In a new venture, Hutt City Libraries is partnering with KoboBook.com and PaperPlus New Zealand to make reading more accessible to people – a “world first” for Kobo.
From Tuesday 25 June, Hutt City Libraries will be offering Kobo eReaders and the Kobo tablet for sale and later this year, in-library rental. After trialling several tablets, Kobo’s Arc met criteria for speed, battery life, design, ease of use, and price.
Yes, HCL is going to be a retail partner to Kobo, as strange as that may sound. And just to add insult to injury, later this year HCL is going to use taxpayer dollars to buy devices to rent to said taxpayers.
Please excuse me for being dense but I don’t see the upside here for the libraries. The libraries won’t be earning much on each sale (assuming they earn the same 5% commission as ABA members), while at the same time they will be stuck with providing tech support and customer service on behalf of Kobo.
Libraries are neither bookstores nor electronics stores, so why are they selling ereaders and tablets, much less renting them?
If anyone would care to explain the economics of this decision, the comments are open.