Well, while we’re all scratching our heads over what the iBook announcement means for other ebookstores, Kobo has come to the rescue with an answer.
According to the email I received this morning, Kobo is working to have an iPad-ready version of their application available at iPad launch. Now, Kobo is the company that rose from Shortcovers, and I slammed their Android app…but I’m willing to give them another chance. Mostly on the strength of their business model, which takes the Amazon Kindle Whispernet approach to the next level.
If you buy a book from Kobo, you don’t just download the file. Immediately, the book is available to you on the web, via ePUB download, or through any of their mobile applications. No special software is necessary to read on the web, and as long as you sign in with your Kobo ID you can read from a Palm Pre, iPhone, Android or Blackberry. I actually purchased an ePUB through Kobo yesterday, and had some difficulties loading it onto the Cybook Gen 3. I jumped from my macbook over to my netbook, signed into Kobo, and was able to download it again with no issues…and along the way Kobo gave me the option to not only read my book on the web, but also jump straight into a chapter if I wanted to jump around. The lack of restrictions and the flexibility made it very easy, and from what I can tell their prices are comparable to Amazon.
So there’s our (partial) answer…iBooks won’t be the only game in town on the iPad! If you want to celebrate, go to Kobo’s site and use the code TabletU to get a dollar off a book purchase! (Only good January 28th)