High street retailer WHSmith has today announced a new partnership in the UK and Ireland with Kobo Inc., a leading global e-reading service to sell its e-readers in stores.
Strengthening its hold in the growing e-reader market is likely to boost sales for the business in the vital run-up to the busy Christmas period.
Earlier today, the retailer reported a four per cent rise in profit before tax to total £93 million for its full-year financial period ending August 31st 2011.
The e-book market is currently dominated by pure-play e-tailer Amazon, which recently unveiled a new tablet, Kindle Fire, to battle the ubiquitous Apple iPad, as well as a trio of latest generation Kindle e-book products including two new Kindle Touch offerings.
Kobo Inc. is the number one e-book brand in Canada and Australia, known for its extensive e-bookstore, and the latest product will be available in the 750 nationwide WHSmith stores.
Prices start at £89.99 and will include the new Kobo Touch at £109.99, the first WiFi touch screen e-reader widely available in the UK.
Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo Inc. explained that WHSmith’s continued growth makes the partnership ideal for the company.
“Kobo has spent the past three years building a strong presence internationally and partnering with WHSmith, one of the UK’s leading booksellers, with a proven track record in launching new initiatives, was a natural choice as we look to expand further into Europe,” he said.
Launching on October 17th, the devices will be available from all of the retailer’s high street stores as well as a number of WHSmith Travel stores, which reported record profits for the last financial year.
Kate Swann, CEO of WHSmith, expressed the retailer’s pleasure over the opportunities the new partnership will bring.
“WHSmith is pleased to be working with Kobo to bring its world class e-readers and e-bookstore to the UK and Irish markets,” she commented.
“The partnership with Kobo further extends our presence in this developing market whilst complementing our physical books business”.