Kobo Crashes Amazon’s Party With New Device Announcement

The e-book industry has had September 6 marked on its calendar since Amazon revealed in late August that it would be making an announcement that day to a select group of press at an exclusive event in Santa Monica, Calif.

Heedless of its much larger competitor, Kobo made its own product announcement this morning, unveiling three new devices: two e-readers and a tablet computer.

The Kobo Glo ($129.99) is a response to Barnes & Noble’s Nook with GlowLight e-reader that has a built-in reading light – it’s $10 cheaper, too.

The Kobo Mini ($79.99) is a slightly smaller e-reader and is meant to appeal to the cost- and fashion-conscious reader.

The Arc tablet ($199.99 to $249.99) was designed specifically for readers, the company said, and has a built in Pinterest-like feature called “Tapestries” where users can “pin” their favorite books and other content to “tapestries” and receive recommendations. The more they pin, the better the recommendations get, said the company.

While Kobo couldn’t hope to match the excitement surrounding Amazon’s announcement later today, the company did manage to steal a little bit of the Seattle giant’s thunder.

That said, what will Amazon announce later today? Some guesses: new, cheaper Kindle Fire; 10-inch Kindle Fire; very cheap or free e-reader; a back-lit e-reader; a tablet-e-reader Frankenstein.

Read more, including pictures of the new devices and complete product specs.


An Amazon Phone? (The Verge)
Our predictions aside, technology news site The Verge says it has sources that have confirmed that tomorrow’s announcement will include an Amazon phone.

New Head of Random House Children’s (DBW)
Children’s publishing veteran Barbara Marcus will replace Chip Gibson as president and publisher of Random House Children’s Books, effective immediately. Gibson will be leaving to take a break from work. Marcus spent 22 years as head of Scholastic’s publishing and distribution operation until 2005.

New Boss, New Team (DBW)
Mark Schoenwald is already putting his mark on the newly formed HarperCollins Christian publishing unit. The former Thomas Nelson CEO (and current chief of the new operation) has appointed his leadership team, a mix of former-Thomas Nelson and former-Zondervan executives – though most of the key roles are filled by Thomas Nelson execs.

Penguin Sued for Age Discrimination (Pub Lunch)
Days after leaving the company, former Penguin head of corporate communications Marilyn Ducksworth is suing her former employer for age discrimination. The suit includes several juicy tidbits, including revelations of a plan for Penguin Group chief financial officer Coram Williams to succeed Penguin USA CEO David Shanks in January 2014.

HarperCollins’s New User-Generated Content Website (DBW)
The new AvonRomance.com features user-generated content from across the Web, and will include book reviews, editorials, pictures, videos and news.

Publishers Working With Start-ups (Pub Perspectives)
Here are five tips for publishers that are looking to partner with technology start-ups. Best advice? Focus on metrics.

Hyperion Hires Hollywood Veteran to Head “Franchise” Publishing (DBW)
Former Hollywood agent Laura Hopper will work with Hyperion and parent Disney/ABC to find and develop new publishing franchises around existing television and film content.

Riggio to Pay (Bloomberg)
As expected, a judge approved a $29 million settlement between Barnes & Noble founder Len Riggio and investors who claim that he wrongly pushed the company that he controlled into buying his college bookstore chain.

McGraw-Hill Expands University E-Book Program (DBW)
McGraw-Hill signed a deal that will expand its e-books at universities pilot program to more than 25 schools for the fall 2012 semester.

Making E-Books Compatible Between Readers (New York Times)
It’s the only way to avoid carrying around three e-readers all with different libraries, writes David Pogue.

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