It’s sometimes difficult to see beyond Amazon’s all-conquering Kindle, but Canadian competitor Kobo has today announced “triple digit growth”, with eBook downloads up by 400% and eReader sales rising 160% year-on-year as the Toronto-based company gears up for a year of expansion.
“We’re thrilled to introduce Kobo’s open eReading platform and the Kobo ‘Read Freely’ philosophy to new countries around the world,” says Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis. “It’s become increasingly clear that the world of eReading is the way of the future and as technology continues to break down geographic borders.”
Kobo was founded in late 2009, and today it claims more than 8 million registered users across 190 countries. Today’s announcement comes hot on the heels of a series of big news events, the most notable perhaps being its acquisition by Japanese Internet powerhouse Rakuten, the world’s third-largest e-commerce company.
Kobo now has more than 2.5 million titles across sixty languages available for its eReader device. And since January this year, the company has more than doubled its employee base, with growth most notable in Canada, the US, Ireland, the UK, Germany, Australia, Luxembourg, and France.
“Strong eReader growth is projected by IDC for the European market; with sales increasing over 400% to 9.6 million devices expected in the market by 2015,” says Serbinis. “We expect Kobo’s trajectory for international growth and user adoption to quickly meet and exceed market projections. We have set the standard for helping our consumers engage in reading in new and meaningful ways, while delivering on our promise to help retailers, authors and publishers take advantage of this emerging market. In two years, we’ve done what others couldn’t in ten.”
As a Rakuten subsidiary, the company will be launching in Japan this year, with Portugal, Spain, Italy, and more markets to follow after.