First there was David versus Goliath. We all know how that ended up. But could this be DVs.GII? All I know is this time it’s indeed bibliocal as Kobo attempts to stand toe to toe with Kindle via their new publishing platform, Writing Life.
For those of you asking, “What’s a Kobo?” let’s start with a little history lesson. Once upon a time (2009) a bunch of Canucks formed a company with the idea of not only producing an e-reader (device) but partnering it with a retail eBook website and a multi-platform application with powerful social media integration. “Read Freely” became their motto, and epub (the standard, nonproprietary eBook format) became their format.
As of January 2012 the majority of Kobo, Inc. was bought by a Japanese Company, and just maybe those laid-back Canadians have acquired some Samurai soul in the exchange (maybe they had it in them all along, but we’ll see).
In 2010 their Kobo reader was part of the reason the highly priced (at the time) Kindle slashed their price tag by over 50%. After the Kindle muscled the Kobo from it’s affordability niche, Kobo upgraded features like wi-fi and 3G. Now its Kobo Vox is priced at $179 in a standoff with the Kindle Fire at $199. But has the lowballing, rough and tumble Kobo really returned? Will the Japanese slap down the jelly donut and deliver the heat?
I’m a believer. Let me tell you the two main reasons why.