It’s been well over a month since Kobo’s retail partners in the UK and Canada started selling Kobo’s latest ereaders, but thanks to Kobo’s refusal to stock their own hardware on their own website interested buyers in the US have been out of luck. Until today.
Update: One reader has pointed out that Kobo doesn’t seem to be carrying any ereaders on their website anymore. How bizarre. Thanks Isles!
I’ve just ordered my Kobo Glo from Powell’s Books.
This Portland based indie bookseller announced a partnership with Kobo last week, but it wasn’t until this week that they updated the website to include product pages for the Kobo Mini and Kobo Glo as well as cases for the 2 ereaders. There does not seem to be any mention of the Kobo Touch or the Kobo Arc, though.
But I did see mentions of ebooks. From what I can tell Powell’s is handling the ebook sales strictly as an affiliate; they’re not selling the ebooks themselves on their website but instead are sending customers to Kobo.
That’s not a good thing. It’s going to inhibit any bookseller’s goal of engaging with readers and it’s also going to let Kobo build up their customer base at the expense of the indie bookseller.
It’s also a marked change from Powell’s past ebook efforts. Powell’s was one of the many indie booksellers who signed up with Google when the Google eBookstore was launched back in 2010. In fact, I would go so far as to say Powell’s was one of the flagship partners, but they along with all the rest were left in the lurch when Google announced the imminent end of the reseller program back in April of this year.