Reliable sources have told me that Kobo will be announcing a new retail partner soon. The deal isn’t scheduled to be revealed until Monday, but I have been informed that Bol.com, a Dutch media retailer, is going to be Kobo’s newest partner.
Bol.com is described as the largest ebook retailer in the Netherlands and Belgium, by far. This will make them an ideal partner for Kobo, though it does raise questions as to what they will do with their existing store.
This retailer has been in ebooks and ereaders since 2009, and in that time they’ve built up quite the customer base. In the early years Bol.com promoted Sony Readers (and other models once local ereader companies entered the market), and they have been selling ebooks for the past 5 years. They’ve even released their own branded reading apps for Android and iOS (developed by Bluefire), though neither app has been updated since January.
Even though we don’t yet know what will be happening with Bol.com’s existing ebookstore, all signs point to the deal going forward. MustReads.nl has uncovered a product listing which promises 2 free ebooks with the purchase of a Kobo Aura. Given that Bol.com doesn’t yet sell the Kobo Aura, it’s going to be rather hard for anyone to take advantage of the deal.
On a related note, there’s also a new product page for the Kobo Aura H2O; it’s not available either.
The latest figures put the Dutch ebook market at about 4.7% of the Dutch-language book market, with around 32 thousand titles available from CB Logistics, the main distributor for Dutch-language books in the Netherlands and Belgium.
In addition to several local ebook retailers, the new Kobo-bol.com partnership will be competing with Amazon, B&N, Google, and Apple. The latter three companies have local ebookstores in the Netherlands, and Amazon has shown interest in the market (and already supports Dutch in the Kindle Store).