Originally Posted by Synamon
Now that Amazon has started shipping the Kindle Touch wifi to Canada it will be interesting to see if Kobo can maintain their market share. Kobo had a huge advantage in Canada last year since none of the new Kindle models (Touch, Fire) introduced in the fall were meant to be sold outside the US. Many of the Kindle features such as ebook lending, library books, special offers, Amazon Prime, etc. do not work in Canada, which evens the playing field here for Kobo.
I think the real strength for Kobo is the partnership with Chapters/Coles/Indigo. The market dominance of that chain in book retail in Canada is hard to overstate. I think the Kindle Touch, whatever its merits, won't move the numbers much I predict.
I think the takeaway from this is that partnering with a dominant retail player (if a given market has a dominant book retailer) pays dividends. Would Kobo be the market leader in Canada without Chapters/Indigo having them in every store? Doubtful. Would the Nook, whatever its merits, be a strong second player to the Kindle in the U.S. if it was sold only in electronic stores? I doubt it.
That's Kobo's strategy going forward, and probably exactly for that reason: they saw what a huge impact it made in Canada. It will be interesting to see if they can replicate that success in the UK with WH Smith, in the Netherlands (where they have partnered with what they claim is the book retail market leader, though it's actually an alliance of small independents), and France.
I think the Kindle Fire could be a disruptive force in the Canadian market, but that might be more for the tablet market than the e-reader market. The Fire would likely only be a disruptive force in the Canadian market if, as you say, they actually roll out all the Amazon Prime services (streaming video, etc.) here, otherwise Canadians will feel jilted (well, moreso than they already feel with all the other things Amazon can't and/or won't offer to Canadian customers
I think the really knowledgeable ebook purchasers, the ones aware of a site like this, probably are considering the respective strengths of different e-ink readers in making their decision(s) on which to buy. I think for the mass market, they're buying based on familiarity (the Kindle brand has an edge there), convenience (the Kobo has an edge in this regard in Canada due to the biggest book retail network selling them in store), and the strength of the ecosystem (that's probably a wash overall).