Sales of electronic books have been going up steadily in the past few years, a phenomenon that has been helped by the proliferation of e-reader devices such as the Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader and the Kobo. In terms of technological advancement, these devices do not bring anything “revolutionary” to the world. They are basically a small version of a tablet PC running a modified operating system, designed primarily to be used for reading eBooks, plus containing a few internet connectivity features. However, it is the sheer convenience of these devices that has made them so popular, as they allow a consumer to read a book no matter where they are, are very portable due to their small size and have much better battery life than the majority of tablet PCs. This explains why so many people choose to buy books, such as Romance Books online these days.
The Kobo is one of these devices. However, it has faced an uncertain future after the book chain which had partnered up with it, Borders, went out of business a few months ago. It should be noted, however, that Kobo Inc. the company which sells the device was independently owned and not under the direct control of Borders.
In a bid to profit from the device’s success, Japanese electronic firm Rakuten has announced that they would be purchasing Kobo Inc. According to the announcement that was published on technology news site ZDNet, Rakuten has made the purchase in order to expand its “border less e-commerce business”. The deal is expected to be approved in early 2012 and as part of the acquisition, Kobo will retain its headquarters as well as its current management team and staff.
Many commentators and business analysts believe that this recent purchase is a good move by Rakuten. The sale of electronic books, which was previously smaller in volume and comprised mainly of erotic eBooks and questionable “Make Money Online Today!” guides, has now reached mainstream acceptance and there are millions of eBooks of all sorts being sold today. Mainstream books, such as adventure series and romance novels are increasingly appearing in electronic versions and sold by online distributors such as Google Books or directly on the publishers’ websites.
Even though the majority of people buy books for entertainment, the advanced multimedia and online connectivity capabilities of these e-reader devices such as the Kobo has a significant value in academia, either in educational institutions or for independent learning. Many creators of language learning courses have released versions of their materials which are compatible with e-reader devices and take advantage of features of the new generation of e-readers, which allow audio, full color pictures, video and text viewing.
For the time being, it is too early to speculate just how successful the Kobo will get, but with a new partner the company at least has a shot at being competitive.
Carmella Borcher is the author of this article and is an avid fan of romance novels – particularly erotic books and erotic ebooks.