Borders introduces eBook services

Books retailer releases the Kobo e-reader and launched its eBook delivery service

Books retail giant, Borders, has released its e-reader device called Kobo and introduced an eBook delivery service. The content is hosted in the cloud.

The reader features a 6-inch screen and is made by global eBook company, Kobo, a business Borders own in partnership with global retailers.

Kobo also powers the eBook service.

At a launch event in Sydney, Borders showed off the Kobo. It holds 1000 eBooks with its default memory.

Priced at $199, it is being pitched as a cheaper alternative to Amazon’s Kindle e-readers which start from $US259.

The retailer has partnered with over 100 publishers to bring more than two million titles into eBook format. They can be downloaded from the Borders website. All titles use the ePub standard, which means it is compatible with multiple devices including iPhones, iPads, Blackberrys and various Android phones.

Content can be downloaded directly onto iPhones and iPads through a Borders app.

One eBook can be accessed across all compatible devices at no extra cost. On average, an eBook costs up to $15.

Content is hosted internally by Borders.

REDgroup Retail, owner of Borders Australia, was upfront about its ambitions to topple Amazon’s dominance in the online books market.

The online merchant site is popular around the world and its Kindle e-reader was met with great fanfare when it was released last year.

“We are the eBook store for Australian eBook readers,” REDgroup managing director, Dave Fenlon, said. “Today is the first day in our journey to build the most complete eBook offering for readers.”

The Kobo reader has no option for Internet access and requires a desktop connection for books to be uploaded onto it.

Stephen Cane, a REDGroup director, said in-store kiosks for Kobo owners to procure eBooks from Borders outlets was a possibility.

“There are already kiosks today for customers to look at books online so I’m sure it will happen in due course,” he said.

Cane said the eBook platform was unlikely to have any overtly negative effects on Borders retail outlets.

“We look at overall sales,” he said. “Certainly the experience in the US so far is that e-readers are increasing the number of book readers so it’s a good thing for the industry. It is the reason why we are going into this and keeping our bricks and mortar stores.”

The Kobo e-reader is available from Borders retail stores and www.borders.com.au.

More eBooks will be released in due course.

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