo to bring its world class eReaders and eBookstore to the UK and Irish markets. The partnership with Kobo further extends our presence in this developing market whilst complementing our physical books business".

Starting on October 17, 2011, WHSmith will offer two models of the Kobo eReader; the Kobo Wi Fi and the Kobo Touch to provide customers with a choice of devices that best meets their reading needs. The eReaders, starting at just £89.99, are available in an array of colors and debut with a line of stylish accessories, making them the perfect gift for the upcoming Holiday season.

Kobo has developed a line of eReaders that are focused on delivering an easy, simple, reading experience - intuitive navigation, with a contemporary design to allow for a clutter free reading experience.  All Kobo devices are designed with the signature Kobo quilted back, to provide the optimal in reading comfort.  Kobo eReaders are light and stylish, and make the perfect travel companion, as they fit easily into a purse or suit pocket.  Plus, consumers can easily connect easily with Wi Fi to shop and browse the Kobo eBook store on the go.  With a selection of fonts and font sizes, consumers can customize their experience to best meet their reading needs.

THE KOBO WI FI FOR THE LOW PRICE OF £89.99 - Everything the booklover needs!

  • Single D-pad navigation - easily navigate books with the soft navigation pad
  • Includes 100 pre-loaded free and engaging classic reads
  • Easy-on-the eyes - E Ink screen lets you read comfortably, even in bright sunlight
  • Holds up to 1,000 eBooks - up to 10,000 eBooks with a 32 GB SD memory card
  • Comes in three stylish colors: Lilac, Silver and Onyx

THE KOBO TOUCH EDITION £109.99 - Ultimate reading experience: lighter, faster, and with touch!

  • Simple and intuitive touch screen navigation, that is just like reading a book with Real Touch™ technology
  • Free Previews - free excerpts of 15 popular books ready to read
  • Newest E Ink Screen with Pearl Technology and featuring 16 level grey scale for the sharpest reading experience
  • Holds up to 1,000 eBooks - Expandable storage for up to 30,000 books
    Comes in four stylish colors: Lilac, Silver, blue and Onyx
    Earn awards just for reading - with Reading Life!

The Kobo global store offers one of the largest content catalogues - with a selection of over 2.5 million eBooks, newspapers and magazines with bestselling titles, the hottest new releases, thrillers, romance, and more. In addition to its global store, Kobo has locally merchandised English language stores in the US, Canada, Germany (localised), UK, France, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong

WHSmith consumers will have access to the largest eBook catalogue in UK with over 2.2 million titles- featuring a rich assortment of local content, merchandised to the tastes and preferences of readers across England, with the latest releases and bestsellers from popular English authors.

Plus, Kobo offers over 1 million free engaging contemporary and classic titles from Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice, to Dracula - for consumers to download and read for free.

Kobo believes that open standards for eBooks are best for consumers, publishers, retailers and hardware manufacturers. Kobo proudly supports EPUB and encourages our users to read a Kobo-purchased eBook on their smartphone, laptop, Kobo eReader (other eReaders using open standards), or other popular devices they choose. 

With Kobo users can read ePUB, PDF and MOBI format eBooks; view JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and TIFF images; review TXT, HTML and RTF materials; and enjoy CBZ and CBR comic book formats.  Consumers can also easily borrow and read eBooks from the local public library. Kobo is dedicated to an open cloud-based platform, enabling users to read on any device, and with open standards that give users the freedom to build their lifetime libraries as they choose.

As part of the partnership WHSmith consumers will be able to access free Kobo eReading apps so users can read across the most popular devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets, AndroidTM phones, iPhones® , iPads® , Blackberry® Smartphones and PlayBooks. They can easily sync and read from one device to another and pick up from the page they last read.

Kobo will also offer popular social program - Reading Life to WHSmith consumers.  Reading Life is a leading, industry-first social experience that lets passionate readers track and share their love of reading.  With Reading Life, users can connect with friends or book clubs and discuss their favorite books on Facebook, they can track their statistics which provide a tally of their library and reading activity - an insightful way for users to learn about their reading habits. Plus, users can earn awards - just for spending time reading.

About Kobo, Inc.
Kobo is a global eReading service with more than 2.5 million eBooks, magazines and newspapers - one of the largest eReading catalogues in the world.  Read freely - Kobo believes consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device and has attracted millions of readers from over 100 countries across the globe.  Kobo has top ranked eReading applications for iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows and MacOS, and is the eReading application of choice for leading tablet OEMs.  The Kobo Wireless eReader and the Kobo eReader Touch Edition are available at leading retailers, including Indigo, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, WHSmith, Collins Booksellers and Whitcoull's.  Kobo's innovative Reading Life is an industry-first comprehensive social eReading experience - Kobo users can earn awards simply for time spent reading and encouraging others.  Kobo is backed by majority shareholder Indigo Books & Music Inc, Cheung Kong Holdings, and institutional investors.

About WHSmith
WHSmith currently operates from over 1100 stores in the UK and a growing number of international locations, including Melbourne, Delhi and Oman.  WHSmith High Street comprises of more than 600 stores and sells a wide range of stationery, books, newspapers and magazines.  WHSmith Travel comprises of over 560 travel retail units in airports, railway stations, hospitals, workplaces and motorway service areas and sells a tailored offer to meet the needs of people on the move.  Customers can discover the full range of Kobo eReaders and accessories at WHSmith.co.uk/kobo and browse the eBook range at WHSmith.co.uk/eBooks.

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SOURCE Kobo Inc.