Borders launches eReader and eBook store

Kobo eReader retailing for $199

Australian bookseller Borders has joined the eBook market, launching the $199 Kobo eReader as well as an eBook store on its Web site.

In a move that will heat up the competition with Amazon's Kindle and the soon to be released Apple iPad, Redgroup (owner of Borders) has partnered with Kobo for the eReader. The device is available in Borders stores and on its Web site and will soon be available at Angus & Robertson, another Redgroup subsidiary.

One of the main selling points of the eBook store, also powered by Kobo, is the availability of local publishers, with over 100 already signing on. "We are the eBook store for Australian eBook readers," Redgroup managing director Dave Fenlon told our sister publication <i>ARN</i>. "Today is the first day in our journey to build the most complete eBook offering for readers." There are currently 2 million eBooks available for download from the online Borders store.

Redgroup believes that that the ability to read eBooks on multiple platforms will be an attractive option for those who use devices other than the Kobo eReader to get their reading fix. There is an eReader app for the iPhone and Redgroup also has plans to release the application for Blackberry and Google Android smartphones in the near future.

Users cannot download eBooks straight to the Kobo; instead they must synch the device with their PC.

Similar to the Amazon Kindle, the Kobo eReader uses electronic ink technology to display text. It weighs 221 grams, has a 6in screen, 1GB storage capacity (enough for 1000 books) and a quoted battery life of 8000 page turns. The Kobo's storage capacity can be boosted by purchasing an additional SD card.

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