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Kobo eReaders, Tablet Once Again Available on the Kobo Website

These images belong on a milk carton

These images belong on a milk carton

Remember last fall when I reported that Kobo bungled the US launch of their new ereaders, and then followed up 6 weeks later with the shocking report that they had foolishly stopped selling their ereaders on their website?

A number of readers showed up and disagreed with my description of Kobo’s actions, but it looks like I was right all along

Kobo has just announced that they are once again selling their own hardware on their own website. They have ended a 5 month dry spell during which they lost customers to Amazon.

The press release just went out this morning, and it includes the detail that Kobo will only be shipping to the US and Canada. The hardware is available now, and so are accessories like cases, lights, and so on.

I don’t know about you but I am glad to see Kobo finally come to their senses. They had made it very difficult to buy one of their ereaders or Android tablet here in the US. In fact, it’s still difficult to buy a Kobo ereader; they’re not being carried by any major US retailer. Amusingly enough, several of the retailers listed in the press release as current partners don’t actually have Kobo’s hardware in stock. I checked, and Best Buy still says the devices (aside from the Kobo Mini) are coming soon while Walmart, Target, Staples, and other major US retailers don’t list the Kobo hardware at all.

Besides the Kobo website, you can find Kobo hardware at some ABA member indie bookstores including Powell’s and Family Christian Bookstores (a chain of stores, actually).

Kobo isn’t even being carried by sister companies like (aka Rakuten Shopping).  While that site does have a page for Kobo products none of the new devices are listed, just the Kobo Vox and the Kobo Touch. This lack of support from Rakuten has been obvious since at least January, but I am still surprised every time I see it.

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Juli Monroe April 2, 2013 um 10:34 am

The Kobo mini is available in my local Best Buy, and on the Best Buy site. None of the others, though.

Nate Hoffelder April 2, 2013 um 10:41 am

That’s what BB has been reporting since last October. Weird, isn’t it?

USA und Kanada: Kobo verkauft eBook Reader (wieder) über die eigene Webseite – April 2, 2013 um 12:09 pm

[…] Kobo heute bekannt gibt, wird man beim Verkauf der eigenen Produktpalette in Zukunft nicht mehr nur auf Vertriebspartner […]

fjtorres April 2, 2013 um 1:44 pm

Kobo is going to regret that missed opportunity to move their Glo readers. Those sales are gone and the window is pretty much closed.
Sadly, I think we are at a point right now that neither B&M nor web sales are going to much change Kobo’s position in the US. Whatever market share they have now is their peak for the short-term.
ebook adoption in the US is still growing but it is pretty clear that that growth is coming primarily from casual readers and multipurpose devices. The majority of avid readers that could benefit from ebooks jumped in in the big 2010-2011 explosion and 2012 took in the trailing edge adopters and the first wave of upgraders, from the initial techie/hobbyist/early adopter crowd. (Us!)
All the trends we are seeing (eink sales slowing down, small tablets growing in popularity, phablets…) point to a slow-down in sales to avid readers and growth among casual readers.
And casual aren’t going to go out of their way to pick their reading device for its bundled reading app or suitability to reading; they will pick it for its price, content availability, media playback capability, etc…
This suggests that growth is going to go to the high visibility players: Apple, Amazon, Nook…
In that order.
Kobo and Sony will survive to the extent that upgraders choose to go with their hardware.
But I don’t see much market share growth in ebooks for either.

Ingo Lembcke April 3, 2013 um 7:52 am

One thing that seldom gets mentioned is usability.
Both of the Reader and the Website.
The different Hight-End-eInk-Reader (with Sony trailing behind, no Light at the end of tunnel, no HD-eInk) are imho very similar. Sony still offers Buttons and Touch which is really great, but the difference between KoboGlo and Kindle Paperwhite is not too great.
In that regard of usability of the Website, Kobo (for me, in Germany) lost me, Amazon is good, but I still like the US-Sony-Site best for buying ebooks only and getting informed by Mail when an Author I have on a list publishes a new book (a single Mail with no other information like advertisments!).
As I do not know the Kobo-Reader I cannot compare the usability with Sony nor Kindle, but both could be better, the Kindle with the addition of Buttons (I know, will probably never again be added) and a few changes or options in the software.
Maybe someone who as used all 3 readers for a week can say more about usability of all 3?

Kobo starts selling e-readers directly through its website again — paidContent April 2, 2013 um 5:07 pm

[…] Kobo had begun selling devices through its website for the first time. In fact, The Digital Reader notes that the company had once sold devices on its website, stopped last year and has now started to do so […]

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