Eason, a leading Irish bookseller with 60 stores across the country, is shutting down their independent ebookstore in favor of a new deal with Kobo. This retailer is going to carry Kobo hardware in stores and on the Eason website. Kobo is saying that their partner will carry the Kobo Glo, Kobo Aura, and Kobo Aura HD, but there is no mention of the newer Android tablets.
Kobo is also going to launch an Irish Kobo store at ie.kobo.com, though it doesn’t appear to be live yet. On a related note, I have no details on when this new partnership will officially commence, but I do know that it has not yet happened today.
Eason is still selling the Sony Reader T1, and their ebookstore appears to still be the non-Kobo setup that they have been operating since at least late 2011. That Sony Reader model is an outdated device, which suggests that it is more of a placeholder than a sign of Eason’s future plans.
Eason has been putting a lot of effort into ebooks and ereaders over the past several years. In late 2011 they even started remodeling their stores to include an ereader dept which stocked a wide variety of models. 25 stores were remodeled at that time, and I am told that more have been switched over since then. Eason also dabbled with the idea of releasing their own branded ereader last year, but I do not know if that ever happened.
Eason will be replacing Hughes & Hughes, an Irish bookseller that signed with Kobo last December. In fact, Kobo could be signing Eason because of the demise of their previous partner. It looks like Hughes & Hughes went belly up earlier this year. Their website is not accessible, at least, and their Facebook page has seen no activity since March 2013.