Kobo is expanding into France with a new partnership with the book retailer FNAC, which has 81 stores and online sales through fnac.com.

Launching in the fourth quarter of 2011, FNAC will have e-reading experts on hand to give personalised in-store Kobo demonstrations and to introduce and educate their customers to e-reading and Kobo. Kobo uses an open cloud-based platform that allows users to read on any device.

“Partnering with leading bookseller in France, FNAC, brings Kobo closer to our vision of delivering the best eReading experience to more readers, on any device, in more countries around the world,” said Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis. “We believe our launch into France as well as our upcoming entries into Spain, Italy and the Netherlands will be embraced by the European eReading community”

FNAC sells about 50 million print books per year and has about 750,000 unique visitors daily at fnac.com. “Like Kobo, FNAC is passionate about reading and about the opportunity e-books offer to the consumers. We are very excited to move a step forward and partner with Kobo, by bringing “Kobo by FNAC” innovative ereading solution to the French market,” said Alexandre Bompard, CEO, FNAC. “Our common objective is to offer a top notch solution and the largest ebook catalog in order to meet French customer expectations and lead the ebook market in France.”

As part of the partnership Kobo will develop free eReading French language apps for iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® and Android™, and PlayBook™.

Kobo, which was spun off from Canadian book retail chain Indigo Books & Music in late 2009, has 5 million readers in more than 100 countries. Indigo still maintains a controlling interest in Kobo. The Kobo store offers a selection of over 2.5 million eBooks, newspapers and magazines. Kobo’s own eReaders are distributed by retailers such as Best Buy, Target, Indigo Books, Walmart, Collins, Whitcoull’s.