Kobo, the e-reader that Borders has partnered with, doesn’t have the successful reputation that the Kindle and Nook have, but it does have an advantage on the international scene. The e-reader has had a global focus from the beginning. This would be a great niche to excel in.
Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has a library of about 25, 000 German titles, but Kobo has launched an e-book store that boasts a whopping 80,000 German titles. I was surprised to find that Germany has the 2nd largest e-book market in the world. The United States is the first.
This is a competition to watch because, in order to succeed on a global scale, an e-reader needs to have a robust collection of digital material available. Amazon is certainly able to do this. They just need to establish good relationships with foreign authors and publishers. Here is some healthy competition giving Amazon a wake up call at another angle.
In the past, I’ve noticed a lot of reviewers from other countries have been frustrated with the restrictions on various Kindle products because they’re not accessible. Downloading books outside of the US is pretty costly.
I’ve always associated Kobo with the Borders book chain. Borders is currently being threatened by liquidators and will most likely flop here soon. When I saw this, I wondered, well what about Kobo?
Turns out, Kobo is a completely separate entity than Borders and is a financially secure, Canadian based company. So, nothing will be lost if Borders does go down. Kobo’s newest e-reader, the Kobo Touch, along with the Nook Touch both have an edge that the Kindle doesn’t have…yet. But, that is about to change. Good to see these e-readers try to outrank each other and get better and better. The price drops certainly don’t hurt either!
What I’d really like to see is a global collaboration of sorts. Access to books shouldn’t be restricted by travel. That cuts down the portability of an e-reader. Technology has connected society on a global scale. It’d be cool if everyone could have access to a diverse collection of books from different languages.