After weeks of anticipation and debate about big international players entering Brazil, Kobo has finally launched its Kobo Touch e-reader and opened an online store with its partner Livraria Cultura. The Kobo Touch is now retailing for R$399, or about $190, and the Kobo store has 12 thousand titles available in Portuguese. Kobo VP Todd Humphrey said yesterday that, although Kobo’s policy is to be open to other partners, Livraria Cultura is their key partner in Brazil, and from a competition standpoint, their partnership is exclusive, meaning that Kobo will not create partnerships with the retailer’s direct competitors.
In relation to Amazon’s ever imminent arrival in Brazil, Mr Humphrey was confident, and jocular: “With the partnership of Kobo, Rakuten and Livraria Cultura, Amazon has very little chance here in Brazil.”
Livraria Cultura CEO Sergio Herz added: “It won’t be a competition of similar products, but of best against worst, Kobo being the best.”
The company plans to launch the Kobo Glo and Kobo Mini e-readers in 2013, along with its Kobo Arc tablet. Although the Kobo Arc will enable users to read digital magazines and newspapers, Kobo and Cultura executives both stressed that Brazilian publishers must begin converting to the Epub format. Mr Humphrey told PublishNews that there are two facets to Kobo’s Brazilian strategy: partnering with Livraria Cultura, and working with publishers to promote the Epub conversion.
When asked how he felt about being the first to arrive in Brazil, the VP spared no enthusiasm: “It feels greeeat!”