February 23, 2010, 12:00 AM

Mobile e-books seller Kobo opens up shop in the U.K.

The U.K. launch is the first region-specific store for Kobo outside of North America and the first of many international launches that Kobo plans for this year, the e-retailer says. The U.K. store launches with nearly 2 million titles.

Kobo, the e-books seller previously known as Shortcovers, has launched in the United Kingdom. Since it went live in North America in early 2009, the Kobo e-reader app has been downloaded by more than 1 million users in 200 countries. The U.K. launch is the first region-specific store for Kobo outside of North America.

Kobo’s U.K. store features e-books from leading U.K. publishers such as Random House U.K., Penguin Group U.K., Bloomsbury, Simon & Schuster U.K. and Faber & Faber. With these partnerships Kobo will have nearly 2 million titles available in the U.K. Kobo is working with the Independent Publishers Guild to ensure regional and independent presses are represented alongside major publishing houses. The new store will also include a bestseller list unique to the U.K. store and U.K. titles featured prominently on the site.

“The U.K. presents a huge opportunity for Kobo to showcase its global capabilities,” says Michael Tamblyn, executive vice president of content, sales and merchandising. “Our focus is on assembling the world’s best catalog of content for our readers and delivering a fantastic purchasing and reading experience on any device a customer chooses. We will also provide readers in the U.K. with a huge selection of content. The U.K. is the first of many international launches for Kobo this year.”

Kobo is an e-books store for smartphones, tablets, netbooks, laptops and e-readers. Kobo’s use of open standards like EPUB and cloud-based services enables consumers to build their e-book libraries without being locked in to any one device. Kobo also keeps all of a reader’s devices in sync, enabling them to read from device to device.

The Kobo app is available for free in Apple Inc.’s App Store, BlackBerry App World, Palm Pre App Catalog and Android Marketplace, and through KoboBooks.com.

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