Giant bookseller Borders is finally flexing its muscles in the electronics books market: the company has just launched its own ebooks store to compete with the likes of Amazon.com, Sony, and Barnes & Noble…and eventually Google. And Borders isn’t attacking the ebook market with a selection of electronic titles: the company is ready with a whole ecosystem, including dedicated electronic reader devices and apps for the iPhone, iPad, and desktop computers—with more app platforms on the way.
Borders’ eBook store currently offers a catalog of more than 1.5 million current and back catalog titles from a variety of publishers; most titles are offered in ePub format, but several are in PDF. the service is powered by the Kobo platform…and one of the readers Borders is touting to its customers is also the Kobo Reader, a $149 EInk device with USB and Bluetooth syncing and which comes pre-loaded with 100 classic book titles: Borders is also offering it with a $20 gift card.
“Our partnership with Kobo is a significant step in our digital strategy of providing consumers with great content and a device neutral philosophy,” said Borders CEO Mike Edwards, in a statement. “The ‘Powered by Kobo’ program provides us with the ability to give consumers access to Kobo’s massive catalogue of titles and apps for essentially any device. We’re pleased to be aligned with a company like Kobo that shares the same vision for ereading.”
Borders also plans to offer the Aluratek Libre ereaders starting July 20 for a mere $120 dollars; the company also has the Sony Touch and Sony Pocket readers available for $170 and $150, respectively. Kobo apps are available for Macs and PCs as well as the iPhone and iPad; Borders says apps for the BlackBerry and Android platforms should be coming soon.
Borders’ entry into the ebook market is a sure sign of growing competition in the marketplace, which has been dominated by the Amazon Kindle. However, Borders’ entry to the market is also late, with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Apple already well out of the gate with their ereader and ebookstore offerings. Time will tell whether the market is willing to sustain so many players.