Continuing the international expansion it began last year, e-book retailer Kobo announced an agreement with U.K. retailer WHSmith at the London Book Fair to open branded Kobo shops within 100 WHSmith High Street retail stores in 2012. The new Kobo/WHSmith “stores with a store” will offer the three Kobo e-readers—Kobo Touch, Kobo Vox tablet and Kobo Wireless—for sale in addition to Kobo accessories and provide support and information on digital reading for WHSmith customers.
The 100 branded Kobo/WHSmith stores will feature Kobo staff to assist consumers and provide a physical store presence for the online e-book retailer to sell and support its e-reading devices. The stores will offer the Kobo Vox tablet for £149.99, the Kobo Touch for £79.99 and the Kobo Wireless for £59.99. The Kobo devices will also be available for sale through the WHSmith website.
The WHSmith agreement is Kobo’s latest example of the company’s international growth. Kobo also offers localized e-bookstores in Germany, Ireland, Hong Kong, The Netherlands and other countries. Kobo was acquired in November 2011 by the Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten and offers content in 60 languages across 190 countries.
Kobo CEO Mike Serbinis said the new “Kobo experiential shops” will, “educate WHSmith customers and introduce them to the benefits of Kobo. We know that in partnership with WHSmith, we will deliver an engaging in-store experience that will demonstrate our expertise, best-in-class design, easy user experience and innovative product line.”