Dear Kobo Customers;

What an amazing few months it has been in the world of eReading… I often tell people that we are on a rocket ship as this market, this global transformation, this company – is taking off!

In the beginning of May we launched the Kobo eReader an affordable, easy-to-use, and stylish eReader, in time for Mother’s Day in Canada. What a tremendous response we received. We have since expanded distribution adding Walmart in Canada, Whitcoull’s in New Zealand, Borders and A&R in Australia and last but not least, Borders in the US. Most initial shipments were sold out in 24 hours, and the response from customers has been very enthusiastic. More shipments are on the way to all of our retail partners, and some new ones to be announced soon.

In the meantime, we have been working very hard to grow our customer service by adding 24×7 phone support, in addition to 24×7 email support. We have certainly experienced some growing pains, but are doing everything possible to scale up fast to exceed our customer’s expectations. We are adding dozens of people by the week, and our goal is that no one waits more than a few minutes to get to one of our agents, and that we get to every email in 24 hours or less. We will continue to build our service team around the world, and all we ask is for some of your patience and understanding. We are getting better and better, every single day.

Through the last 30 days, we have also been working on our first software upgrade for the Kobo eReader, focusing on what customers have been telling us. Our software is complete, and we are just working on the final touches on the upgrade process. The upgrade will be available the week of June 28th and we will make sure you know the minute it is available. For those that want to upgrade sooner, we are offering our beta program to partake in the software trial sooner.

Here is a sampling of some of the improvements we are making:

1. ePub Font resizing. You will be able to load Adobe ePubs with fixed font sizes (set by the content publisher or originator) and still be able to resize the fonts with your Kobo eReader.

2. Hiding 100 Free eBooks. Some customers have told us that they actually don’t want the 100 Free eBooks in their way, so we have added the ability to hide the 100 Free eBooks we provide. We are working on a wide range of other organization features for a separate release of our desktop software coming in the future.

3. The “Off” Screen. The challenge with eInk screens, is that even when they are off, they look like they are on. We are working on making this a lot more clear to everyone, especially those who are not experts in eInk.

4. Sleep Mode. We are introducing a new “sleep” mode, if you have left your device inactive for more than 5 minutes, it will go to sleep. This is helpful in managing battery life, and it’s also a behavior that people have come to expect.

5. Low Battery. Some of you have found situations where your battery runs down faster than expected. We found the problem, and fixed it. We’ve also improved how we tell you that your battery is low, and you are running out of time to finish your chapter. Lastly, we have improved this shut down process so it is clear that you have run out of battery, and your Kobo eReader needs charging.

6. Installation. Some of you Windows XP users have had difficulty installing the Kobo Desktop. We did a poor job communicating what version you needed, so we’ve fixed that and for those customers that don’t have Windows XP, Service Pack 3 – we are bundling in everything you need.

More improvements are coming for our eReader and our desktop software and we will be making this a regular process for those customers who have bought a Kobo eReader and want to get the latest and greatest software experience. All new Kobo eReaders produced this week, and in stores by the end of June/early July will have the latest software.

Keep your feedback coming, it is fuel for us at Kobo. This is a new market, and a new product category and we are learning by the second, 86,400 seconds per day, 365 days per year. We are insanely focused on delivering the best experience to customers around world, and while we are a young, rapidly growing company, who will make some mistakes, who will experience some growing pains – you have my commitment that we get through them all, as fast as humanly possible.

Please enjoy reading your eBooks, enjoy your new Kobo eReaders, enjoy shopping at our newly launched partners in Australia and New Zealand, enjoy using our iPad app and it’s amazing selection of content internationally, enjoy our regular contests to win eReaders, iPads, Summer Getaways, and… enjoy the world of eReading with Kobo! Btw – new iPhone and iPad apps are coming this month! Plus, check out the newly launched Kobo eReading app for Android.

I look forward to bringing you new ways to enjoy Kobo and the world of eReading in the coming days, weeks and months. As always, please reach out to let us know how we can serve you better!

Mike Serbinis