April 16 - Kobo launches its limited edition Aura HD ''luxury'' eReader, with the highest resolution display available on the market. It's seen as the Canadian company's challenge to Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite. It was unveiled on the sidelines of the London Book Fair, where Joanna Partridge reports publishers are increasingly embracing digital books and also want to see more competition in the market.
UPSOUND "the ultimate ereading machine" Kobo CEO Mike Serbinis launches their limited edition eReader - the Aura HD. The Canadian firm says it's got the highest screen resolution on the market. Unveiled on the sidelines of the London Book Fair - the device is aimed at keen readers. SOUNDBITE: Mike Serbinis, CEO of Kobo, saying (English): "The closest thing to reading print on paper. Good for any book, especially books with illustrations. It's a faster device, so turning pages is seamless." The Aura HD is available to preorder, and is seen as Kobo's challenger to rival Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite. Publishers and the book industry have begun to embrace eReaders and ebooks. With almost one in four books in the UK now read digitally they can't afford not to. Philip Jones, Editor of The Bookseller, says publishers now want to see more competition among device makers and digital catalogues, so more books get published digitally. SOUNDBITE: Philip Jones, Editor of The Bookseller, saying (English): "The ebook market is dominated at the moment by one big Seattle giant called Amazon, which has, we think, 85, 90% market share of all ebook sales sold in the UK and it's not far off that in the States. So they want a diversified marketplace with different resellers of ebooks and different booksellers in that market, and Kobo is one of the biggest challengers to Amazon. It's been bought by a a big Japanese firm, Rakuten, so it now has big money behind it." PTC: Kobo says it's got customers in 190 countries around the globe. And book industry experts say it has a larger geographical spread than its bigger rival Amazon. But Kobo want to tap the emerging markets, it's launching its ereaders and its book catalogue in India and China later this year. Those markets have specific challenges. SOUNDBITE: Mike Serbinis, CEO of Kobo, saying (English): "They don't have the same developed distribution and sales environment, in terms of there being a shop on every high street selling books, that's just not the case. There's very little coverage of those countries, digital can actually help them leapfrog or catch up to the kind of distribution we enjoy here." Kobo's got long way to go to become global number one for digital books and devices. Some critics think it's trying to launch in too many countries, too quickly, instead of battling for more market share in the US and UK. But it's tripling its 2012 marketing spend and is launching a global campaign - hoping to attract book lovers in new and established markets.