Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Kobo Partners with Independent Bookstores to Ramp Up Presence in U.S

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Kobo Partners with Independent Bookstores to Ramp Up Presence in U.S

Article excerpt

Kobo partners with independent bookstores

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TORONTO - Kobo's new partnership with U.S. independent booksellers will give loyal indie customers the option of digital reading, while continuing to support their local bookstore.

The Toronto-based, Japanese owned, e-reader company said Wednesday it has struck a deal with the American Booksellers Association to sell its device and ebooks through independent U.S. bookstores.

"It gives us a new demographic, not so much age but in terms of how these people have typically read," said Todd Humphrey, the company's executive vice-president of business development.

Through the deal, Kobo is hoping to convert some of those "true blood readers" who may have been reluctant to make the switch to digital reading.

While some just prefer the feel of a physical book, Kobo is counting on other readers who are focused on supporting independent booksellers. Many of those shops have been forced to close shop as big chains become more dominant and more readers make the switch to ebooks.

"We are very quickly starting to attract that 'true blood' reader," Humphrey said.

"The other thing some of those true readers have is a really strong affiliation, not with a big box book store but with their independent, with their local bookstore."

Kobo expects to launch its partnership with nearly 2,000 ABA-member stores this fall, starting with 400 stores.

Through the partnership, customers will be able to purchase Kobo devices and a suite of products at local bookstores and also access Kobo's catalogue of more than 2.5 million titles through the website of their favourite store.

"They'll be able to work with their customers and say 'here's a new platform upon which to read and here's everything you need to do so right out of the gate'," Humphrey said.

Currently, Kobo and its rival e-reader device companies sell their devices, as well as their catalogue, through big box stores like Indigo and Chapters in Canada. …

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