April 20, 2011, 3:39 PM

Kobo raises $53 million in new capital

The e-book retailer will use the funding for international e-commerce expansion.

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Kobo Inc. has raised C$50 million (US$53 million) in a new funding round, the e-book retailer announced today.

Kobo, a unit of Indigo Books & Music Inc., No 161 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, says it will use the funds to continue its international expansion. “As the e-reading space continues to heat up, Kobo is committed to providing an innovative experience that lets consumers read anytime, anyplace and share their love of reading with friends,” says Greg Twinney, the retailer’s chief financial officer.

Kobo kicked off its European expansion last week, with the announcement of plans to launch local sites in Germany and Spain in May.  Local stores for France, Italy and the Netherlands will follow this summer, Kobo says. The retailer operates local language and currency sites in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

The retailer did not disclose the source of the investment, but says a leading institutional investor and existing investors contributed to the funding round.

Additionally, the retailer says that, starting today, U.S. and Canadian consumers can buy the BlackBerry PlayBook, a tablet computer, which comes pre-loaded with the Kobo e-reading app. The app allows users to personalize text sizes and styles and select between day and night modes to better make use of the light at different times of day. It also enables switching between single or side-by-side page views by rotating the device.

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