Kobo: Lessons from 10 years of e-books

Playing in the major leagues of content, internationally.

Ten years ago, when Kobo founded its e-book business, several considerations were taken into account, many of which were found to be false.

A) On their phones, people would only want to read short and playful content. Wrong.

B) Kobo executives thought that e-books would attract a younger generation. Wrong.

C) Readers would like to do everything on the same device, their smartphone, and have a reading app that they could use when they wanted. Wrong.

In the end, e-book readers are older than expected, are willing to read very long content even on an electronic device, but prefer it dedicated to reading (an e-reader), so they can escape their smartphones!

These are some of the findings that Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo, reports in an article published by Strategy. With Kobo’s 10th anniversary, he returned to the initial pitch made to investors in 2009 and tells the story of how far they have come over the past decade.

A very interesting article for anyone working directly or indirectly in the field of content.

During the Futurebook conference, Tamblyn discussed readers’ habits and how publishers try to understand them. Interestingly, he also brings up Taylor Swift, watch the video below to understand why.

 

 

In a subsequent presentation at the TechTO conference, Tamblyn discussed the unexpected issues that impacted Rakuten Kobo’s international growth.

 

 

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