Report: Kobo Finds Brazil Retail Partner, Plans to Undercut Amazon Prices

UPDATE: Kobo has confirmed that it has formed a partnership with Brazilian bookstore chain Livraria Cultura. Kobo will be launching in Brazil in October or November, according to a statement released today. The complete statement is posted below.

Brazilian bookstore chain Livraria Cultura has reportedly partnered with Kobo to sell devices and e-books, according to local media source Economia & Negocios (via The Digital Reader).

The chain plans to sell e-readers at lower prices than Amazon sells Kindles. A local report in February indicated that Amazon had planned to slash prices on its devices in the country to gain market share. Amazon is reportedly set to launch its e-book business in Brazil in the fourth quarter this year.

According to The Digital Reader, Livraria Cultura has 14 stores in the country and a website where it sells movies, music, books and e-books. The Kobo launch is set for next month. Read more on e-books in Brazil and Kobo’s move at The Digital Reader.

 

The statement from Kobo and Livraria Cultura:

Livraria Cultura and Kobo announce partnership that will strongly impact the Brazilian publishing market

Exclusive agreement with Kobo will allow access to nearly 3 million titles and a family of eReading devices, which will arrive in stores in October/ November

São Paulo, September 14th, 2012 – Livraria Cultura, a reference at the Brazilian bookstores market, announces today an unprecedented partnership in Brazil. Through an agreement with Kobo, a global leader in eReading, the Kobo Touch eReader and Kobo’s worldclass catalogue of nearly 3 million ebooks will be brought to the Brazilian market in October/ November.

“The choice of Kobo was something very natural. We wanted an open and very high quality platform. Moreover, we wanted a device that is a reference for users worldwide to give us the confidence to partner with our brand. Besides the device, which will be sold in Brazil with our signature, the partnership will increase our collection of e-books. Together, Livraria Cultura and will offer nearly 3 million e-books, with over 15,000 of them available in Portuguese”, says Sergio Herz, CEO of Livraria Cultura.

The Kobo Touch e-reader will be available for purchase at all 14 Livraria Cultura stores and also on its website. The e-books will be available to browse and purchase directly through the Kobo Touch eReader and via the Livraria Cultura website.

“We are enormously pleased to bring to Brazil our premium line of e-readers through this partnership with a strong brand like Livraria Cultura. We expect eReading in Brazil to grow significantly over the next year and our partnership will bring to the Brazilian reader the beloved and robust Kobo eReading experience”, says Todd Humphrey, Executive Vice President, Business Development, Kobo.

According to Sergio, the partnership is complementary. “We will maintain our corporate values and our DNA of cultural disseminators of this project. The Kobo Touch e-reader by Livraria Cultura will allow total freedom of choice. The virtual library purchased by the readers will be theirs and may also be viewed on devices from other manufactures – this is the portability of the e-books. This feature was one of the differentials for choosing Kobo as a partner. They value open access to information as much as we do”, he adds.

The starting date of sales, price and details of the e-reader will be announced shortly. “Our expectation is indeed to shake the Brazilian market of e-books and e-readers. A high quality device will surely have a great acceptance by the market. With the ease and the encouragement to access e-books through a quality equipment, publishers will also invest more in releasing titles in digital versions, extending the offer in Brazil. Everyone has something to gain with this new access to the rich world of e-reading”, concludes Sergio Herz.

About Livraria Cultura

Founded in 1947 by Eva Herz, Livraria Cultura still brings to her stores throughout Brazil the largest collection of the Brazilian market and the renowned customer service combined with high quality entertainment. Elected by hers customers as a “Third place” – the most frequented after home and work – each Cultura store is a large entertainment center, where guests will not only to buy but to upgrade or simply discuss ideas with other visitors or with their favorite bookseller. Besides the traditional meeting point for intellectuals and readers, Livraria Cultura is also the scene of concerts, shows, jazz nights, lectures, philosophical cafes and book signings in every city where it is installed. Currently, Livraria Cultura has three units with different concepts (custom retail), a specialized collection of books on art and traditional 13 units – four in São Paulo, one in Campinas, two in Brasilia, one in Porto Alegre, another in Recife, one in Fortaleza and one in Salvador and one in Rio de Janeiro, beyond the recently open in Curitiba. In April 2012, a new store was opened to the public: Geek.Etc.Br, a new space dedicated to the geek and nerd universe, established at Conjunto Nacional, in São Paulo.

For more info, go to: www.livrariacultura.com.br
About Kobo Inc.
Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services offering nearly 3-million eBooks, magazines and newspapers. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo has built an open-standards platform to provide consumers with a choice when reading. Inspired by a “Read Freely” philosophy and a passion for innovation, Kobo has expanded to nearly 190 countries, where millions of consumers have access to localized eBook catalogues and award-winning eReaders, like the Kobo Touch. With top-ranked eReading applications for Apple, BlackBerry, Android, and Windows products, Kobo allows consumers to make eReading social through Facebook Timeline and Reading Life, an industry-first social experience that lets users earn awards for time spent reading and encourage others to join in. Headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten, Kobo eReaders can be found in major retail chains across the globe.

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