February 22, 2017

Rakuten Kobo and bol.com launch ‘Kobo Plus’

eBook subscription service for €9.99 per month with the largest selection of Dutch and international titles available on Kobo eReaders and reading apps for the most popular smartphones and tablets

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Toronto, February 22, 2017 – Booklovers from The Netherlands and Belgium will never run out of things to read thanks to Kobo Plus. The new subscription service jointly created by Rakuten Kobo, leader in the digital eReading space, and premier online Dutch and Belgian retailer bol.com, offers readers the largest all-you-can-read selection of digital books in The Netherlands and Belgium, with titles ranging from new releases and bestsellers to classics and old favourites, including both Dutch and international titles. Customers can try the eBook subscription service free of charge for 30 days.

Digital reading enables people to carry their entire libraries with them wherever they go— gone are the days of having to choose which book to take on vacation or on the daily commute. In 2014, Kobo and bol.com partnered together, making it possible to access thousands of eBooks anywhere, on any device. The Kobo Plus subscription service is the next step in making the largest selection of books even more accessible, offering more than 40,000 titles—16,000 in the Dutch language—with considerable growth expected in the coming months.

"Globally, the demand for unlimited access to music and movies has really taken off, and we believe books is the next category that will benefit from barrier-free access. By combining bol.com’s and Kobo’s knowledge and reach, we can now offer Dutch-language readers the ultimate reading experience and make digital reading even easier,” says Pieter Swinkels, Executive Vice-President, Rakuten Kobo. “Kobo Plus allows readers to effortlessly discover new authors and try out new genres that they might not otherwise try, encouraging people to read more. The extensive selection available through our subscription service means the only thing readers need to consider is what book to read next."

Daniel Ropers, General Manager, bol.com: "Books inspire and enrich, which is why, from the moment we started our bookstore in 1999 in The Netherlands, we have done everything in our power to make reading books as enjoyable, convenient and accessible as possible for a wide audience. This has really taken off since we introduced digital reading in 2009. Our new eBook subscription service provides an even better answer to customers' frequent requests to have a large number of books available at an attractive price, including bestsellers. We have found an excellent partner in Kobo. With their digital reading platform, which includes world-class eReader options, we work towards the same goal every day."

Revenues

Kobo Plus was developed in close collaboration with leading Dutch publishers. The subscription service operates on a fair-share model, with payouts funded by subscription revenues, which enables a self-sustaining service built for the long-term—encouraging publishers to offer a wide selection of books from all genres. Kobo Plus was designed with the booklover in mind, and provides book recommendations tailored to individual readers’ interests.

Patrick Swart, CEO of Dutch publisher WPG Uitgevers, says: “As with any new business model, it will take some time for those involved to become accustomed with this new way of delivering books to readers. For publishers, a new business model entails a different approach to marketing books and for our authors it means they get compensated in a different way. As Kobo Plus allows booklovers to choose from thousands of titles, they no longer have to choose just one book at a time. This ‘unlimited’ reading solution, created by bol.com and Kobo, nicely complements the evolution we are seeing in consumer reading habits as well as book subscription trends globally. We are excited for the launch of this new product, which makes digital reading even more accessible and possibly further limits digital book piracy, and are confident it will be a success.”    

More information on bol.com and Kobo's e-book subscription service can be found at: www.bol.com/koboplus (Dutch-language site)  

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About Rakuten Kobo Inc.

Owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten and headquartered in Toronto, Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s most innovative eReading services offering more than 5 million eBooks to millions of customers in 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides people with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders to suit any Reader’s style including the Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura H2O, and Kobo Aura ONE. 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. Kobo’s award-wining eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit www.kobo.com.

About bol.com

Since its launch in 1999, bol.com has been one of the most popular stores in The Netherlands and Belgium. Due to its wide selection, excellent service and convenient shopping, bol.com enjoys the confidence of approximately 6.5 million customers in The Netherlands and Belgium. This appreciation is reflected in the many awards bol.com has won. In March 2016, for example, bol.com was pronounced 'Best Web Store in the Netherlands'.  In addition, shoppers voted bol.com 'Best Online Department Store in the Netherlands' and 'Best Web Store in Belgium' in both 2015 and 2016. With a selection of nearly 15 million products, all of these customers keep finding what they're looking for. Bol.com offers the largest selection within dozens of specialty stores, including books and e-books in Dutch and other languages, music, movies, games, electronics, toys, jewelry, watches, baby products, gardening and DIY products, as well as everything for the home, pets, sports, leisure and personal care.  Bol.com is part of Ahold Delhaize.

Note to the editors

For any questions for Rakuten Kobo and/or bol.com, please contact: 

Rakuten Kobo

Rene d’Entremont, PR Director

T. 416-977-8737 ext. 3587

E. rene.dentremont@rakuten.com

LEWIS (The Netherlands)

Ellen van Wijk / Kirsten Spoelstra

T. +31 (0) 20 220 0220

E. bolcom@teamlewis.com

www.teamlewis.com (see press area bol.com)