Kindle rivals advance internationally…slowly

E-reading companies timed announcements around the London Book Fair, which took place at the UK’s Earls Court this week.


Sony launched its much-delayed Reader Store in the UK. (The store was originally supposed to open in October 2011.) The store is here. “We believe in giving people open access to our Reader store with different hardware from different manufacturers,” said Sony digital reading platform managing director Tadamasa Kitsukaha, via Publishing Perspectives.


OK, it’s not fair to call Kobo’s international expansion slow. Kobo will launch its e-book self-publishing platform — a competitor to Kindle’s KDP and Barnes & Noble’s PubIt! — by the summer, The Bookseller reports. CEO Michael Serbinis also said the company plans to expand to a dozen more countries in 2012. Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten bought Kobo last year, and Serbinis said “We have a nuclear deterrent [against Amazon] by having a strong balance sheet.” [The Bookseller]
Kobo also announced that it will expand its partnership with UK retail chain WHSmith by opening branded “experiential” shops inside 100 WHSmith stores this year.

Barnes & Noble (non-news)

No official announcement of the much-rumored Nook UK launch and partnership with UK bookseller Waterstones yet. But The Bookseller reports B&N “sent out ‘international e-content distribution agreements’ to UK publishers ahead of LBF, and has had a full schedule of meetings with British publishers.