Kobo has appointed a second Australian licensee for its ebookstore, adding to Pearson which picked up a Kobo-powered ebook store when it bought the online assets of the failed Red Group earlier this month. The Red Group owned the Angus & Robertson and Borders chains, both of which are in the process of being wound up.
Collins Booksellers is a 50 store franchise chain which has grown recently from the addition of a few of the franchised stores in the failed Angus & Robertson group and the acquisition in April of the Seek online bookselling operation.
Last month, the New Zealand arm of RedGroup was sold to local interests who also bought the rights to Kobo which operates through the Whitcoulls website.
When you combine all this with the situation in the US, where the Kobo licensee Borders Inc was just shut down a few days ago, it’s been quite a month for the Canadian-based Kobo Books, a two year old start-up which has now seen the wholesale change of its founding retail partners.
The news got even worse this week when Apple effectively booted out Kobo’s ebookstore from its iPhone and iPad apps, potentially damaging a key sales channel. The Kobo team will be hoping things can’t get any worse.