ABA and Kobo Join Forces to Offer Indie Bookstores E-reading Solution

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This week, the American Booksellers Association and Kobo, a leader in eReading with more than 10 million registered users worldwide, announced a new partnership to bring Kobo’s eReading platform to independent bookstores across the United States.

Under the agreement, all ABA members will be able to offer their customers a full line of eReaders, eReading accessories, and eBooks from Kobo’s catalog of nearly three million titles. ABA members will share in the revenue on every sale. In addition, the program includes training for booksellers and in-store merchandising, as well as marketing, sales, and logistics support. By partnering with ABA, Kobo continues its successful strategy of working with booksellers around the world, and ABA member bookstores grow in their ability to offer customers an easy and convenient online shopping experience.

Here's a link to a detailed FAQ for ABA members about the business model and next steps. Following updates from ABA and news coverage of the agreement, reaction from ABA members has been very positive.

“We are very excited to work with the ABA and independent bookstores across America to bring an Indie alternative to the eReading market,” said Mike Serbinis, CEO, Kobo. “With this partnership, we are confident that independents will have a world-class offering for their loyal customers and a voice in the digital transformation.”

“We are pleased to offer our ABA members a competitive eBook retailing solution uniquely crafted to meet the needs of independent booksellers and their customers,” said Oren Teicher, CEO, American Booksellers Association. “Through this partnership with Kobo, indie bookstore customers will have access to a broad and diverse inventory of eBooks. Today’s readers want a first-class shopping experience, both in-store and online, and this new partnership allows indie booksellers to meet the ever-changing needs of shoppers in a dynamic marketplace.”

More details on the new ABA/Kobo program will be available in September, and the upcoming IndieCommerce Institute (ICI) will feature a special opening plenary where Kobo representatives and ABA staff will provide an overview of the program, as well as details on Kobo's eReader devices. (Registration for the ICI ends on Friday, August 31, and more details are available here.) ABA will also be presenting introductory sessions on the new program at the upcoming regional trade shows.

Since its inception in 2009, Kobo has built a global base of more than 10 million registered users in 190 countries, and one of the largest e-book stores in the world, with three million books, newspapers, and magazines, featuring titles ranging from the New York Times bestsellers, the hottest new releases, Indie Next List and Indie Bestseller List titles, and more than one million free books in 60 languages. With one of the largest content catalogs in the world, a line of award-winning eReaders available in seven languages, free eReading apps, and the newly launched self-publishing program -- Kobo Writing Life -- Kobo has a comprehensive eReading program.

In their announcement of the program, Kobo and the ABA noted that the importance of Kobo’s “Read Freely” philosophy, which supports an open platform and adoption of industry standards to ensure that people own the books they buy and are never locked to one device or service. Additionally Kobo offers free e-reading apps so people can read conveniently anytime, anyplace from a device they already own. With Kobo, consumers can easily browse and shop from the Kobo eBookstore and automatically sync their library across most popular devices including iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, and smartphones, as well as all Kobo eReaders.

Since its founding in 2009, Kobo has developed a successful turnkey solution that enables a wide variety of retailers -- both large and small -- to capitalize on the growth of digital reading around the world. Through the partnership with ABA, Kobo adds to this network nearly 2,000 independent bookstores that will be able to take advantage of Kobo’s unique services, including one of the largest content catalogs available today and a range of accessible e-reading devices and free e-reading applications.

For more information, on the ABA/Kobo program, please contact the Member Relationship Manager for your region:

Kaitlin Pitcher (914-373-6666) - NAIBA, NEIBA, SCIBA, NCIBA

Nathan Halter (914-373-6614) - GLIBA, MIBA, SIBA, MPIBA, PNBA