May 8, 2010

Borders Taking Orders For New Kobo eReader

Borders Group Inc said on Friday that it has begun taking pre-orders for the Kobo electronic book reader, which is scheduled for release starting June 17, and it is offering it at a lower price than other competitive devices.

Borders also announced Friday that its e-bookstore and software will be available beginning in June.

The Kobo e-reader will retail for $149.99 and come preloaded with 100 classic books, according to the bookseller. The e-bookstore and e-reader software will run on Kobo technology, most smartphones, personal computers, and Apple's iPad.

Borders said it plans to designate "Area-e" shops in its stores to sell the Kobo e-reader and other e-reading devices beginning in August.

Bookstores have struggled with increased competition from online stores and have started focusing on the quickly growing e-book market.

Barnes & Noble introduced its Nook e-reader last year, which sells for $259.

The market has been dominated by Amazon.com's Kindle e-reader, which also sells for $259.

Michael Norris, senior trade analyst at Simba Information, told the Associated Press (AP) that the lower price point might give Borders an edge in "playing catch-up with its peers." Since people may feel they don't read enough books to commit to a dedicated device, "the lower price point might bring some on-the-fence e-book readers around and also make it an easier gift."

The Borders e-bookstore will have more than 1 million titles, which will be sold through its web site and also through free apps that are available on the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, iPad and on PCs.


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