September 15, 2014

Bol.com and Kobo join forces to revolutionize digital reading

Dutch and Flemish gain access to two million Dutch-language and international eBooks

Utrecht, September 15, 2014 - Bol.com, the largest provider of eBooks in the Netherlands and Belgium, has joined forces with Kobo, one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services, to revolutionize how readers enjoy digital books by introducing the world’s most seamless shopping and reading experience.

Starting today, all of Kobo’s eReaders and tablets are available via bol.com. Moreover customers will have access to the combined Kobo and bol.com selection of eBooks – two million eBooks including a full selection of international titles. Over the next few months, bol.com and Kobo will launch innovations to make digital reading even more user-friendly.

As a result of this partnership, eBooks purchased on either bol.com or Kobo are automatically accessible on Kobo devices. In addition, eBooks will be available via the bol.com-Kobo reading app coming in a few weeks, which will allow people to read on any tablet or smartphone – giving readers access to their libraries anywhere, anytime, on any device. This makes the experience of buying and reading eBooks even more of an optimal reading experience.

One in seven non-fiction books sold is digital
Bol.com introduced digital reading in the Netherlands and Belgium five years ago, and since then has experienced amazing growth. In addition to the 1.2 million eReaders sold in the Netherlands, customers can also read their eBooks digitally via tablets and smartphones. The selection of eBooks has grown enormously over the past few years. One in seven non-fiction books sold in the Netherlands is digital*; at bol.com it is as many as one in four. Daniel Ropers, Director of bol.com: “We see that the interest in digital reading is increasing every year across all genres. We therefore believe strongly in the potential presented by digital reading, and we are convinced that investing in innovation is the ideal way to encourage digital reading, and by extension reading in general.”

In terms of mission and focus, Kobo and bol.com are aligned and share a vision for serving the book-buying customer. Kobo is a Canadian-based company founded in 2009 with a mission to serve the world’s avid readers by striving to offer the best digital reading experience possible. Like bol.com, Kobo believes the best solution to ensure reading is by getting technology out of the way so that ideas and stories can make their way from author to reader with as little friction as possible. People simply want to read more. The company has quickly expanded globally, bringing its eReading services and technology to 190 countries around the world. It entered the Dutch market in 2012 and has become the leading device- and the second largest eBook-seller in the Netherlands, where its eReaders were top rated by the Dutch Consumer Association (Consumentenbond) in 2013 and 2014.

Next phase of innovation
Daniel Ropers, Director of bol.com: “Over the past five years, we have invested in expanding our selection of eBooks and in improving their ease of use and the experience of reading. For instance, we’re taking part in the recently introduced industry initiative LeesID that creates the opportunity to automatically collect all of your eBook purchases in your own personal digital bookshelf - even those bought from other retailers. The partnership with Kobo takes us to the next phase in innovation, in which we combine the world’s best eReaders and reading systems with the largest eBook retailer in the Netherlands and Belgium. Thanks to our close cooperation, we can now offer our customers a wider selection of eBooks and the very best eReaders. We are also working together on a series of improvements and innovations that we hope to announce over the coming months. I expect that these initiatives will allow us to give digital reading its biggest boost of the past five years.”

“We are pleased to be in partnership with one of the pioneers and innovators of eReading in the Netherlands and Belgium,” said Michael Tamblyn, President and Chief Content Officer, Kobo. “Like bol.com, we believe that success comes from loving books as much as our customers do. The adoption of digital books in this market has been tremendously successful and we expect this growth to continue -- we are thrilled that bol.com and Kobo will be working together to give consumers the most content-rich eReading experience possible.”

International eBooks
Thanks to the partnership with Kobo, bol.com has expanded its catalogue, which includes international business titles and bestsellers. These titles can be purchased through a variety of payment methods, including iDeal and bank transfer.  

Open digital reading system
With Kobo, bol.com continues to offer an open digital reading system, meaning customers can decide for themselves on which device they would like to read their eBooks – a Kobo device, or their own tablets or smartphones. Customers who have previously purchased a Sony Reader™ from bol.com can continue to access their library and purchase new books while enjoying the convenience of all of the applications for digital reading that bol.com offers.

* GFK, KVB-smb rapportage e-boeken, July 2014

About Bol.com
Since its launch in 1999, bol.com has become one of The Netherlands' most popular stores. Thanks to its wide range of products, excellent service and convenient shopping experience, bol.com has over 4.5 million loyal customers in The Netherlands and Belgium. With an assortment of approximately 8 million products, these customers are assured of finding exactly what they are looking for. The many prizes bol.com has won prove how much customers value the store. In 2014 bol.com was named 'Best Web Shop in The Netherlands' and 'Best Web Shop in Belgium 2014-2015'. At bol.com, customers can find the widest range of products in various specialty stores including books and ebooks in Dutch and other languages, music, movies, games, electronic goods, toys, jewelry, watches, baby products, gardening and DIY tools and everything for the home, pets, sport, leisure and personal care. Bol.com is part of Ahold.

About Rakuten Kobo Inc.
Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services offering more than 4.2 million eBooks and magazines to millions of customers in 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides consumers with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders and Google-Certified Android tablets to suit any Reader’s style including the award-winning Kobo Touch™, Kobo Mini, Kobo Glo, Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura HD, Kobo Arc, Kobo Arc 7, Kobo Arc 7HD, Kobo Arc 10HD – and the newly launched Kobo Aura H2O. Along with the company’s free top-ranking eReading apps for Apple®, BlackBerry®, Android®, and Windows®, Kobo ensures the next great read is just a page-turn away. Headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten, Kobo eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit www.kobo.com.