Kobo Takes Aim at Kindle Voyage

Kobo Michael Tamblyn Glo HD Kindle FireUnveiling its newest device, the Glo HD, Kobo makes a play for the top shelf of the e-reader market.

Retailing for $70 less than Amazon’s premium e-reader, the Kindle Voyage, the Glo HD boasts comparable specs, including six-inch, 300 ppi E Ink touchscreen, 1GHz of processing power and approximately two months of battery life.

Yesterday’s product launch is the latest in a series of maneuvers by Kobo and its parent company Rakuten to double down on ebooks worldwide.

Rakuten announced plans to acquire the library ebook distributor OverDrive just three weeks ago, and over the past year, Kobo has scooped up the global customers first of Sony and then of Blinkbox Books when both ebook retailers exited the market.

More.


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Kobo’s Play for Print Lovers (National Post)
Kobo says a key target for its new e-reader is the reader who hasn’t yet made the leap to ebooks. In addition to features designed to offer a cutting-edge e-reading experience, the Glo HD also includes a “concierge” service that promises book recommendations tailored to users’ preferences.

Time to Lower the Amazon Threat Level? (Pub Perspectives)
By most accounts, Amazon’s market share in the book business is far from diminishing, and plenty of publishers still view the e-tailer as a necessary evil whose power they’d prefer to see curbed. But one industry watcher is ready to declare Amazon’s star falling, saying its hardware hasn’t performed very well and the company is struggling in emerging markets like China. You be the judge.
Related: Of Menace and Metaphor in Amazon-Publishers Debate

Millennials Split with Parents on Love for Amazon (Forbes)
New research finds millennials are more likely to rank Amazon’s much-touted customer service highly than their parents. Considering, too, that almost 40% of Prime subscribers are estimated to be younger than 35, the broad appeal among younger customers is something Amazon can be happy about.
Related: How to Engage Millennial Readers on Social Media

Digital Takes Larger Share of Sales at McGraw-Hill (PW)
Digital sales comprised 31% of total sales at McGraw-Hill Global Education in 2014, rising from 27% the previous year to hit $401 million. Overall revenue grew 4%.

Google’s Algorithm Change Nears (LearnBonds)
Publishers concerned that the algorithm change Google has planned for the end of the month will tamp down their business have ample company. But when the shift takes place on April 21st, sites that aren’t mobile-responsive will take a hit in search results. Here’s how to test for weak spots ahead of time.

Antitrust Regulators Turn to E-Commerce (Re/code)
For the first time, the Department of Justice prosecutes a merchant operating on Amazon Marketplace for allegedly conspiring with similar sellers to fix prices in their category (posters, as it happens). Amazon has not been charged.

Ed-Tech Start-ups Join Forces (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
The digital media marketplace Valore acquires Boundless, the digital textbook publisher that has come under legal pressure from publishers for copyright infringement. Boundless will continue to operate under Valore, and the combined companies plan to continue pursuing opportunities in the textbook space.

Digital’s Virtuous Circle for the Young at Heart (WashPost)
Publishers are well aware of the sizable share of not-so-young adults buying and reading YA titles, but the phenomenon isn’t limited just to that category. Assessing the recent popularity of coloring books meant for grown-ups, one observer argues that the digital market—which has helped adult readers get accustomed to buying and reading juvenile ebooks without fear of judgment—is fostering guilt-free print purchases online, too.

Hybrid Author on Signing Traditional Publishing Deal (Futurebook)
Best-selling self-published author Jasinda Wilder recently scored a seven-figure book contract with Penguin Random House. Speaking of her creative partnership with her husband, Wilder explains, “We’ve accomplished a lot as indies, and we will continue to do so as well,” but “what we saw working best” in their latest effort “was an original story written specifically for traditional publication.” Not all self-published authors have the same luxury of choice, but how Wilder distinguishes between the models is worth noting.
Related: How Authors Make Publishing Decisions

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