E-book retailer Kobo is opening a German e-bookstore offering about 80,000 German-language titles. The launch will feature the release of German language apps for the Apple and Android OS devices and the Blackberry Playbook. A German version of the Kobo Touch, its 5” e-ink touchscreen e-reader, will be released in August.
Calling Kobo a “global platform,” Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis said, “The European reading community is hungry for e-books, and with our rollout in Germany we’re realizing our vision of delivering local content and immersive reading experiences to more readers, on more platforms, in more countries around the world.” The German Kobo store will feature bestsellers, classics and authors familiar to German consumers.
Serbinis also said the launch in Germany is the first of a series of localized international Kobo e-bookstores the company will start over the next year, with plans to launch e-bookstores in France, Spain, Italy, Holland and Latin America.
The launch of the German Kobo (kobobooks.de) will also include a German language version of Reading Life, Kobo’s social reading software. Reading Life offers a range of features that allow readers to track their reading statistics (time, pages read and more) and share their reading lists and stats with friends. The software also offers gaming features that provide humorous notifications as well as German-language badges and awards for hitting reading benchmarks. Users can download the new German apps from the Apple App store, Android Market and from Blackberry App World. Apps can also be downloaded here.
In an interview at the PW offices, Serbinis said Kobo has been growing steadily, from about 3 million users during the BookExpo America in May to more than 4 million users today. He also emphasized the “localization” of Kobo’s thrust on the international market and said the German Kobo was being managed by a Kobo team of about 12 based in Germany. “We’ve had people in Germany for the last six months getting this set up and our team will be overseeing German-language merchandising and marketing.”
Serbinis said, “We believe our country-specific launch into Germany as well as our upcoming entries into Spain, France, Italy and The Netherlands will be embraced by the European eReading community as consumers seek to build their lifetime digital libraries, reading over multiple devices, whether eReader, smartphone, tablet, desktop or netbook.”