When Kobo was bought by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten back in November, CEO Michael Serbinis said it now had the backing to aggressively compete with the e-reader big boys. It seems he was right: Kobo has just announced it’s venturing out into 100 brick-and-mortar bookstores across the U.K. The plan will see 100 Kobo-branded shops placed inside WHSmith stores, and mirrors moves by e-retailing giants like Amazon, Samsung and eBay. (Of course, Kobo readers can already be found in Indigo stores in Canada since the company began life under the aegis of the super-chain.) We love that a scrappy, inexpensive Canadian tablet is doing so well—but it does make us a little sad that that other one is just limping along. [Toronto Star]
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It’s not particularly polite to ask rich people what they earn. But tact is overrated, and we wanted to know, so we asked anyway. When they told us to get lost, we got sneaky. We dug up disclosure documents, annual reports and the tax filings of charitable organizations. When those trails went dry, we surveyed industry insiders who know what other people make—headhunters and consultants and analysts and colleagues—and asked for an educated guess. After hundreds of calls and emails and deep-throat meetings in dark alleys, we phoned the high earners back and told them what we found. Again, with feeling, they told us to piss off.
What follows is our shamelessly gawking, as-precise-as-possible examination of the highest-paid people in the city’s top industries. When the information was available, we included bonuses and perks and, in some cases, exercised stock options. Our findings verified that a high earner in finance is almost always on a different plane (a private jet, usually) than a high earner in, for example, the lowly arts. One major discovery: Heather Reisman took a pay cut. One truth reconfirmed: no matter how rich you are, there’s always someone who makes a helluva lot more.
When Heather Reisman, the founder of Indigo Books and Music, began selling e-books in 2009, she made a choice that seemed self-sabotaging. Kobo, her e-book web store, allows purchased books to be downloaded onto a variety of smart phones, tablets and e-readers (not just Kobo’s own wireless reading device). The open platform policy is a philosophical divide from the original Kindle e-books, which had limited compatibility. Reisman, it turns out, was ahead of the curve: the easy accessibility of Kobo gave it an advantage over other e-book web stores. There are now three million Kobo users in 200 countries, with access to two million e-book titles. It seems that giving book lovers a choice simply increases their appetite to read.
Kobo, the Indigo-owned e-book company that is both an “underdog” and a “powerhouse” (both descriptors care of Time magazine), announced a new e-reader yesterday. The most recent iteration includes a touch screen and ditches that directional button (which only serves as a clunky reminder of 20th-century video games, anyway). This morning, Barnes and Noble announced a similar design. Both models only have one button, use the same size screen, and have screens with faster response times, and both companies have introduced new social functions to their e-readers. The Kobo device will be available in Indigo stores for $139.
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