Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kobo Lands $53 Million in Funding to Fuel Global Expansion

Smashwords retail partner Kobo today announced they closed a US $53 million funding round.

Smashwords distributes nearly 30,000 titles to Kobo. Over the last 12 months, we've seen our sales there surge as Kobo added new customers and expanded their retail footprint around the globe.

Several Smashwords-supplied titles are selling well at Kobo. Looking at Kobo's Top 50 Ebooks listing for today, as of this moment John Locke's Saving Rachel is the #7 best-seller; Stephanie McAfee's Diary of a Mad Fat Girl is #16; John Locke's Wish List is #30; and Ruth Ann Nordin continues a nearly 12-month dominance of the Kobo Top 50 clocking in at #36 with An Inconvenience Marriage. Congrats to John, Stephanie and Ruth Ann!

Some highlights from today's press release over at the Kobo web site:
  • Their Kobo bookstore app is bundled in the new Research in Motion BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which went on sale this week in the US and Canada
  • In addition to Research in Motion's new Playbook tablet, Kobo also powers the ebook stores for tablets made by Samsung and HTC
  • Over 3.2 million users at Kobo: with over 1 million users added in the last 90 days (I assume users = paid customers + free downloaders + people who have downloaded their apps)
  • Kobo's multi-platform e-reading apps run on the iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Palm WebOS, Windows and MacOS devices
Last week Kobo announced the impending launch of new localized ebook stores in Spain, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

Congrats to our friends at Kobo! Their continued progress means greater opportunities for Smashwords authors and publishers to reach readers.

Unrelated to this announcement, over the next few weeks we're going to work with Kobo to revamp our ebook distribution systems to take advantage of some of their new ebook ingestion systems. The objective, as it is with all our retail partners, is to help our books achieve faster and more accurate listings. Over the last 12 months, we've completed similar revamps with Apple, Barnes & Noble and Sony.