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Old 12-03-2012, 08:58 AM   #1
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Kobo now world's number 2 ereader brand.

At the Futurebook conference in London today Kobo's CEO, Mike Serbinis, told delegates that Kobo was now the world's number 2 ereader brand and it was estimated that they had a 20% market share. He also said that Kobo's UK sales were up 600% year on year. It was also noted that the US is about 1/3rd of the current global market for ebooks/readers.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:28 AM   #2
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Kobo have definitely stepped up their game at the right time; taking advantage of the increasing interest in ereaders, and in some countries become the biggest alternative to Kindles. Obviously the US is the biggest market and it's a far harder nut for them to crack with the Nook already well established along with the Kindle. Not sure where that leaves Sony mind you....?
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:29 PM   #3
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Kobo have definitely stepped up their game at the right time; taking advantage of the increasing interest in ereaders, and in some countries become the biggest alternative to Kindles. Obviously the US is the biggest market and it's a far harder nut for them to crack with the Nook already well established along with the Kindle. Not sure where that leaves Sony mind you....?
According to a dubious Bowker survey I read last week, Sony have 2% of the US market.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:29 PM   #4
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Good for them!

I love my Mini and am not-so-patiently waiting for a Glo.

I'd love to give them even more money, they just need to get the covers and accessories into the stores or up on their website.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:58 PM   #5
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Good for them. I've always liked their products and their willingness to interact with customers here on the forums. If it wasn't for the Amazon integration on the Kindle, I'd seriously consider a Glo, and the Mini would be awesome, if it had Perl. I love their products, but there's always an "if only" for me... maybe someday.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by lecoeur View Post
At the Futurebook conference in London today Kobo's CEO, Mike Serbinis, told delegates that Kobo was now the world's number 2 ereader brand and it was estimated that they had a 20% market share. He also said that Kobo's UK sales were up 600% year on year. It was also noted that the US is about 1/3rd of the current global market for ebooks/readers.
Which company is the number 1, did they say?
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:15 AM   #7
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Amazon I bet....
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:31 AM   #8
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That's an interesting development. I wonder what percentage of the global market is accounted for by Canada. I think a per capita analysis would provide some food for thought.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:50 AM   #9
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Which company is the number 1, did they say?
as Pete correctly guessed, Amazon. Remember though, the 2% was US market share only, heaven knows where they stand globally.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:31 AM   #10
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Interesting. I'm glad to hear this, since it indicates strong diversity.

Funny how the market developed. Sony had the first viable e-reader launched on the world market, but they priced it too high and didn't have a strong bookstore to back it up. Amazon was close behind, and they addressed those problems. Since then Amazon has aggressively cut prices and matched any design improvements to stay ahead of competitors, so they definitely deserve to retain that #1 ranking. But Sony is still in there and pitching as the sole representative of the general consumer electronics industry.

The main weakness of Amazon was their slow entry to the international market, held back by international copyright issues with the bookstore. Kobo saw the opportunity and jumped in with a less expensive e-reader and strong international support by signing up leading bookstore chains in each country as partners. Looks like that strategy paid off, although they remain weak in the U.S., partly due to the failure of #2 bookstore chain Borders and the fact that #1 Barnes & Noble has their own e-reader.

I was doubtful that the Nook would succeed for a while there, mainly because of the limitation to U.S. market only, and the conflict of interest for Barnes & Noble with their bricks & mortar bookstore chain. But they seem to keep putting a lot of effort into it, so now all it needs is an international market to play in the same league as the others.

What would make the diversity even better is if they would quit copying each other and break out in different directions with more innovative devices! The last couple of generations you can hardly tell one brand from the other because they are so similar.

Last edited by FJames; 12-04-2012 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:29 PM   #11
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...

What would make the diversity even better is if they would quit copying each other and break out in different directions with more innovative devices! The last couple of generations you can hardly tell one brand from the other because they are so similar.
Or this could indicate that current designs now meet all the needs of consumers as a book replacement. In essence then, the e-reader itself is now a commodity - all brands being more or less equal. Competition will move to content. That is, who offers the widest seletion and who offers features useful to consumers (be it DRM free or cloud sync etc.).

Expect innovation to happen on the content side.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:31 PM   #12
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Or this could indicate that current designs now meet all the needs of consumers as a book replacement. In essence then, the e-reader itself is now a commodity - all brands being more or less equal. Competition will move to content.
I think there's plenty of scope for innovation.

The display contrast on current e-readers is not as good as ink on paper, so there's plenty of room for improvement.

The standard 6-inch screen size is smaller than a paperback book page and shows less text. Give us more screen and less wasted bezel!

The lack of color is disappointing for book covers and internal illustrations, and for comics. Color e-ink displays are in the pipeline, but not here yet.

The latest Kindle is moving to a more responsive capacitive-touch screen instead of IR, and all the new phones have a much wider suite of touch gestures (the new BlackBerry 10 OS is especially interesting).

Sony and Kindle have audio, but they haven't made use of it for voice controls (like Apple's Siri or Google's voice search). They support text-to-speech, but it needs a lot of improvement.

You can't zoom in book illustrations like maps and pan around currently.

Could you make a folding e-ink display so you could close it like a book?

etc
etc
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:04 PM   #13
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I think there's plenty of scope for innovation.

The display contrast on current e-readers is not as good as ink on paper, so there's plenty of room for improvement.
Agreed, but from here down I'm not sure sure...

Quote:
The standard 6-inch screen size is smaller than a paperback book page and shows less text. Give us more screen and less wasted bezel!
The bezel is rather small on my Paperwhite. Much smaller and it'd be hard to hold. It's basically the margin of a paperback. The six inch screen is a great size IMO and most attempts at 5" and 7" haven't done so well, though admittedly they've not been the flagship device.

Quote:
The lack of color is disappointing for book covers and internal illustrations, and for comics. Color e-ink displays are in the pipeline, but not here yet.
For some, but I personally don't care in the least. I don't have any books that would benefit from color, and I suspect that many are in the same boat. If I need color, I just use my iPad.

Quote:
Sony and Kindle have audio, but they haven't made use of it for voice controls (like Apple's Siri or Google's voice search). They support text-to-speech, but it needs a lot of improvement.
Again... I'm reading... don't feel like I need this. Can't imagine how it'd improve the experience. Even the best TTS isn't as natural as an audiobook... Personally, I read when I can read, I listen to audiobooks when I'm driving, I don't even sync them with the new whispersync capabilities -- I just have two books in progress at a time. I suspect that this is also a very common circumstance.

Quote:
You can't zoom in book illustrations like maps and pan around currently.
Yeah, maybe... again, I just use my iPad for these. And they do have SOME zoom and pan, though it is admittedly minimal.

Quote:
Could you make a folding e-ink display so you could close it like a book?
So that you can read on both sides? I guess that has some value, but the screen change is so quick that I see little value in this as well. Flexible such that it's more robust, sure, but foldable? Maybe to make it more portable, smaller than the current 6" readers when folded, but anything foldable is most likely going to have a crease where it folded or an ugly joint where the sides abut.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:24 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by FJames View Post
I think there's plenty of scope for innovation.

The display contrast on current e-readers is not as good as ink on paper, so there's plenty of room for improvement.

The standard 6-inch screen size is smaller than a paperback book page and shows less text. Give us more screen and less wasted bezel!

The lack of color is disappointing for book covers and internal illustrations, and for comics. Color e-ink displays are in the pipeline, but not here yet.

The latest Kindle is moving to a more responsive capacitive-touch screen instead of IR, and all the new phones have a much wider suite of touch gestures (the new BlackBerry 10 OS is especially interesting).

Sony and Kindle have audio, but they haven't made use of it for voice controls (like Apple's Siri or Google's voice search). They support text-to-speech, but it needs a lot of improvement.

You can't zoom in book illustrations like maps and pan around currently.

Could you make a folding e-ink display so you could close it like a book?

etc
etc
Without going into anything technical about what is possible and not possible with the current display technologies, I think the critial issue is that for the most part, the innovations you describe are all hardware. Lets take the example of improvements in the e-ink display. There is a limited number of suppliers of the e-ink displays and they provide displays to all the manufacturers of e-readers. There is little incentive for them to limit the sales of their displays to one manufacturer, so the displays will be available to all.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:47 PM   #15
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Kobo have definitely stepped up their game at the right time; taking advantage of the increasing interest in ereaders, and in some countries become the biggest alternative to Kindles. Obviously the US is the biggest market and it's a far harder nut for them to crack with the Nook already well established along with the Kindle. Not sure where that leaves Sony mind you....?
6% according to the same survey Kobo's citing: http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/...on_units_in_Q4

Note that that's anticipated Q4 shipments to retailers, not sales to customers, and certainly not lifetime penetration. Though it's still interesting; you definitely see stores stocking and/or selling fewer Sony e-readers. Nooks' performance is actually quite good considering it's only available in two markets (US and UK, and they're well back of Kobo and Kindle in the UK from what I know). Most of that 10% is in the 1/3 of the global market that's centred in the U.S. That suggests Nook has between 25-30% of the U.S. market.

There were those who dismissed Kobo's approach of trying to beat competitors to international markets, but this study suggests it's bearing fruit. Very little of that 20% could possibly be the Canadian market (likely about 3-4% of the total survey is the Canadian market) suggesting Kobo's partnerships in the UK, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, Hong Kong, etc., have borne fruit beyond Kobo's two home markets (Canada and Japan).
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