Kobo touts holiday ereading success

Amazon.com might be trumpeting its Kindle device as its best-selling and most-gifted item ever, but it’s not the only player in the ereader market. Kobo wants folks to know that its ereading ecosystem has had a banner end-of-year season as well, with downloads from its eBook store at the highest level ever, over a million people connecting to Kobo, and “hundreds of thousands” of devices being activated each day since Christmas Eve—although, like Amazon, Kobo isn’t giving out any exact sales numbers.

“Earlier this month we predicted that Christmas would be a record breaker for Kobo, and we have exceeded our expectations driving several ebook downloads per second since Christmas Eve,” said Kobo CE Michael Serbinis, in a statement. “I would like to thank our customers for choosing Kobo to start building their digital library this Christmas. Our success this holiday season is a pre-cursor to a New Year with people reading more than ever thanks to ebooks and Kobo.”

The Kobo ecosystem consists of dedicated readers with E-Ink displays (available from Kobo and Borders), as well as desktop and mobile applications for Macs and PCS, along with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Palm mobile devices. Kobo also claims to have one of the largest ebook stores, with over 2.2 million book, magazines, and newspaper titles available.

According to Kobo, holiday activity from customers has been notable for its international character, with customers connecting from more than 130 countries: big international gains from Germany, the Netherlands, and Singapore, in addition to many English-speaking and Commonwealth countries. Kobo says they’re also seeing a healthy mix of devices, with ereaders and tablets counting for the largest portion of sales. Overall, Kobo says sales are 50 times higher this year than last year. Kobo is also the first ebook service to launch an ebook gifting and goft card program that delivered ebooks to recipients’ email accounts on Christmas morning.

Oh, and the most popular purchased and gifted books for Kobo this season? Those lists were dominated by Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, with Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol taking third place in the U.S. market and Emma Donahue’s Room coming in as the third most-gifted book for the season.

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