Asia and South America are on the mind of Amazon, leading them to push to open ebookstores in Japan, Brazil (coming soon), and China (also coming soon), but Kobo is looking to expand in markets where they don’t have major competition.
The South African supermarket chain Pick’n Pay announced yesterday that they are Kobo’s first retail partner for Africa. Pick’n Pay will be selling the Kobo Touch in stores and via their website, and you can pick one up now. Retail is 995 rands, or about $114 USD. Pick’n Pay will also sell accessories for the Kobo Touch, and they have plans to carry Kobo’s newer ereaders at some point in the future.
As for content, Kobo is currently selling over a thousand titles in Afrikaans, and they have announced signed deals with New Holland Publishing SA, the largest local ebook publisher, and On the Dot, South Africa’s largest ebook aggregator.
Pick’n Pay won’t be opening their own branch of the Kobo ebookstore, but they are reportedly receiving a commission on ebooks sold via the Kobo Touch ereaders they sell and support. This deal with Kobo is similar to the one that Kobo has signed with the UK-based Bookseller’s Association and the US-based ABA, as well as their numerous retail partners throughout the world.
B&N has signed a similar deal with Target, and from the sounds of things the Amazon-Waterstones deal was made on much the same terms. These kind of deals are growing more common.