As we reported earlier this month, Rakuten Kobo is becoming the ‘technology partner’ for Germany’s Tolino e-reader alliance, taking over from Deutsche Telekom and significantly widening its European footprint. (The Tolino now also has presence in Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium.) Today, we catch up with news of Kobo taking on the ebook customers of South African retailer Exclusive Books. —Porter Anderson
By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2
‘World-Class E-Reading’Rkuten Kobo is working with one of South Africa’s most prominent bookstores, Exclusive Books, to transfer Exclusive’s ebook customers to Kobo’s platform.
The move comes from Exclusive Books’ decision to stop selling ebooks, itself. Instead, it will offer ebooks to customers but will refer its online customers to Kobo. The digital migration of Exclusive’s customers is expected to continue for the rest of this month. Kobo’s service will include support for digital libraries that Exclusive customers have created prior to the Kobo transfer.
In a prepared statement, Exclusive Books general manager Ben Williams is quoted, saying, “Our partnership with Kobo will allow us to concentrate on what we do best, namely, curating and selling the largest and widest selection of physical book titles in Africa.
“Meanwhile, working with Kobo will help us deliver a world-class e-reading experience to our customers who prefer digital books.”
And for Kobo, CEO Michael Tamblyn is quoted, saying, “We want to encourage people to read more and are pleased to be working with Exclusive Books to offer digital reading to its customers.
“We have been sharing our love of books in South Africa for more than four years now, and will ensure Exclusive Books’ ebook customers are able to continue enjoying, as well as expand, their digital libraries.”
The statement from Kobo says that Exclusive Books customers can anticipate “a seamless migration of their current ebook libraries to Kobo,” along with access to the Canadian retailer’s catalog of more than 5 million titles.
Customers of Exclusive Books are receiving emails with “tokenized links,” along with instructions on how to transfer their libraries to Rakuten Kobo. They’ll then have access both to ebooks they purchased at Exclusive Books and to new purchases at Kobo.
The completed transfer should result in Exclusive Books customers’ access to their ebooks on Kobo’s devices and apps on most smartphones and tablets.
Rakutan Kobo, based in Toronto, currently has customers in some 190 countries. Exclusive Books has 40 stores in South Africa and one in Botswana. It was founded in 1951 in Johannesburg.