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Rakuten Kobo launches all-you-can-read eBook subscription service in Canada

July 15, 2020

  • Canadians are spending more time reading than ever before
  • Kobo Plus collection includes hundreds of thousands of titles
  • Kobo Plus Canada follows the success of the service in the Netherlands

July 15, 2020 — Leading digital reading retailer and publisher Rakuten Kobo announced today the Canadian launch of Kobo Plus, the all-you-can-read eBook subscription for $9.99 per month. Booklovers can now choose from hundreds of thousands of eBooks, including French-language titles as well as a variety of books in Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Portuguese, Polish, Dutch, and more, to serve those communities in Canada as well. With a risk-free 30-day trial*, there’s never been a better time to discover new authors and series on a Kobo eReader or with the free Kobo reading app.

Paired with the launch of Kobo Nia, the affordable, lightweight and stylish entry-level reader, budget-friendly reading has never been easier in Canada.

The new Kobo Plus collection features a breadth of stories including literary classics such as The Color Purple and Sophie’s Choice; and popular genre page-turners such as Breathless In Love: The Maverick Billionaires by Bella Andre (Romance); Next Door by Blake Pierce (Mystery); and The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker (Sci-Fi).

Booklovers Are Spending More Time Reading

Since the beginning of COVID-19, Rakuten Kobo has seen unprecedented growth in the time Canadians are devoting to eBooks. In May alone, Canadians spent nearly double the time reading using their Kobo eReaders, up 89 per cent from 2019, with a sharp increase of 101 per cent on Sundays—a favourite day of the week to curl up with a good book.

“Digital reading has been providing instant, on-demand comfort, education and entertainment for readers while also being an especially resilient source of sales for authors and publishers during this especially challenging time,” said Michael Tamblyn, CEO, Rakuten Kobo. “Kobo Plus makes it easy to read as much as you want, to dip into books you otherwise may not have ever taken a chance on, and to discover books you wouldn’t see in your average bookstore. It provides risk-free endless reading for a low monthly price, seamlessly integrated into our eReaders and Kobo apps.”

Tamblyn continued: “We’ve curated a plethora of themed collections within Kobo Plus that will suit all kinds of interests and tastes. If you like literary classics, we have the cultural phenomenon The Neapolitan Series by Elena Ferrante, who currently has a TV series based on her first book, My Brilliant Friend, available on HBO and Crave. We also have prize-winning Canadian favourites including Austin Clarke's The Polished Hoe and titles by Alix Ohlin, Lisa Moore, Sarah Selecky, and more.”

This is an opportunity to create new audiences for Canadian literary talent, with collections from iconic independent Canadian publishers including House of Anansi, ECW Press, Dundurn Press, and eBOUND Canada. These dynamic publishers both nurture new voices and were the first homes to some of Canada’s most beloved authors.

The Time is Right for Subscriptions

With reading time increasing so dramatically, the Kobo Plus eBook subscription is an ideal way to approach a bucket list of literary classics, an entire author's catalogue, or to dive into a new field of interest. Because the subscription allows for all-you-can-read for one low fee, regardless of the price of individual books, readers can sample a few pages from a genre or author they have never read, moving onto another book guilt-free if it's not to their taste. It’s an ideal solution for avid book lovers who can tear through several books a month, and for those who prefer to read a few chapters before purchasing.

As people move toward this new way of consuming entertainment, Rakuten Kobo recognizes books as the next frontier for subscriptions in Canada. Further, Kobo has seen demand for this service in global markets. Subscription was the enticement readers needed to try digital reading in the Netherlands, where Kobo Plus was introduced in 2017; interestingly, 60 per cent of the country's Kobo Plus subscribers had never before purchased an a-la-carte eBook from Kobo.

Since the launch of Kobo Plus in the Netherlands, the company continues to experience double-digit year-over-year sales growth for a-la-carte eBooks alongside rapid subscription growth.

Learn more about Kobo Plus, visit kobo.com/koboplus.

*Free trial not applicable in Quebec.

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About Rakuten Kobo Inc.

Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s biggest dedicated digital bookseller. Owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten and headquartered in Toronto, Rakuten Kobo enables more than 38 million readers worldwide to read anytime, anywhere, and on any device. With a mission to make reading lives better, Rakuten Kobo connects readers to stories using thoughtful and personalized curation of eBooks and audiobooks, and the best dedicated devices and apps for reading. With the singular focus of making reading lives the best they can be, Kobo’s open platform allows people to fit reading into more moments in their busy lives.

Media Contact

Erin Ierullo

Manager, Global Communications

Rakuten Kobo

[email protected]

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