Multichannel bookseller Borders Group Inc. said today it’s taking online pre-orders for its Kobo eReader for delivery as early as June 17. Also coming soon: A new e-book store on Borders.com, Kobo apps for ordering e-books through mobile devices and PCs, and in-store Area-e shops for downloading e-books.
Borders is offering the Kobo eReader for $149.99, compared to $259 for Amazon.com Inc.’s similarly sized Kindle e-reader. The Kobo eReader, which will come pre-loaded with 100 classic books, can carry up to 1,000 book titles; the Kindle carries up to 1,500 while the larger Kindle DX, priced at $489, can handle up to 3,500 titles.
Mike Edwards, Borders Group’s interim president and CEO, says its Kobo eReader is just the first of several e-readers the retailer plans to offer. “We’re excited to offer the Kobo eReader to our customers, the first of what will be a wide selection of e-readers we’ll sell, along with an online store that supports a variety of devices, giving consumers freedom in the e-book world at the best possible value,” he says.
The new e-book store on Borders.com will feature more than 1 million book titles, which shoppers will also be able to access through the forthcoming free apps that Borders will make available next month for iPhone, Blackberry and Android mobile phones as well as for Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet and all PCs.
In August, Borders will launch Area-e boutiques in most of its more than 500 Borders retail stores, providing a place for customers to download e-books to their e-readers and receive assistance from store associates, a spokeswoman says. The boutiques are being converted from existing information desks.
The Kobo eReader is from Kobo Inc., a company financially backed by Indigo Books & Music, Borders Group, REDgroup Retail and Cheung Kong Holdings.
Borders is No. 194 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide; Amazon.com is No. 1 and Indigo Books & Music is No. 161.