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Old 04-19-2012, 08:22 AM   #1
lecoeur
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Kobo to open 100 stores within WHS stores in UK

http://www.booktrade.info/index.php/showarticle/40235
For the link shy:
Kobo And WHSmith To Launch 100 New Kobo Experiential Shops

Posted at 10:50AM Thursday 19 Apr 2012
Kobo Inc., a global leader in eReading, today announced plans to open new Kobo branded shops within 100 WHSmith High Street retail locations in 2012. This decision follows the successful trial of the 'Kobo Centre' in some of WHSmith's larger stores. Across the United Kingdom, WHSmith stores will provide consumers with a signature Kobo experience that features the full range of Kobo eReading devices, including the award- winning Kobo Touch™ eReader and the family friendly Kobo Vox™ eReading tablet. Starting today, the Kobo Vox eReading tablet is available for £149.99. The Kobo Touch eReader is currently available for the special low price of £79.99 and the Kobo Wireless is £59.99 at leading WHSmith stores and online at www.whsmith.co.uk.

"We value our partnership with WHSmith and are excited to have dedicated, knowledgeable staff members who will educate WHSmith customers and introduce them to the benefits of Kobo." said Mike Serbinis, CEO of Kobo. "We know that in partnership with WHSmith we will deliver an engaging in-store experience that will demonstrate our expertise, best-in-class design, easy user experience, and innovative product line."

Focused on helping customers embark on their eReading adventure, WHSmith stores will have a dedicated team of Kobo experts to help introduce consumers to eReading and the best eReading device for their reading style. At each of the WHSmith stores, customers will find an experiential centre designed to help them discover the full line of Kobo eReading devices and an even larger selection of the latest, stylish accessories and eReader covers. Outfitted with WiFi and PCs, knowledgeable Kobo experts will provide an immersive in-store experience for customers and fans alike. Now, shoppers will have the chance to experience Kobo, learn about eReading, purchase the devices, browse the Kobo eBookstore, and activate their Kobo account before leaving the store.

The Kobo experiential shops, commonly known as a "store within a store," are designed to provide WHSmith customers with a personal, informative Kobo eReading experience.

AGGRESSIVE INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION FOR KOBO IN 2012

This announcement further strengthens Kobo's international strategy focused on delivering eReading on a global scale that encompasses an end-to-end eReading experience, award winning eReaders, and a world-class content catalogue. The 'store within a store' initiative builds on Kobo's continued partnership with WHSmith and its increasing focus on the UK marketplace.

Kobo endeavors to lead in new markets around the globe and since Kobo's acquisition by the e-commerce leader Rakuten, Kobo has the resources, network and capacity to scale quickly around the world and to deliver a solution that meets and exceeds our customer and partner needs.

Kobo has had tremendous success both through its localised online eBook stores that offer content in 60 languages across 190 countries, as well as through its network of premier retail partners. With country-specific, localised stores and retail partners in United Kingdom & Ireland, Canada, The Netherlands, United States, France, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, and Hong Kong - Kobo delivers a tailored country experience that appeals to unique cultural interests and tastes of that country.

In addition to these countries, Kobo eReaders are also available via online stores in Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, and Austria. Kobo's international online partner network includes stores like Buy.com, Play.com, PriceMinister.com, Walmart.com, Comtech.de, Redcoon, and Informatique.

THE KOBO VOX – AMAZING PRICE of £149.99 STARTING TODAY

Perfect for families on the go and those who want to blend tablet functionality with their eReading experience, the Kobo Vox offers a seven-inch, FFS+ multimedia touch screen for a dynamic reading experience in vivid colour. Optimised for outdoor reading and with an extra-wide viewing angle for shared reading, the Kobo Vox makes the rich content offered at the Kobo online bookstore pop.

Unique to Kobo, readers can take reading to a whole new level with Kobo Pulse™ sharing ideas on passages and recommending books with other readers. The seamless integration with more than 15,000 apps, including family favourites like Facebook, Twitter, The Weather Channel and Cut the Rope, make the Kobo Vox the perfect device for families on the go – and with its new price point at £149.99 at WHSmith stores, it's budget friendly too!

THE KOBO TOUCH – NEWLY REDUCED TO £79.99

Built by booklovers for booklovers, the Kobo Touch offers a best-in-class reading experience, with an amazing touch experience that uses Infrared Touch Technology, allowing readers to easily swipe or tap to turn pages. With the intuitive touch interface, readers can highlight a phrase, lookup a word, zoom into an image, increase the font size, or quickly navigate through a book and an entire library. Plus, finding that next read is also quick and easy with Wi-Fi and a virtual keyboard.

The Kobo Touch eReader now available for £79.99 at WHSmith is also the first eReader to be available in multiple languages and offers a localized experience, including content, recommendations, and the Kobo store. Readers may choose from English, French, Canadian French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch.

About Kobo, Inc.

Kobo Inc. is one of the world's fastest-growing eReading services offering more than 2.5 million eBooks, magazines and newspapers– and counting. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo has built an open-standards platform to provide consumers with a choice when reading. Inspired by a "Read Freely" philosophy and a passion for innovation, Kobo has expanded to nearly 200 countries, where millions of consumers have access to localized eBook catalogues and award-winning eReaders, like the Kobo Touch. With top-ranked eReading applications for Apple, BlackBerry, Android, and Windows products, Kobo allows consumers to make eReading social through Facebook Timeline and Reading Life, an industry-first social experience that lets users to earn awards for time spent reading and encouraging others to join in. Headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten, Kobo eReaders can be found in major retail chains across the globe.

For more information, visit www.kobo.com.

About WHSmith

WHSmith currently operates from over 1,100 stores in the UK and a growing number of international locations; including Melbourne, Delhi, Dubai and Oman. WHSmith High Street comprises of more than 600 stores and sells a wide range of stationery, books, newspapers and magazines. WHSmith Travel comprises of over 560 travel retail units in airports, railway stations, hospitals, workplaces and motorway service areas and sells a tailored offer to meet the needs of people on the move. Customers can discover the full range of Kobo eReaders and accessories at WHSmith.co.uk/kobo and browse the eBook range at WHSmith.co.uk/eBooks.
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:33 AM   #2
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Thanks, very interesting read

read a few things recently about kobo expanding, be interested to see what percentage of the market they have
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:58 AM   #3
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I hope they're going to enable magazines and periodical subscriptions in the UK too.
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:19 PM   #4
JD Gumby
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Well, here's hoping they don't put out Blackberry PlayBooks as a demo version right next to a Vox box (with no Vox out to demo) like the Coles/Chapters store at the nearest mall to me has done. :P
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:43 PM   #5
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Staff-wise things are expanding too! New people popping up all over the place, it is pretty much a daily occurrence saying "Who is that?" as someone walks past that you have not seen before.
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Old 04-20-2012, 04:13 AM   #6
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WH Smith - update

WH Smith -uodate via bookseller.
New Kobo sections will support e-reader trials, says WHS

20.04.12 | Lisa Campbell
0 0

12

Customers will be encouraged to invest more time in trialling e-readers with W H Smith's new Kobo “store within a store” roll-out, the retailer has said.

Kobo-distinguished sections are to go into 100 WHS stores, and will include specially trained staff and demonstration equipment and videos.

Stephen Clarke, managing director of the WHS high street business arm, told The Bookseller the devices were selling well but e-book sales were lagging slightly behind. He said: “The hardware sales were better than our expectations. We took more orders than we were expecting before Christmas, since then it has continued to go really well. There is a lag in e-book sales in comparison to device sales, but people are bought these devices for Christmas and it is a while before they are activated. We are following the profile we got told to expect from Kobo in that regard.”

The store-within-a-store concept will mean large Kobo tables selling devices in dedicated areas, a large range of accessories and videos demonstrating how the Kobo store works. “It gives Kobo more presence in our stores and will encourage customers to have a longer sales experience with us and provides a much better market to try out different e-readers with us,” Clarke said.

The e-reading company, which partnered with WHS in October, also announced it was slashing the cost of its devices from this week (19th April), selling the Vox for £149.99., the Kobo Touch for £79.99 and the Kobo Wireless for £59.99.

Mike Serbinis, c.e.o. of Kobo, said: “We value our partnership with W H Smith and are excited to have dedicated, knowledgeable staff members who will educate W H Smith customers and introduce them to the benefits of Kobo. We know that in partnership with W H Smith we will deliver an engaging in-store experience that will demonstrate our expertise, best-in-class design, easy user experience, and innovative product line.”

WHS yesterday reported a 3% rise in group profit year-on-year for the six months to 29th February 2012, but said book sales were down 8% by volume like-for-like over the period.
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