Kobo Vox spreads to Best Buy stores
Kobo made an important leap forward for itself Wednesday after it landed a deal for the Vox e-reader tablet to reach US Best Buy stores. The Android slate should be in stores now for the same $199 asked elsewhere. All four colors should be available on the Vox, which ships preloaded with both Kobo's own book app as well as PressReader newspapers, Zinio magazines, Merriam-Webster's Dictonary, and major apps like Rdio's music streaming, Facebook, and Twitter.
Kobo tries to spur new readers through free books
Kobo is trying a unique strategy to lure readers away from Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble by promising regular free e-books. Anyone who buys a Kobo Touch and first uses it on or before March 31 gets a free e-book each month. The publishers include Harvard Business Review Press, e-Reads, F+W Media, Gooseberry Patch, and New Word City, as well as four independent authors.
Rakuten buyout puts Kobo in Japanese hands
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten said late Tuesday that it was buying Kobo for $315 million in cash. The deal gives it access to both an e-bookstore and e-reader devices, including traditional devices like the Wireless eReader and Android tablets like the Kobo Vox. Rakuten explained it as a push to expand its ecosystem outside of Japan through a media store, where books would just be the start.
Panasonic, Sony part of e-book alliance
Panasonic and Sony, as well as online shop operator Rakuten, agreed on Monday to work together on interoperable e-books. The step would see a joint system that would let e-books work across their devices as well as share a common platform for their stores. As portrayed by Nikkei, the common service would help keep track of e-book collections and have a web storefront.