A reader has just tipped me to a tweet from the official Mondadori account. As you probably recall, this publisher and bookseller is Kobo's retail and ebookstore partner in Italy, so when they say something like this:
Da domani i nuovi eReader Kobo negli store Mondadori e online su inMondadori.it #kobo
— Mondadori (@mondadori) October 1, 2012
It's big news.
For those not equipped with Google translate, the above tweet says that starting tomorrow the Kobo eReader will be available in Mondadori stores (350 of them) as well as on thewebsite. My source has checked with a couple stores in Milan and Padua and the store clerks confirm that they'll have the hardware in tomorrow.
What's more, the officialhas been released, though it doesn't seem to add any more details. But my other sources with Mondadori have told me that the new Kobo ebookstore will stock 60 thousand Italian language titles, with a reported 3 million total titles available in all languages.
This news of course only applies to the 99€ Kobo Touch, not the still-unreleased Kobo Glo or Kobo Mini. Those won't be coming until mid-October, when they are expected to sell for 129€ (Kobo Glo) and 79€ (Kobo Mini).
Kobo announced this partnership in July of 2012, just under 3 months ago. This ebookstore, which they had been planning to launch last fall, is going to face stiff competition. Google launched an Italian ebookstore in June and Amazon launched a local Kindle Store there way the hell back in December of 2011. Basically Amazon has had nearly a year to run wild in Italy without anyone hampering their efforts; I'm looking forward to seeing what Kobo does to compensate for Amazon's lead.