While Borders UK stores will pull the shutters down on all of its stores next week, Borders in the US has invested in Shortcovers and that has resulted in the re-branding of the successful e-retailer. Shortcovers will now be curiously known as Kobo and they will power the new Borders ebook stores. Here is part of the press release.
Borders Group Inc today announced a strategic investment and commercial partnership with Kobo, Inc., a global eReading service that is the newly named spin-off of Toronto-based Indigo Books & Music Inc.’s Shortcovers digital reading initiative. Through the partnership, Borders will launch a new eBook store integrated into Borders.com and powered by Kobo. In addition, Kobo will power a Borders-branded eBook store for multiple mobile devices. Sales through these Borders-branded eBook stores will be booked by Borders. Kobo’s mobile applications are device neutral, which will enable consumers to purchase eBooks from Borders on popular smartphones such as the iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm Pre and Android, as well as other devices. Borders and Kobo plan to launch these new services within the second quarter of 2010.Kobo is an innovative company that as Shortcovers has already, in a matter of months, provided eBooks to customers from over 200 countries who have downloaded its reader application over one million times online and through devices including smartphones, desktops and popular eReaders such as the Sony Reader. As a leading book retailer with a strong customer following–including over 35 million members of its Borders Rewards loyalty program–Borders Group shares Kobo’s vision of providing consumers any book on any device. Other investors in Kobo include Indigo, Instant Fame, a subsidiary of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. of Hong Kong and REDGroup Retail Pty Ltd. of Australia.“Our partnership and investment in Kobo is a significant step in our digital strategy of providing eBooks however our customers want to consume them,” said Borders Group Chief Executive Officer Ron Marshall. “Kobo’s global, device neutral and open approach will allow Borders-branded software applications to be downloaded on a variety of devices and is the right move for Borders as the digital market continues to evolve. We look forward to building on this key element of our digital strategy as we address the growing eBook opportunity while also remaining committed to improving our brick and mortar superstore business.”