Kobo’s Big Move: Will It Work?

Kobo may have just made the move that takes it from minor to major contender in the U.S. e-book market. The Toronto-based device and e-book firm has inked a deal with the American Booksellers Association to make its devices and e-books available for sale by indie bookstores.

Kobo hopes to replace the ailing Google Books program that allowed indies to sell e-books and is set to end in January. Nearly 400 stores had been using the Google Books program.

Could this move take Kobo from being a player thought to have about 3% of the U.S. e-book market to one that contends with Barnes & Noble and Amazon for big chunks of market share?

Maybe. First the company needs to figure out how to sell its devices in hundreds of different stores with different owners, different layouts, different lines of credit and different clientele. The retail task facing Kobo is daunting. We’ll see whether the company is up for it in October when the program launches.

Oh, and there’s competition.

Related: Kobo’s Michael Tamblyn Says “Publishers Should Experiment More”


States Reach Settlement With Publishers: $69 Million (PaidContent)
Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster have agreed to a settlement with 49 states and five territories that will see the publishers paying $69 million to consumers who bought agency-priced e-books from Spring 2010 to Spring 2012. E-book retailers will be issuing checks and crediting customers’ accounts.

Amazon NY to Sell E-Books Everywhere (PaidContent)
A deal with Ingram will put e-books from Amazon’s New York publishing operation on Nook, Kobo and other devices. How those books are priced on Amazon and other retailers will be watched closely.

What’s the Point of Publishers in the Digital Age? (DBW)
Good question. As it turns out, publishers do quite a lot in the digital age. One publisher in particular, however, sees it a little differently.

Register for DBW 2013! (DBW)
Registration is now open for the largest e-book and digital publishing conference in the world. Last year, nearly 1,700 digital publishing executives and others came to New York in January to learn about the latest in the business of e-books. Register before Oct. 5 and save $200.

The Wheels of Justice (Pub Lunch)
In a minor ruling, Judge Denise Cote of e-book price-fixing case fame is accepting a five-page brief coming out against the settlement from attorney Bob Kohn. It begs the question, with more information coming in, will there be a new pricing structure put into place between the settling publishers and the major retailers before the 2012 holiday selling season?

Sacto Library Settles (The Sacramento Bee)
The Department of Justice and the National Federation of the Blind have reached a settlement with the Sacramento Public Library, which had been allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by using Nook e-readers that were not accessible to the blind. As part of the settlement, the library will discontinue buying inaccessible readers and buy 18 blind-accessible ones. More here.

Pinterest < Twitter (Bloomberg)
Apparently, having 10,000 Twitter followers is more valuable commercially than having 100,000 followers on Pinterest. Lesson for publishers: Choose wisely when investing your social media marketing resources. Also, use social media to help your company, not get fired.

Moving Toward Open Access (PW)
Springer, a major STM publisher, is greatly expanding its open access e-book publishing program, which will make more science, technical and medical e-books available to anyone with an Internet connection.

Kindling the Flames of Creativity (Pub Perspectives)
The entrance of Amazon into India could help spark a self-publishing boom in the South Asian nation.

Prez 2.0 (The Atlantic)
In case you haven’t heard, President Obama was on the popular link-sharing site Reddit yesterday answering questions. Apparently, the President broke the Internet for a short while. (This isn’t strictly e-book-related, except in that if you don’t know about this story by the time you’re done reading today’s newsletter, you don’t get a gold star for the day for being a member of the digerati.)

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