Kobo arrives in Brazil in September

This is a guest post by Stella Dauer, a designer and ebook evangelist, based in São Paulo, Brazil.

As you’ll read in the article, Kobo’s arrival to Brazil is not the rumor. The vice president of the company, Todd Humphrey, announced it during the Rakuten Super Expo event in São Paulo.

Please, do not hesitate to visit Stella’s blog for more information on the Brazilian ebook market.

The information we were expecting. While everyone is looking for when will Apple iBooks Store and Amazon arrives here, Google Books and Kobo stand aside. What does not stop them to continue negotiating their arrival in Brazil. In the event Rakuten Super Expo that took place yesterday in São Paulo, April 25, the company’s vice president Todd Humphrey said that Kobo will arrive in Brazil in the second half.

Kobo logoKobo is a complete platform. Besides being a virtual book store, it also has applications for various platforms and a range of devices including eReaders and tablets of good quality. The prices of eBooks are not as good as Amazon or B&N, but in Canada the company already has 45% of market share.

Both the store and the gadgets will arrive here in the third quarter (around September) and the prices are not defined yet. The gadgets will be imported, so it’s useless to expect them to be cheap. However, Kobo Vox ($199) will be the first tablet devoted to reading to officially arrives here. The eReader Kobo Touch, that currently costs $129, must also be available.

Not much is known about the negotiation style of Kobo with the editors, but apparently they are much easier to deal with than the Amazon, with an approaching style similar to Apple and allowing prices different from $9.99 on eBooks sold in their store. The eBooks are available in ePub or PDF format with DRM, but they have a flexible platform and offer free eBooks that do not have protections (negotiated with publishers). Therefore, there is a confirmation that publisher Martins Fontes already have closed a deal more than two months ago.

It is also said that Kobo is arriving here through a partnership with a Brazilian bookstore chain – probably Livraria Cultura or Livraria Saraiva – to sell their devices in physical stores. “We are working with Brazilian publishers and closing sales agreements with retailers, as well as a large chain of bookstores to distribute the eBook readers” said Humphrey, which was excited about the digital book market in Brazil. “In over 5 years, 50% of books will be in digital format in Brazil” he bet.

Since the purchase of Kobo for $ 315 million by the japanese company Rakuten late last year, the Canadian company began to point their guns to various countries. Besides the obvious Japan, Kobo also aim Brazil, where Rakuten already have bases formed in eCommerce. And as the digital book market here promises fertility in the business, a great opportunity arose.

The Kobo also has a self-publishing platform that recently opened.

I am encouraged by the presence of this fourth major player in our market. Kobo is easier to deal with, and will probably offer good deals for publishers, which may compete with Amazon, Apple and others.

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