ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ – Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE:BGP) today announced a strategic investment and commercial partnership with Kobo, Inc., a global eReading service that is the newly named spin-off of Toronto-based Indigo Books & Music Inc.’s Shortcovers digital reading initiative. Through the partnership, Borders will launch a new eBook store integrated into Borders.com and powered by Kobo. In addition, Kobo will power a Borders-branded eBook store for multiple mobile devices. Sales through these Borders-branded eBook stores will be booked by Borders. Kobo’s mobile applications are device neutral, which will enable consumers to purchase eBooks from Borders on popular smartphones such as the iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm Pre and Android, as well as other devices. Borders and Kobo plan to launch these new services within the second quarter of 2010.
Kobo is an innovative company that as Shortcovers has already, in a matter of months, provided eBooks to customers from over 200 countries who have downloaded its reader application over one million times online and through devices including smartphones, desktops and popular eReaders such as the Sony Reader. As a leading book retailer with a strong customer following–including over 35 million members of its Borders Rewards loyalty program–Borders Group shares Kobo’s vision of providing consumers any book on any device. Other investors in Kobo include Indigo, Instant Fame, a subsidiary of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. of Hong Kong and REDGroup Retail Pty Ltd. of Australia.
“Our partnership and investment in Kobo is a significant step in our digital strategy of providing eBooks however our customers want to consume them,” said Borders Group Chief Executive Officer Ron Marshall. “Kobo’s global, device neutral and open approach will allow Borders-branded software applications to be downloaded on a variety of devices and is the right move for Borders as the digital market continues to evolve. We look forward to building on this key element of our digital strategy as we address the growing eBook opportunity while also remaining committed to improving our brick and mortar superstore business.”
About Borders Group
Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE:BGP) is a leading specialty retailer of books as well as other educational and entertainment items. The company employs approximately 25,000 throughout the U.S., primarily in its Borders® and Waldenbooks® stores. Online shopping is offered through borders.com. Find author interviews and vibrant discussions of the products we and our customers are passionate about online at facebook.com/borders, twitter.com/borders, and youtube.com/bordersmedia. For more information about the company, visit borders.com/media.
About Kobo, Inc.
Kobo is a global eReading service backed by majority shareholder Indigo Books & Music, Borders Group, REDGroup Retail, and Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. Kobo believes consumers should be able to read any book on any device. With a catalog of over two million eBooks, and an open platform, Kobo enables retailers, device manufacturers, and mobile operators the ability to bring the joys of eReading to customers everywhere. For more information, visit www.kobobooks.com.
About Indigo Books & Music Inc.
Indigo is a publicly-traded Canadian company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (IDG). As the largest book and specialty retailer in Canada, Indigo operates in all provinces under different banners including Indigo Books & Music; Indigo Books, Gifts, Kids; IndigoSpirit, Chapters, The World’s Biggest Bookstore, and Coles. The online division, www.chapters.indigo.ca, features books, eBooks, toys, music and DVDs, and hosts the award-winning Indigo Online Community. Chapters and Indigo are rated as the number one and number two retailers in Canada by the Kubas Major Market Retail Report, and have been on that list since 2000. To learn more about Indigo, please visit the About Our Company section of www.chapters.indigo.ca.
Borders Group Safe Harbor Statement
This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. One can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “expect,” “plan,” “possibility,” “opportunity,” “goal,” “will,” “may,” “intend,” “anticipates” and other words of similar meaning. One can also identify them by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. These statements are likely to address matters such as the company’s future financial condition and performance (including earnings per share, the profitability of Waldenbooks, liquidity, sales, inventory levels, and capital expenditures), its cost reduction initiatives and plans for store closings and the expansion of product categories, as well as the timing of the launch of the Borders-branded eBook store and mobile application. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and plans to differ materially from those included in the company’s forward-looking statements.
These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, consumer demand for the company’s products, particularly during the holiday season, which is believed to be related to general economic and geopolitical conditions, competition and other factors; the availability of adequate capital–including vendor credit–to fund the company’s operations and to carry out its strategic plans; adverse litigation results or other claims and the performance of the company’s information technology systems.
The company’s periodic reports filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission contain more detailed discussions of these and other risk factors that could cause actual results and plans to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements, and those discussions are incorporated herein by reference. The company does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements.
CONTACT: Anne Roman, +1-734-477-1392, or Mary Davis, +1-734-477-1374