Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kobo launching an expanded "magazine store" for its digital e-readers

Kobo Inc., the tablet manufacturer and e-reading service, has announced the enhanced availability of mainstream magazines in an expanded digital magazine store. It has signed agreements with various large magazine publishers to make many more of their titles available in North America starting in September using its free e-reading apps for iOS and Android on various tablets and smartphones. 

Of course those free apps are a way for readers to pay to subscribe to the magazines, making it a potentially lucrative market for publishers.  

Titles to be available as part of what is being presented as Kobo's Guided Reading Experience, include those from as Rogers Publishing Limited, and Reader's Digest in Canada, Conde Nast,Hearst Corporation, American Media, Mansueto, Bauer Publishing Group and Mondadori. Guided Reading promises to replaces panning and zooming around a page as readers now do with so-called "replica" or "flipbook" digital publications, with a one-tap interface that intelligently moves from one column of text to the next.
"Removing distractions so readers can focus on the content, Kobo eliminates the need for toolbars – creating a more crisp and clean interface," said the company in a release. "The new experience, developed with the same digital publishing tools Kobo offers to publishers, significantly improves the magazine reading experience, letting readers enjoy magazines for what they are – the perfect mix of ideas, entertainment, and design."
Michael Serbinis, the president of Kobo, said in a story in the Financial Post:
“Tablets are generally not designed for people that are readers first. They’re designed to be multi-purpose devices. 
“You think about Netflix and movies, and Starbucks and coffee — that’s what Kobo is focused on being with reading. So when it comes to the new tablets, it’s about creating the best tablets for readers.”

At the same time as it announced the new digital magazine initiative, Kobo also announced that it will be selling three new versions of its Arc colour e-reader devices starting in October and a service that will allow parents the ability to set up dedicated book-buying accounts for their kids so they can safely explore the almost 100,000 titles in its eBookstore. Parents will be able to set spending allowances and adjust search settings.  
"Parents are also able to set reading goals for kids and track their progress with engaging reading stats – all features designed to make eReading an educational, fun, and friendly experience. The dedicated Kids Store will be available this September in North AmericaUnited KingdomFrance, and Italy, and will then be made available internationally."
Kobo, which was originally launched by Indigo Books & Music, the largest book and newsstand operator in Canada, now makes its line of e-readers under various Kobo sub-brands (Touch, Mini, Glo, Aura and Arc)  is headquartered in Toronto and owned by Rakuten, a Tokyo-based company. It makes approximatelyl 4 million books, magaines and newspapers available digitally by single copy and subscription in about 190 countries. 

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