Engadget has the press release from Kobo on the completion of its purchase by e-commerce company Rakuten. Kobo’s HQ will remain in Toronto, though Rakuten is based in Japan. Given that Rakuten owns a lot of popular e-commerce and other industry sites already (including e-tailer Buy.com), it has the potential to give Kobo a lot more expansion and marketing opportunities than its erstwhile partner, the late Borders.

Will that be enough to let Kobo catch up with Amazon, or even maintain its lead in international areas Amazon doesn’t service yet? That remains to be seen. But if there was ever any doubt how popular e-books are becoming now, the way that a huge corporation like Rakuten so quickly snatched up Kobo should more than lay them to rest.


  1. I don’t think Rakuten needs to knock Amazon from #1 in order to be extremely successful and profitable. In some markets, Rakuten’s online stores look a lot like amazon.com selling all manners of goods via mail order. Kobo fits nicely into that infrastructure and could leverage the capital and pre-existing base markets to grow its business.

    There is definitely room for more than one player in ebooks and, as more devices allow multiple stores / ereader apps, there is less reason for consumers to adopt one ebook format / vendor exclusively. As a reader, Tom Clancy ebook is the same whether in Kobo, Nook or Kindle format and if a primary ereading device happens to deliver all, there’s no reason to be aligned with just one store.

    Provided Kobo continues to evolve its product and platform, there is a good future for it into the longer term.

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