Kobo to launch self publishing platform

Kobo will launch its self-publishing platform this quarter and plans on expanding to “a dozen” new countries in 2012, the company’s c.e.o. Mike Serbinis has told The Bookseller.

Serbinis also revealed that thanks to the acquisition of Kobo by the giant Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten, Kobo now had its own “nuclear deterrent” should Amazon begin to cut e-book prices aggressively.

Kobo launched in the UK last year with W H Smith as its main retail partner, and has since built up a “double-digit market share”, according to Serbinis. “It’s been climbing since then. We think we are taking share off Amazon, but we have also seen some of the local players drop out, while Waterstones does not have an e-reading solution at present.”

Kobo previously announced that it would launch a self-publishing tool, similar to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and Barnes & Noble’s PubIt, but Serbinis said the business had been focused on expanding internationally, launching its tablet device, and closing the sale to Rakuten. But he promised the platform would launch “this quarter” before the summer. “We are currently fine-tuning our offer,” he said.

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