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Old 08-11-2010, 03:13 PM   #1
notyou
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Borders killing Kobo

Ok, not literally, but hey, I got your attention, right? :-)

So I've dropped by two of my local Borders in the Sunnyvale/San Jose area to try and get a look at the Kobo.

In both cases, all they have in the way of an in-store display is this pitiful stand:



Note that those boxes are *empty* and that when I asked to see a demo model, the employee took 10 minutes to call around and ask before being told that their one (!) demo unit was missing.

At another store, they only took about 5 minutes to find their demo unit, but then the employee had to stand around waiting for me to try it out, which was... inconvenient.

Oh right -- there were also some postcards on this display advertising the Aluratek Libre Pro. And in a completely separate display nowhere near the Kobo display (seemed almost intentional), was the sad Sony kiosk, where the Touch Edition always seems to be in a broken demo mode. :-P

Contrast this with the crazy amount of in-store marketing B&N is putting behind the Nook. When I walked into our local B&N, the Nook display is *right there* when you walk in. If you linger for literally more than 30 seconds, a salesman comes running over to start selling you on the thing. Seriously - it's like there's been some corporate mandate that says "Do not let anyone browse on a Nook without holding their hands." On the one hand, it's a little annoying (the guy reminded me of a car salesman - and he was also misinformed about some of the Nook features. ePub "standard" format? Well, kind of. Compatible with iPad? Well, if you download the B&N reader...). But on the other hand, *at least they had 3, maybe 4 devices I could actually hold and use*.

Sad thing is -- I really liked the Kobo. It seemed quite snappy and responsive.

Too bad it's priced too high (relative to the wi-fi only Kindle 3 and Nook) and Borders is doing a crap job of promoting it.

Maybe they'll do something smart like drop them to the magic $99 pricepoint that everybody keeps talking about. But right now, it seems like Borders has seriously dropped the ball.

Last edited by notyou; 08-11-2010 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:16 PM   #2
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Also, even with their company up for sale, B&N really seems to be committing to the Nook. Actually maybe it's *because* of their financial straits that they're going all out:

Barnes & Noble Doubles Down on the Nook
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:36 PM   #3
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I registered just now because I had to say your experience was IDENTICAL to mine. I wonder if you live in Texas - or if not, are you my doppleganger?

Borders had the same kiosk except it wasn't even facing the door. It was facing their register and not at all easy to find. They had to bring out a model unit for me to check out, and while the person that helped me out was really nice and friendly, she watched over me the whole time and wasn't all that helpful.

Then I walked into Barnes and Noble and it was ridiculous how much pomp and circumstance they put behind the Nook. I asked the guy behind that desk if that's all he does and he said yeah. He's the Nook guy. They were pimping those Kate Spade covers too, BIG TIME. And at a big time price.

Anyway, the Nook sucked pretty hard. I hate the LCD screen because it's distracting, and the glossy finish on the case is really distracting too (the glare!). The Kobo was cool but couldn't justify buying it over the Kindle at that price.
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:58 PM   #4
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Same non-promotion is occurring in Southern California. Kobos were in stock - but in the back room for weeks before ANY type of display was offered.
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Old 08-11-2010, 04:05 PM   #5
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Not just you guys, Canada too! The Chapters where I live practically hides the Kobo. I had to go to the counter and ask if they even carried it anymore because I could find no sign of one. The display table that was supposed to hold 6 demo's was empty. Nobody could give me an answer as to where the demos went, but they still had new ones for sale under the counter. Out of sight, out of mind?
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Old 08-11-2010, 06:38 PM   #6
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My closest chapters also could use some better attention to their display. It was in a pretty good location, but several times I've been there 3 out of the 4 demo units were frozen, the last time I was there, only one demo was still in place (were the other ones really dead or did they just not know how to charge/reset them?) Someone usually offered to help if you stood looking at them for a while, but they didn't actually know much about them anyway.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:05 PM   #7
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Borders in Australia is COMPLETELY different!
At the very front of every store I have seen (2 in Brisbane and 1 in Melbourne) there is a big table with at least 3 demo Kobos. During May and early June when they were first released there would often be a queue to use these units. At that time there was always at least one staff member rostered on Kobo demo duty. Most of the staff members I have spoken to are quite knowledgable.
Angus and Robertson also sell Kobos (maybe) in Australia and you wouldn't know from their stores as I have never seen a Kobo on display anywhere (several stores on the Sunshine Coast, in Brisbane and also Melbourne) My local store has their single display unit hidden in a drawer behind the register. I spoke to a staff member who said she didn't know why they were selling them as she was worried that if people bought ebooks instead of real books she would eventually lose her job!
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:16 PM   #8
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The Australian Borders setup is indeed brilliant, but the shops have not installed sufficient overhead lighting. I thought Kobos had rubbish screens until I found a Borders that just happened to have a good ceiling light above the demo table.

The other problem is that they don't charge them often enough. This past weekend at one Borders near me, two of the three demo units were flat and people walked away thinking they were broken. Not a good look.

No A&R I've seen has a demo table, which is a shame.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:27 PM   #9
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Angus and Robertson also sell Kobos (maybe) in Australia and you wouldn't know from their stores as I have never seen a Kobo on display anywhere (several stores on the Sunshine Coast, in Brisbane and also Melbourne) My local store has their single display unit hidden in a drawer behind the register. I spoke to a staff member who said she didn't know why they were selling them as she was worried that if people bought ebooks instead of real books she would eventually lose her job!
I agree with A&R. My local has two in stock (have since they were released, so obviously no-one in my area knows about ebooks). They have one black and one white. The covers for the boxes are on a shelf in the window, the Kobos are behind the counter (one was used as a demo unit). As if I would even think about buying one from them. (a) They are opened units, (b) they have been used so who knows how they are treated, (c) given their limited stock and limited knowledge any issues I'd have to send them away for repair/replacement anyway. I'd pay $100AUS for one of them, but sure as hell I'm not ever going to pay full retail price for an old opened unit (no doubt they still have v.1 firmware). For all I know they could have been bought and returned.

Nup, I'll order online through Borders Australia, free postage (well was, not sure if still is) and at least they're unopened. Who cares about sending it back for warranty, as said before I'd have to send it away if I bought through my local A&R anyway. I stopped liking A&R a few years ago before I moved as the store became rather "snobish" for lack of a better word. If you knew a person working there they'd happily order a book in, but if you were just a customer (willing to pay on the spot) they would recommend you look elsewhere to buy a book they don't have in stock. And if you bought one of their top 10 or 50 best sellers they were all "Hi how are you, just this book? Good read, have you also looked at this book?" but if you bought a sci-fi or fantasy they were "just this?"
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Old 08-11-2010, 11:32 PM   #10
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I usually avoid A&R, especially after one of their little stunts. Both Dymocks and Borders I find are usually more competitive in pricing and range, so I'm glad to give them my money anyway.

Just want to agree with the Borders Australia comments. The display at the Parramatta store is right in front of the entrance. You see it as soon as you walk in, and every time I've passed by, it's always had at least one person checking it out in interest. Clearly the reason it's sold out here is because of these displays -- I know for myself I would have been leery of buying my first ereader online, so having a demo unit to play with was great in convincing me to buy a Kobo.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:09 AM   #11
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I usually avoid A&R, especially after one of their little stunts. Both Dymocks and Borders I find are usually more competitive in pricing and range, so I'm glad to give them my money anyway.
Sadly, A&R and Borders are now the same company.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:22 AM   #12
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Sadly, A&R and Borders are now the same company.
Well, for paper books at least, there's still Dymocks for me. The QBD. Basement Books. The Book Depository. Of course, ebooks are an option nowadays too.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:27 AM   #13
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I purchased my Kobo from A&R, Murray Street in Perth. I walked into the store and the Kobo was displayed directly in front of the sales desk. It was a pretty obvious display too. though like most stories, the Kobo was going flat battery wise.

A quick question to a sales assistant followed by an order placement. They rang me three days later to tell me my order had arrived.

I thought they were pretty good. BUT they did not know how to update firmware at that time. To be fair, the firmware update had only just been announced.
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:49 AM   #14
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When I first bought my Kobo at Whitcoulls Albany (here in New Zealand) they had a little stand and a demo Kobo that was working fine. Also good lighting.

Last time I went into my local Whitcoulls at Glenfield they had no stand, just a single box behind the counter. If I didn't recognise the box then I wouldn't have known what it was.
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:23 AM   #15
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I get the impression at my Chapters (Canada) that the staff avoid the area because they know nothing about the product. When I approached the kiosk to find a Roots holder the staff in the vicinity scattered. They looked worried that I might ask a question.
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