Collins Booksellers, a 50+ store strong bookstore chain, just announced that they would soon be Kobo's latest retail partner.
Starting in September, ebook fans will be able to find the Kobo Wifi in all Collins stores across Australia. They'll also be able buy ebooks on the Collins website. The new ebook offering is timed to coincide with the relaunch of the Collins website, which is being rebuilt with the help of Seek Media, an online bookseller that Collins purchased back in April.
Collins have also made other recent moves to expand their share of the book market. They recently closed a deal to add a group of former A&R franchisees to their network of franchise partners, and the final count should be around 70 stores. Collins also announced back in April that their franchisees will earn a percentage of the revenue of all online sales sold to customers within their assigned store territory. This is going to apply to both the books and ebooks sold online, as well as any eReader sold online.
Interesting. I'd been told by someone at Kobo a few weeks back that something would be happening in the AUS/NZ book market, and that I should stay tuned. So I guess this means that Kobo won't just be signing a single partner in some markets; now they will have Collins competing for the same ebook sales as Pearson, who recently bought the rights to the REDgroup website (including Kobo ebook sales).
There's no word yet on when the Kobo Touch will hit the shelves down in Australia.