Kobo to Partner with Dutch Retailer Bol.com

kobo bolReliable 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).

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Frank14 September, 2014

    Bol.com is imdeed the market leader but everyone else is not under 10%… iBooks has a 25% market share, Kobo with Libris have 10 to 15%, and Google is close to 10% now, replacing ebooks.nl as the #4. B&N is not popular at all, same as in all European markets where nobody is using their store.

    1. Ebook Bargains UK14 September, 2014

      Frank, can you put a source to those figures? They sound very realistic, but haven’t sen anything from any reputable source to confirm Google Play has exceeded ebooks.nl.

  2. Ebook Bargains UK14 September, 2014

    Nate, we sure as hell hope you’re right about the Amazon store, but remain unconvinced.

    Leaving aside that if it did happen at all it will take a lot of good will on the part of Dutch ebook buyers to forgive the surcharges Amazon currently imposes, there is the bigger issue of the size of the Dutch market relative to returns.

    Dutch books are essentially read in the Netherlands with an over-spill into Belgium. the other European Kindle stores serve much larger populations, and still in most cases roped in neighbouring countries (Austria and Switzerland for Kindle DE, Belgium, Switzerland and the mini-states for Kindle FR, Switzerland for Kindle IT. Spanish titles obviously have an international appeal, and explains Mexico. Brazil is big enough in its own right to warrant the investment.

    A Kindle Russia store makes sense. A Kindle NL store that is going to take forever to earn out, and hasn’t a hope in hell of competing with the market leaders, is the last thing Bezos needs right now.

    As to what will happen to the current Kobo NL store, it will probably just carry on regardless, just as Kobo has a localized Kobo UK store despite a full partnership (albeit now indie-free) with W H Smith.

    What will happen to the Bol.NL store is the more interesting question. I would imagine they will keep the Bol brand to the fore and let Kobo handle the stock from a discreet distance.

    Assuming Bol were not desperate for whatever financial advantage this deal brought to the table, it may well be Bol’s primary interest here is giving Dutch readers a shot at the English-language titles in the Kobo catalogue. If the previous comment is correct and Google Play have 10% that will almost certainly be from non-Dutch titles.

  3. Jurgen Snoeren15 September, 2014

    Interesting idea that Kobo will push English language titles through Bol – otherwise, I’m having a hard time finding a good business reason for Bol to enter this partnership.

    Amazon will open an NL Store here, you can count on that. My sources say that they will open somewhere in october. Now, there have been other opening dates that have come & went, but Amazon is currently very active among publishers closing contracts & hashing out deals, so I rate this latest opening date rumour as fairly realistic.

    It also coincides with Bol doing the LeesID and Kobo deal so close together and the timing makes sense for Amazon, so close to the December period. Most Dutch content is already available in the Amazon store and can be ordered through the co.uk site, for example, so the distribution deal is done & dusted.

  4. […] on the heels of Saturday’s news of Kobo signing a new retail partner in the region comes new rumors that Amazon is going to launch a local Kindle Store in the […]

  5. […] which a local presence, Amazon will also have to contend with local Dutch ebookstores like Bol.com (a Kobo partner). Bol.com director Daniel Ropers says that that store has around a 60% share of the ebook […]

  6. […] Amazon is a little late to the party in the Netherlands. Competitors like Kobo, Apple & Google already have some presence, and there is a strong local competitor which is estimated to have 60% of the nascent e-book market (Bol.com, which partnered with Kobo as recently as September). […]

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