The online book store formerly known as Shortcovers has undergone a brand overhaul, renaming itself Kobo, and launched a new UK-specific ebook store that claims to offer nearly two million titles for downloads.
The books, available from the likes of Random House, Penguin Group, Bloomsbury, Simon & Schuster and Faber & Faber, will be available in ePub, the free and open e-book standard format, for a maximum of £11.99.
You will have to dowload their free application depending which devices is used; the iPhone, Blackberry, Palm Pré and Android are supporting the service. More than one million Kobo readers have been downloaded from 200 countries.
Kobo also supports the likes of Sony's PRS series and the Barnes & Noble Nook but unsurprisingly, not the Amazon Kindle. Users can also read the books on their laptops or desktops through the Adobe Digital Editions reader.
Michael Tamblyn, Kobo's vice president of content, sales and merchandising, commented on the launch saying that "Our focus is on assembling the world’s best catalogue of content for our readers and delivering a fantastic purchasing and reading experience on any device a customer chooses. We will also provide readers in the UK with a huge selection of content".
Kobo is already present in the US and the UK is its first region-specific launch outside the country. Other territories are also expected to be covered by Kobo over the forthcoming months.
Will Kobo manage to carve its own niche in the increasingly busy world of ebooks? Certainly yes but count on the publishers to try and pit one service against another as they look to increase their revenues by increasing the price of their ebooks.