Borders launches the Kobo eReader and eBook store

Borders just announced that they’re selling the Kobo eReader, an $149 ebook touted, by Wired, no less, as a Kindle killer. This device isn’t formally Border’s only ebook reader. Instead, they will sell multiple readers online and in stores and the real news is that they’re creating an ebook store that will act as their default spot on the interwebs for ebooks and content.

If you pre-order – and you probably don’t want to – you’ll get your Kobo by June 17.

While I doubt the Kobo will sell at all, the more compelling offering is Borders’ ebook store featuring “a million titles” with apps for the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android as well as the iPad. While I’d prefer all my content in one place on each of these devices – an overarching umbrella ebook app, perhaps – having a bit of overlap is always fun and some stores – Apple’s for example – are missing large parts of the catalog due to rights reasons. Regardless, it’s nice to know Borders is no longer absolutely irrelevant in the world of ebooks.

For a different view, read Devin’s take on the Kobo.

Borders® Launches Digital Initiative: Pre-Orders Now Open for Kobo™ eReader; eBook Store and Apps Unveiled Next Month

ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 7, 2010 — Borders® rolled out its digital initiative today, announcing that it is now taking pre-orders for the Kobo eReader and next month will debut its eBook store and apps powered by Kobo — embarking on a strategy that will provide rich digital content and a wide variety of devices that feature emerging technologies. As a device-neutral, rich-content provider, Borders will sell the Kobo eReader along with a variety of other eReading devices in Borders stores in special digital shops called Area-e™, launching in August.

Pre-orders for the Kobo eReader, which will showcase the Borders branded eBook store, are being taken at The Kobo eReader has been touted as “the real Kindle killer” by “Wired Magazine” because of its attractive features and low price — just $149.99. In fact, the Kobo eReader is among the most affordable eReaders available, giving consumers an economical introduction to eReading via a stylized, easy-to-use, eInk based reader. To get consumers started with their eReading experience, the Kobo eReader will come preloaded with 100 classic books. The Kobo eReader will begin arriving at customers’ homes beginning June 17, in time for Father’s Day.

The upcoming Borders eBook store will feature over a million titles, which consumers will be able to discover and purchase through the Web site and through free Borders apps available for the iPhone, Blackberry and Android as well as the iPad and all PC’s.

“We’re excited to offer the Kobo eReader to our customers, the first of what will be a wide selection of eReaders we’ll sell, along with an online store that supports a variety of devices, giving consumers freedom in the eBook world at the best possible value,” said Borders Group Interim President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Edwards. “We are giving consumers the flexibility to read the content they want on a variety of devices of their choosing. The Borders eBook store will be positioned as a device-agnostic, content-focused destination with expertise from decades of deep book knowledge and experience. We’ll also have a strong in-store digital presence through our Area-e™ boutiques, which will launch in August. It’s a niche position within our industry and one where we fully intend to leverage our knowledge and products to serve the growing eReading needs of our customers.”
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“We’re pleased to introduce the Kobo eReader to the U.S. market through distribution at Borders,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo. “Borders’ customers will value the affordable price point, range of content and reading experience offered through the Kobo eReader.”