Where Amazon had the Kindle and Barnes & Noble had the Nook, Borders chose to partner with Kobo for its e-book store and reader. In the wake of Borders’s bankruptcy, it has been assumed that the licensing agreement with Kobo would be one of the Borders assets that would be auctioned off. (At one point, Borders had an 11% stake in Kobo, though apparently did not as of the bankruptcy.) However, PaidContent reports that Kobo has filed papers with the bankruptcy court overseeing the auction to try to keep that from happening.

Apparently Kobo is concerned about what a buyer might do with its customer data that was included as part of the deal with Borders, and also about possible exclusivity clauses that might keep it from partnering with another retailer.

In its filing, Kobo says the licenses are are invalid because Borders did not hold up its end of the bargain. The Toronto-based company also says it is illegal under Canadian privacy law to transfer customer data. In an email to paidContent, Borders’ lawyer Jeffrey Gleit said the licenses are not part of the auction sale. Reached by phone, Kobo’s lawyer Michael Venditto said the parties had been in discussion but that he could not offer further comment.

Presumably this will end up being settled amicably. Still, isn’t it interesting to see a Borders bankruptcy story that has something to do with e-books?


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