Originally Posted by scrapking
Kobo is a major player internationally, not just in Canada. You're right that they're #1 in Canada (47% of the market there, Kindle only 23%), but Kobo's also reportedly #1 in France. Kobo's #2 in Australia and New Zealand (behind Sony, and ahead of Kindle, in both cases). Recent partnerships in the UK, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, and Brazil have raised Kobo's profile in those countries, and Rakuten is pushing Kobo aggressively in Japan now (a market Kindle has yet to successfully enter).
There are a lot of markets that Kobo is ahead of Kindle now, and the list continues to grow with Kobo's new partnerships. Kobo's strategy is to partner with major brick-and-mortar chains, rather than try to drive them out of business as Amazon is trying to do, which is winning Kobo allies all over. The U.S. market remains tough for them, though, no question, since with the closing of Borders there now is no major unaligned chain to work with. It'll be interesting to see if working with independent U.S. bookstores starting in 2013 nets Kobo dividends in that market or not.
Whether you see Kobo as a major player or not, the industry does.
I find the partnerships with B&M stores baffling (including the ones that Google, Amazon and B&N have done). What is in it for the stores, apart from a small profit on the device? People who try digital reading LIKE it and they make fewer visits to bookstores and buy fewer print books (or at least this appears to be the trend). I'm guessing it involves a commission on ebook sales for the lifespan of the device, but it is difficult to imagine that income could replace regular book sale profits.