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Kobo to Open Boutique Shops Within WHSmith Stores in The UK

WHSmith and Kobo announced today that they’re taking their partnership to whole new close personnel level.

Kobo will be providing trained staff to fill new ereader departments in 100 WHSmith stores in the UK. The new sections will be launched throughout out 2012 and they’ll be places where customers will find "a dedicated team of Kobo experts to help introduce consumers to eReading and the best eReading device for their reading style." Oh, good, they’ll also be talking about the Kindle (it will work better for some people than the Kobo Touch will).

"We value our partnership with WHSmith and are excited to have dedicated, knowledgeable staff members who will educate WHSmith customers and introduce them to the benefits of Kobo." said Mike Serbinis, CEO of Kobo. "We know that in partnership with WHSmith we will deliver an engaging in-store experience that will demonstrate our expertise, best-in-class design, easy user experience, and innovative product line."

What, WHSmith didn’t have this already? They have been Kobo’s UK partner since October 2011, and they’ve been selling ereaders since at least 2010. I would have thought they would have had their ereader staff fully trained up by now. Also, why did this take 6 months to announce? I wonder if sales are lackluster.

In other news, the price of the Kobo Vox in the UK is dropping from £170 to £150, with the new prices taking effect today. The Kobo Touch will continue to sell for £80, and the Kobo "I wouldn’t get it in a million years" Wifi is listed for £60.

image by RachelH

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Peter April 19, 2012 um 11:05 am

This is a big mistake for WH Smith, and a disservice to their actual employees.

I realize a lot of bookstores employees don’t want to hear this, but if you want to call yourself a book expert these days, you’re going to need to learn how ereaders work.

BanditQueen January 29, 2014 um 8:32 pm

Best thing Smiths ever did was get into the Kobo. The touch and the light are great and so is the basic reader. The Vox has obviously undergone several changes and upgrades since it was first launched and when I brought it last year for £69.00 for a tablet I thought it was excellent. It is still faster than my Kindle Fire HD and has several other features that I prefer. The only real difference as far as I can see is a slightly better sound quality, although the sound on the Vox is great; and a wider range of books. You can do just as much game wise and app wise and is great in colour as well. It is thinner but heavier than the Kindle Fire; but the HD is just as stunning. At £69.00 compared to £119-£169.00; if you are unsure; this is the one to start with at least.

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