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Kobo Reports Revenues Doubled in the First Quarter of 2013
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  • May 29, 2013
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Kobo-and-Rakuten-300x218[1]BEA 2013 kicks off tomorrow, so Kobo sent out a press release today reminding us how wonderful they are.

Kobo is following up a record 143% growth in revenue in 2012 with a still impressive 98% increase in the first quarter of this year. They’re also reporting that they now have 14.5 million registered users, an increase of 2.5 million in only 3 months, with 15 percent of the new user base coming from the US.

Kobo has also shared details that may have confirmed that Kobo made the right choice in jumping at the chance to use the 6.8″ screen. Over half of the Kobo Aura HD units sold were bought by new customers, not existing users, and according to the press release the Aura HD “accounted for up to 27 percent of Kobo devices sold at retail”.

That last is a little confusing, and I want to take a moment and parse it. At first glance it appears to say that the Aura HD accounted for 27% of all Kobo hardware sold, but that’s not what it means, I don’t think. No, this ereader only accounted for 27% of units sold through retail channels, and that is a far smaller number.

Unfortunately for me, Kobo hasn’t released any firm data on how many Aura HD were sold, and that puts me in the terrible position of having to speculate. (I’m kidding.)

But one are that Kobo has shared useful info is Kobo Writing Life. According to the press release, there are currently more than 100,000 KWL titles available from Kobo.com and their affiliated ebookstores. Self-pub titles distributed through KWL now account for 10% of Kobo’s unit sales.

Unfortunately there is no info on the dollar value, but one conclusion we can draw is that KWL is off to a decent start. This one year old platform has already hit 10% of the Kobo Store, and that compares very nicely to the 3 year old PubIt/Nook Press, which accounts for 25% of sales in the Nook Store.

In spite of the lack of specific details on hardware sales, revenue, or the like, I am glad that Kobo is at least sharing info in registered users. No, seriously, if Kobo keeps revealing that their user base in increasing then it’s going to put pressure on Amazon and Nook Media to release similar data. And when that happens we’re finally going to get an idea who really the major ebook platforms.

But not a very good idea; neither Google nor Apple are going to feel the same pressure as Amazon and Nook Media.


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