Borders Enters 21st Century
Borders announced they’re entering the electronic book market with a low-priced piece of hardware called Kobo. At a hair under $150.00, Kobo is part of a two-pronged attack to not only get inexpensive hardware in readers’ hands, but to tout their own eBook store, which promises to allow consumers to read titles across a variety of devices.
Kobobooks.com touts over 2 million titles, and is looking to become the iTunes Music Store of electronic books, as is everyone else.
With Borders giving away 100 books right out of the box, we’ll see how Apple and Amazon respond. Somewhere Marx is laughing as the publishing, retail, and computer industries collide in an attempt to lower prices below cost in order to gain market share.
Since I’ve seen Borders retail stores closing left and right, perhaps some of that savings will be shunted into a solid beachhead in the future of book sales. The formerly-Kmart-owned retailer has been hammered hard by fleeing senior management, ever-changing shotgun business plans, dwindling profits, and a stock price that fell below a dollar per share. Good luck with that interface, Mike and Mark. With fond memories of how Borders screwed up the Camber Press corporate account, I don’t have high expectations for how the Borders Group handles technology. Let’s hope they outsourced to the right engineers and consultants.