WHSmith is squaring up to Amazon with the launch of the Kobo eReader, retailing at the same price of an Amazon Kindle eReader.
The Kobo Touch eReader will be stocked across 750 WHSmith stores from Monday 17th October at a starting price of £89.
The Kobo Touch come in a range of four colours with a quilted back. It weighs 185g, E-ink screen and Wi-Fi connection to browse the eBook store.
The touchscreen version retails at £109.99.
The device can hold up to 1,000 books (with expandable storage up to 30,000 books). The Kobo ebook catalogue has over 2.5 million books, newspapers and magazines to choose from, including one million free contemporary and classic titles – like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Unlike Amazon’s popular Kindle e-reader, the Kobo has an ‘open book’ policy, which means users can shop from ‘open’ eBook retailers, such as Google eBooks which launched in the UK in October this year.
“Kobo proudly supports electronic publishing and encourages our users to read a Kobo-purchased eBook on their smartphone, laptop, Kobo eReader (other eReaders using open standards), or other popular devices they choose. Kobo is dedicated to an open cloud-based platform, enabling users to read on any device, and with open standards that give users the freedom to build their lifetime libraries as they choose,” said Kobo.
Kobo is dedicated to an open cloud-based platform, enabling users to read on any device, and with open standards that give users the freedom to build their lifetime libraries as they choose
Considering WHSmith has been struggling in face of demand for online books and magazines, this could give it the boost its business needs.
It would be cool if you could walk into ‘Smiths, have a gander at the books in the paper-flesh and then scan (perhaps using NFC/RFID tags on your phone linked to a WHSmith Wallet service) and download the book onto your reader in-store.
The techie stuff:
With Kobo, users can read ePUB, PDF and MOBI format eBooks; view JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and TIFF images; review TXT, HTML and RTF materials; and enjoy CBZ and CBR comic book formats. Consumers can also easily borrow and read eBooks from the local public library.