Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Borders Hopes Its "Better Late Than Never" Approach Will Work

Borders might be missing out on e-book sales during the 2009 Christmas buying season but the company hopes that will not be the case next year. The bookstore chain has just announced a partnership with Canadian company Kobo Inc. to produce an e-book application and a new e-book store of its own by the second quarter of next year. However, unlike its competitors, Borders will not be marketing its own branded e-book reader.

(Photo of the Sony Reader (Touch) sold in Borders bookstores)

From Ann Arbor.com:
The announcement comes as investors and book industry analysts have criticized Borders for lacking a defined e-reader strategy during the 2009 holiday shopping season, broadly considered a critical period for the struggling retailer.

The move means that Borders, which sells the Sony e-reader in its stores, is opting against developing its own e-reader.
Instead, Borders plans to allow its new e-book application to be downloaded on smart phones - including Apple's iPhone, the BlackBerry and Android - and other digital devices for use by anyone.
There is little doubt anymore that e-books will become a significant percentage of all books sold by the largest book retailers in the country. The Borders approach is a much cheaper one than the one Barnes & Noble chose and, considering the early reviews of the Barnes & Noble Nook, maybe even a wiser one. 2010 promises to be an interesting chapter in the development of the e-book market and I can't wait to see how all this turns out.

By the way, I've used Kobo's Shortcovers software to upload a classic or two on my Palm Pre smart phone and have read most of Edith Wharton's Summer on my phone. It works well, so I have to believe the Borders/Kobo partnership will be a good thing for both companies.


  1. This actually sounds a bit smarter (no smart phone pun intended) than the Amazon and Barnes & Noble method. Having e-books available on devices that people already own and carry around with them anyway makes sense.

  2. Well yay. :/

    B&N's ebooks are available for i-phones and Blackberrys. Supposedly other phones are coming soon.