The platform offers approximately 140 free ebooks (a figure Kobo plans to grow), of which about 85% are full-text editions, while the remainder are samples of titles readers can buy after landing.
Nearly a quarter of the titles on the platform are best-sellers by Big Five publishers.
Kobo’s in-flight e-reading platform, which went live for Southwest customers on May 6, represents another push toward curated ebook discovery as publishers and retailers strive to deliver the right content to the right readers at the right time.
The move also falls in line with efforts by Kobo’s parent company Rakuten to expand its global ebook business, a key growth area the company identified earlier this spring when it acquired the library distributor OverDrive.
KOBO OFFERS SOUTHWEST AIRLINES® CUSTOMERS COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS TO EBOOKS WHILE INFLIGHT
– GLOBAL EAGLE ENTERTAINMENT DEVELOPS HIGH-FLYING PARTNERSHIP, TAKING DIGITAL READING TO THE SKIES –
Toronto, ON – May 12, 2015 – Furthering its promise to enable booklovers to “Read Anywhere,” Kobo, a Rakuten company and leading innovator in the digital reading space, today announced a new partnership with Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (“GEE”) (Nasdaq: ENT), a market-leading media and connectivity provider to the travel industry, and Bauer Communications. Together, the three companies will provide Southwest Airlines Customers with complimentary access to hundreds of digital publications from Kobo’s world-class digital reading platform via the airline’s inflight entertainment portal.
The reading platform, which launched on May 6, includes full books and extended previews of top titles and new releases across all genres from publishers such as Penguin Random House, HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Simon & Schuster, Inc., Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, Kensington Publishing Corp., ECW Press, Open Road Media, Bauer Communications and more.
Reading Made Easy
Onboard a Southwest Airlines flight, Customers use their own WiFi-enabled devices to connect to the entertainment portal, allowing them access to choose from hundreds of top-selling titles in Kobo’s library for a smooth, enjoyable reading experience. No time to finish the book? No worries! After landing, Customers will receive an email from Kobo with information about how to purchase the book in order to continue reading the book at their destination.
“Since day one, we have been driven by the singular goal of making digital reading easier—allowing booklovers to read more wherever and whenever they want,” said Michael Tamblyn, President and Chief Content Officer, Rakuten Kobo. “Working with GEE allows us to take this passion for empowering readers to the skies, making a favorite in-flight pastime easier than ever.”
“We’re very excited to partner with Kobo to provide a unique in-flight digital eBook experience,” added Alexis Steinman, SVP of Digital Products at GEE. “Reading is one of the most popular forms of entertainment for airline passengers, and GEE’s partnership with a leading eBook platform will provide value both to our customer Southwest, and to its passengers.
About Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE)
GEE (Nasdaq: ENT) is a market-leading media and connectivity provider to the travel industry .The company supports airlines and other travel industry sectors with a wide range of connectivity, content, digital media and operations data solutions. GEE’s comprehensive portfolio of products and services includes WiFi, movies, television, music, as well as wireless entertainment and digital media solutions. Serving approximately 150 airlines worldwide and the maritime industry, GEE delivers exceptional quality and value to its customers to help them achieve their passenger experience objectives. The company’s headquarters are located in Los Angeles, California, with offices and teams located in North America, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Oceania and South America. Find out more at www.geemedia.com
About Rakuten Kobo Inc.
Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services offering more than 4.5 million eBooks and magazines to millions of customers in 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides consumers with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders and Google-Certified Android tablets to suit any Reader’s style including the award-winning Kobo Touch™, Kobo Mini, Kobo Glo, Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura HD, Kobo Aura H2O, Kobo Arc, Kobo Arc 7, Kobo Arc 7HD, Kobo Arc 10HD. With the company’s free top-ranking eReading apps for Apple®, BlackBerry®, Android®, and Windows®, Kobo ensures the next great read is just a page-turn away. Headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten, Kobo eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit www.kobo.com.