German-language apps are available for iOS, Android and BlackBerry, and German edition of the newest version of Kobo's own ereader will follow in August, priced at 149 euros. (Amazon sells an international Kindle device, with English menus and keyboard, for 139 euros.) The unit is "managed by a German team."
CEO Michael Serbinis says the rollout includes their social reading features as well. "In addition to the localized large-scale content launches, we're introducing language-specific versions of Kobo Reading Life in each country, bringing our popular social eReading platform to millions more users across Europe."
Kobo had originally slated their Spanish estore for May release, too, but is now saying that planned local stores for Spain, France, Italy and Holland are "scheduled over the next several months." Serbinis says in an interview that "all those will hopefully open by the end of the summer." Kobo says they currently have 4.2 million users globally.
In an interview with Forbes, Serbinis "says the projected size of the global e-reader market this year was supposed to be about 15 million units" but "estimates the market will actually be double that."
"The next big thing will be color," he said, with Forbes adding "publishers, he pointed out, are beginning to make more color content like cookbooks and children's books available in digital form." Kobo delivers those titles through its apps, which are favored by a number of tablet makers competing with Apple.
"If you're Samsung or RIM and you want to deliver a tablet to 80 countries, you'll probably go with Kobo," Serbinis says. But they have not accepted all offers: "Serbinis says HP asked Kobo to develop for the TouchPad but the company was so busy creating apps for Android tablets that it declined the offer."