Borders New E-Book Reader Plus Prices Cheaper Than Amazon

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Borders are set to take on global book retailer, Amazon, claiming they will not only match the US company’s prices but give an additional 10% discount if a cheaper price is found online.

 
Owned by the REDgroup, today Borders launched a new online strategy, which involves the roll out of a brand new $199 e-book reader, called the Kobo. They are also set to sell  DVDs, music, and in the future, games via their new online store, which will compete head-on with Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi in Australia, as well as Amazon.
 
Admitting that Amazon was already taking “a huge chunk” of the Australia book business, David Fenlon, Group Managing Director of REDgroup retail, said that he was confident that Borders could build a viable online business selling e-books.

“We are making over two million titles available in our e-book catalogue. We are giving away 100 free books with our new reader and when it comes to price we will be competitive if not cheaper than Amazon.” Fenlon said.

Borders also announced that their e-book content will be available for the iPad and iPhone, and in the future, BlackBerry- and Android-based devices.
 
“We believe that this is the best online content offering in Australia today. We can deliver across multiple platforms and we are price competitive” he added.

One drawback of the Kobo e-reader is that it does not have Wi-Fi or online browsing capability, so it has to be connested to a PC for the user to access content. 
 
SmartHouse compared the cost of books on Amazon and the Borders website, and after taking freight into consideration, which is free when ordering from Borders, several books appeared to be cheaper on the Borders site.
One drawback for Borders and Australian publishers is that overseas customers will not be able to buy books online from the Borders website because of parallel importation and rights issues with publishing companies.

Fenlon said that the new Borders e-book platform offered unrivalled functionality to consumers. “Borders e-book’s unique technology lets the customer choose how and on what device they want to read,” he said. “We are all about making e-books available, no matter how customers want to read them,” he said.
 
“In-keeping with our device agnostic approach, customers can download e-books directly from the Borders website and read them on iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android smart phones, on their iPad, PC or laptop or on their dedicated e-reading devices including the Kobo e-reader.
 
“We have developed a range of free apps for iPhone, iPad and other leading devices in the market, so e-books can be downloaded directly to those devices.

“If you use multiple devices to e-read, our e-book platform will let you read the same book seamlessly across all of them. Left your iPad or eReader at home? Soon our unique technology will allow you to bookmark your place and take you to that same page on any compatible device you have enabled for Borders’ e-books.

“Australians are early adopters of new technology and moreover they are avid readers and we believe there is a very strong appetite for e-books in this country.
 
In the same way that Borders physical bookstores aim to offer consumers the biggest range at the best possible prices, Borders e-books is implementing a competitive pricing structure.
 
 
Content
 
Mr Fenlon said that the Borders e-book content offering would also lead the market with a huge range of e-books available to download at launch with everything from fiction classics to new releases, crime, science fiction and romance titles.

“I’m particularly pleased that we have been able to make local content available by working with Australian publishers and authors to enhance the already extensive Kobo range. We recognise the importance of bringing Australian stories to Australian readers,” he said.

“What we have created today is an e-book store for Australians.
 
“We are delighted to have secured content deals with Australian publishers, both large and independent, ensuring long term sustainable content for our e-book platform. Over 100 publishers have come on board.

“New titles will constantly be added to the existing two million available ensuring we always have a comprehensive content offering.”

 
Kobo eReader
 
Mr Fenlon added that in addition to the groundbreaking e-books platform and leading content, customers could also turn to Borders for the Kobo eReader – a device optimised for e-reading. The Kobo e-reader supports the industry standards ePub and PDF and will continue to do so.

The Kobo eReader connects to the Borders desktop application, giving readers access to over two million e-books.

“With its use of eInk, lightweight frame, one button navigation and storage capacity, the Kobo e-reader is the perfect choice for those looking for a device purely for reading,” he said.

“The Kobo e-reader represents exceptional value at just $199 for a device which comes pre-loaded with 100 free e-books and is simple to use.”

The Kobo e-reader holds up to 1000 e-books and can be expanded to 5000 with the insertion of a memory card. It operates using eInk technology, meaning it is kinder on the readers eyes than a backlit device and is energy efficient, with the battery lasting up to two weeks or 8000 page turns.
 
Weighing only 221 grams, the device features a six-inch display screen with five adjustable font sizes for easy reading. The Kobo e-reader also features a quilted back, making it comfortable to hold. 

“Today is a very exciting day for Borders and Australian readers and we are thrilled to be able to bring e-books and the Kobo e-reader to them. Customers should stay tuned for even more amazing new content,” Mr Fenlon said.
 

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