Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Another E-Reader? Really? Meet Borders’ “Kobo.”

I don’t know why every bookseller seems compelled to come out with its own e-reader. An e-bookstore, sure, but not the device.

Nevertheless, you can now place orders for Borders’ “Kobo.” It costs $149, and Borders (BGP) promises that you can have in one your hands by June 17. Kobo is a standalone company, but Borders is an investor. Details here.

Borders wants you to know that it’s going to sell other e-readers as well. But if that’s the case, why bother placing a specific bet on Kobo, as Borders did last year?

One Borders strategy that does make sense: Letting you know what titles you buy from its e-bookstore should work on multiple devices, like Research in Motion (RIMM) BlackBerrys and Apple (AAPL) iPhone and iPads. That’s the same strategy Amazon (AMZN) is pursuing with its Kindle. But I have a hunch the Kobo is no Kindle.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus