Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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ABA bookshops to sell ebooks, ereaders through Kobo; Pages & Pages signs up

Bookshops that are members of the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) will have the opportunity to sell ebooks and ereaders through Kobo from next month as a result of a new partnership between the association and Kobo.

The ABA said in a letter to its members on 29 October that bookshops will be able to sell ebooks and Kobo ereading devices from Tuesday 19 November. The ABA said that the partnership means that the ABA will become the ‘exclusive provider of Kobo product for any bookshops not currently with Kobo’, but said that Kobo’s current partnerships with other retailers will remain unchanged.

‘We are absolutely delighted to reach this agreement with Kobo that presents an opportunity for ABA members to extend the great range of existing services that bookshops offer their customers in communities throughout Australia,’ said ABA CEO Joel Becker in a statement.

‘It has been a mystery to me why it has taken this long to find a straightforward, cost-effective solution to allow bookshops the opportunity to provide ebooks and ereaders in their suite of services,’ said Becker. ‘Kobo has provided a simple, elegant, comprehensive and inexpensive entry point.’

Pages & Pages to sell Kobo ebooks and devices
Sydney bookstore Pages & Pages Booksellers is one of the first stores to sign up to the agreement and general manager Jon Page told Books+Publishing that he expects the store to be selling ebooks and the Kobo range of devices by the 19 November. Page said that online bookseller Boomerang Books, which is co-owned by Pages & Pages, will also eventually sell Kobo products.

Page, who is the immediate past president of the ABA, said that under the partnership Pages & Pages customers will be referred to the Kobo ebookstore via a link on the bookshop’s website. The customer will be asked to create a Kobo account that will identify them as a Pages & Pages customer for all future Kobo purchases, generating revenue for the bookshop. Page said that existing Kobo customers would need to create a new account if they wanted to support Pages & Pages. According to the ABA application form, participating shops will receive ‘30% of content net profit on customers acquired through individual member stores’.

Participating ABA members will also be able to earn revenue from selling Kobo devices, with customers who purchase a device from one of the stores registered as the store’s customer for their ebook purchases. However, Page said that the margin on the devices is smaller than on ebook sales (‘not less than 5%,’ according to the ABA application form).

Pages & Pages will stock Kobo devices and accessories, and Page expects to make a significant investment in the products. ‘Selling devices is such an important angle to a store’s ebook offering and it is how you build customer loyalty,’ said Page.

Page said the Kobo offer was attractive to Pages & Pages because there are no upfront or ongoing fees for the bookshop. ‘This was a big drawcard,’ said Page, who added that he has long-admired Kobo and its ‘read freely’ philosophy, as well as its global ebook catalogue and ‘great range’ of ereading devices. Page said the store was also interested in changing ebook suppliers as some of the store’s customers had reported negative experiences with the store’s previous supplier ReadCloud, which is now more focussed on the education market.

The ABA and Kobo will hold two information sessions for interested ABA members in Melbourne on 7 November and in Sydney on 12 November.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, independent booksellers in New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, and the US currently sell ebooks and ereaders through Kobo. In Australia, Kobo also supplies ebooks and ereaders to Collins Booksellers and online retailer Bookworld.



Category: Local news