Today’s the day. Citing a goal to claim 17% of the e-book market by next summer, the Borders Group, in conjunction with e-book retailer Kobo, is launching its own e-bookstore today, offering more than a 1 million free and for-pay titles along with a selection of digital reading devices.
The Borders e-bookstore will offer e-books in a range of formats from ePub, PDF to mobile device formats for the iPhone/iPod Touch, iPad, Blackberry and Android mobile operating systems. Kobo, the e-book retailer, will supply the e-book infrastructure for the Borders’s site and is supplying both the iPhone and iPad apps as well as the Kobo digital reading devices, priced at $149. Borders is also offering the Libre reader for $119 as well as the Sony Readers. Citing its own consumer research, Borders said that consumers want “convenience, choice, content and quality hardware,” and that consumers are looking for e-readers priced below $200 for the holiday shopping season.
The launch of the e-bookstore will be accompanied by the debut of Area-e in most physical Borders Stores, an in-store display area that will be located in stores by the fall that will allow customers to try out devices before they purchase. Borders is also launching a variety of consumer reward plans geared to e-books, including special gift cards and free shipping through its Borders Rewards loyalty program and other exclusive offers and discounts on digital devices. The Borders Rewards program has more than 38 million members.
Despite a late start, Borders CEO Mike Edwards said the retailer is determined to be a serious player in the e-book market. “The race to emerge as a retail leader within the digital category is just starting,” he said. “During the past several months, we’ve been carefully crafting a digital strategy, one that has great content and a device-neutral philosophy backed by the Borders brand as its cornerstones. We believe we are very well positioned to come out strong and to ultimately claim about a 17" eBook market share by this time next year.”