Borders' Kobo e-reader launches June 17th for $149

Border’s ebook reader is now official. The Kobo produced device will be available on June 17th for $149 featuring a 6" e-Ink display, 1GB of internal storage, and an SD card slot. This is a very aggressive price point when considering its closest competition, Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, both clock in at $259.

While the device has a price advantage when compared to its competition, it lacks any sort of built-in wireless connectivity, so books can't be bought directly on the device. Outside of this caveat, Borders is taking an aggressive approach to how books are purchased and where they can be read. Border's Kobo e-reader site touts, "Borders eBooks won't tie you to one particular device. Buy an eBook at Borders.com or through our apps and download it instantly to your choice of devices—popular smartphones, eReaders, or your PC."

The Kobo e-reader will ship preloaded with 100 classic books, and will have over a million e-books available for purchase. Cheap hardware, a broad title library, and a platform agnostic approach may be a strong enough combination for Borders to grab a piece of the ebook market.

Although the hardware doesn’t launch until June 17th, the Kobo eBooks app is already available for iPhone and iPad.

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38 Comments

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I'd like to add a friendly word of caution as I've worked for Borders in the past. This may be an aggressive price point, but the competition is from more stable companies.

I recommend checking into the companies you're getting your readers from for future support and upgrade options. Figure you'll be getting your materials in whatever formats supported by your current viewer. Look for being able to use the media you're getting now even on future generations of this hardware. Companies want to make money off selling you even the ebook form and you should want to be able to enjoy your purchase for years to come. Think longevity.

Shorin Scythe said,
I'd like to add a friendly word of caution as I've worked for Borders in the past. This may be an aggressive price point, but the competition is from more stable companies.

I recommend checking into the companies you're getting your readers from for future support and upgrade options. Figure you'll be getting your materials in whatever formats supported by your current viewer. Look for being able to use the media you're getting now even on future generations of this hardware. Companies want to make money off selling you even the ebook form and you should want to be able to enjoy your purchase for years to come. Think longevity.

Actually Chapters/Indigo is who created the Kobo and Borders is just selling it. From people I've spoken to at Indigo this is supposed to be their hit product, and I am guessing you will see a LOT of updates.

Just FYI but the Kobo was released here in Canada on May 1st. I have one and its pretty sweet. And yes, it can read PDFs (not very well mind you) but also ePUB. Our local library offers ePUB rentals so that's pretty cool.

It's also available on the Palm Pre, Blackberry, and Android phones.

Not sure why you only listed the iPhone and iPad.

at my uni we have access to thousands of online books, and there is a time limit placed on the download so it stops working after the date, then you need to 're-borrow' the book if you want to read more. Personally i love the idea of electronic books + eReaders ... there is nothing more annoying when you either have to wait for a book because there aren't enough in the library or once you borrow it, someone else requests the book and you don't have enough time to read it.

And commenting on the eCo state of eBooks Vs Print Books, the way i see it ... there are heaps of mediocre books/magazines/newspapers printed ... it is such a waste of paper to print all of these. But i really hope that printed mediums don't die off, because there is something really special about a really good book that has great content which has had a lot of thought go into the production of the book (binding, paper (weight, feel) ink etc.) that i don't want to see disappear.

Elessar said,
I want. $149...very tempting. Does this add to my Borders Rewards? If so that's basically a free $5 off

$5 off?? Well I'm sold then!

Nightwind Hawk said,

$5 off?? Well I'm sold then!


I'm leaning towards waiting for a few firmware updates (possibly even for a Gen 2...).

dramonai said,
Killing libraries at $149 a pop.

I see little wrong with conserving paper. People need to wake up and realize newspapers, magazines and books are a waste.

Rohdekill said,

I see little wrong with conserving paper. People need to wake up and realize newspapers, magazines and books are a waste.

Paper is better for your eyes than an LCD screen. Trust me.

Yakuzing said,

e-Ink is not LCD. Trust me.

Yep e-ink is nothing like an LCD screen, it's much better for your eyes. I really agree though that this is the future if lituarture.

dramonai said,

Paper is better for your eyes than an LCD screen. Trust me.

You must be confusing the iPad screen with the Kobo, Kindle, Nook... e-Ink screen

Rohdekill said,

I see little wrong with conserving paper. People need to wake up and realize newspapers, magazines and books are a waste.

Have you actually thought about e-waste mountains that are piling up? Paper can be made to be more eco friendly by growing more sustainable forests and use less acid in the manufacturing process as opposed to recharging e-books which adds to greenhouse gases generating more electricity to power these gadgets.

topjolly said,

Have you actually thought about e-waste mountains that are piling up? Paper can be made to be more eco friendly by growing more sustainable forests and use less acid in the manufacturing process as opposed to recharging e-books which adds to greenhouse gases generating more electricity to power these gadgets.

Paper books have to be physically delivered to stores / homes. With an eBook reader only the device itself must be physically delivered to stores / homes. Let's consider all factors... transportation is certainly in the eBooks favour.

Edited by thommcg, May 9 2010, 10:22am :

thommcg said,

Paper books have to be physically delivered to stores / homes. With an eBook reader only the device itself must be physically delivered to stores / homes. Let's consider all factors... transportation is certainly in the eBooks favour.

+1

thommcg said,

Paper books have to be physically delivered to stores / homes. With an eBook reader only the device itself must be physically delivered to stores / homes. Let's consider all factors... transportation is certainly in the eBooks favour.

Yes lets, do you think an e-book appears out of thin air - no it still needs to be delivered electronically using physical resources. Also can you lend an e-book to a friend when you've finished reading it too?

topjolly said,

Yes lets, do you think an e-book appears out of thin air - no it still needs to be delivered electronically using physical resources. Also can you lend an e-book to a friend when you've finished reading it too?

An ebook does indeed appear out of thin air if you download it over 3G.

As regards lending, it depends on DRM & such.

Rohdekill said,

I see little wrong with conserving paper. People need to wake up and realize newspapers, magazines and books are a waste.

says who? i have some books that are over a 100 years old in my closet. an e-reader will last how long? And don't forget, the silicon industry is one of the most polluting there is.