Ebook Readers Wars – Kobo Takes On Mighty Amazon In India!
eBook publishing is one of the hottest industries right now, with a market of over $300 million globally, it is growing at an impressive rate of 40% year on year. Last year, 20% of all books sold all over the world was in eBook format, and more and more people are now reading the electronic version of words, compared to physical version.
Ebook subscription based startups are also very popular now, with more and more entrepreneurs attempting Netflix style business model around eBooks.
Right now, there are very few eBook readers available in India, with almost 90% of the market captured by Amazon’s Kindle. Some other eBook readers include Pi 2 which was launched by Infibeam and Wink eBook Reader, launched by EC Media based in Bangalore.
But Kobo wishes to change Indian eBook reader’s habits, as it has announced its launch inside India.
What is Kobo?
Kobo is a company based in Canada, which manufactures eBook readers using the electronic ink screen technology, which has now become the industry standard. The term Kobo is a remix of the word ‘Book’, as they have rearranged the letters to create a unique identity.
They launched their first product in May, 2010, which was later launched in the USA in July 2010. From October 24, 2013 onwards, Kobo eBook readers would be available inside India at selected locations such as Croma, Crossword bookstores and WHSmith.
To start with, they are launching their 4 flagship products: Kobo Touch (priced at Rs 7,999) ; Kobo Glo (priced at Rs 10,999) ; Kobo Aura HD (priced at Rs 13,999) and Kobo Arc which is an Android based tablet, priced at Rs 11,999.
All of these products have been discounted till Diwali, and would be available at special pricing till November 3rd, 2013. Here is a detailed review of Kobo Aura, by Geekdad.
Book lovers can choose from over 4 million titles which are available at Kobo eBookstore right now. All of Kobo’s eBook readers support Wi-Fi and can be connected to a PC or Laptop via USB cable.
Kobo Vs Kindle
Technology wise, both Kindle and Kobo are almost similar. However, one great advantage which Kobo has right now is its open epub format; using which a person can download ebooks of any format and read it in Kobo.
On the other hand, Kindle only supports those books which have been distributed and downloaded using the Amazon eBooks marketplace.
Unfortunately, there won’t be 3G facilities in Kobo devices, which limit its functionality, unlike Kindle devices which has 3G option as well.
Additionally, some reviewers have found the hardware capability of Kobo to be lot better compared to Amazon’s Kindle. The technology through which the pages of eBooks gets turned over is smoother in Kobo, compared to Kindle.
It would be interesting to see, how much damage Kobo can inflict on Kindle’s market share in India. But for eBook readers India, this Diwali has certainly become more interesting.