People we meet often ask us about our open platform: What does it mean? How does it work? Why should it matter when thinking about eReading?

And more importantly, what’s really in it for the book lover?

A few days ago, we were at the Sheisconnected conference and chatting with 100 or so of some of today’s most influential women bloggers. We asked them, “Does an open platform make a difference?” And the unanimous response: it mattered a great deal.

So what does this “open platform” thing mean?

Let’s say you’re in the market to buy an eReader. You purchase your new eReader and also decide to buy an eBook from this same company. You read your book, and all is well. And look, there are other eBook stores that you would like to shop from as well.

But here’s the fine print. The eReader you just purchased won’t allow you to read books from another eBook store. You can only read eBooks from them. Now you’ve been forced to commit to a particular company in all aspects.

It’s like having your books chained to your bookshelf without the freedom to take them with you and read them somewhere else. It’s like your books are not really yours.

When you’re thinking about buying an eBook or an eReader, there are many things that come into consideration: book selection, price, features, the look and feel of an eReader, how the screen displays in different lighting conditions, customer service, free content, overall value, a and last (but not least), what the brand stands for.

What people don’t consider is the flexibility to read their own book wherever and however they like. Because some companies don’t want you to have that freedom.

Not Kobo.

Our open platform means you can own a Sony or Nook reader and buy books on You can take advantage of great coupons and promotions we offer on an ongoing basis, and simply transfer your books onto your Sony Reader or Nook just like you were shopping from their stores.

Open platform also means that you can go to your local library and borrow an eBook. This is important to many book lovers – sometimes you buy a book, but sometimes you just want to borrow a book. You want it to be easy and you want to have the choice.

But it’s not just about having choice – it’s also about making eReading an easy, user-friendly experience. Our open technology has the ability to sync and allow you read your current eBook on multiple devices like your smart phone, iPhone, iPad and laptop. You simply need to download the Kobo eReading app to the device of your choice, and as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, your current book and page will automatically sync for eReading – anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

Someone asked at the Sheisconnected conference asked, “What happens if you lose your mobile phone or get a new one? Or if you are reading a book on your Kobo eReader but forget it at home one morning?”

Rest assured that Kobo safely backs up and stores all your books in one central location, regardless of where you registered, where you purchased your books, or what device you’re using (computer, eReader, Blackberry, iPhone or iPad). Your books will follow you wherever you go, without needing a trail of breadcrumbs (virtual or otherwise) to find your way back.

Years ago, marketing experts once talked about a consumer-centric, platform-agnostic universe, where brand values will drive loyalty and engagement.

Now we’re there.