WH Smith Launching Kobo, Another Entirely Unnecessary E-Reader

By Gary Cutlack on at

UK magazine, sweeties and celebrity autobiography retailer WH Smith has signed a deal with Canadian e-reader company Kobo, which will see the high street chain selling its e-reader over here, complete with access to "2.2m titles".

Smiths will start selling two versions of the Kobo in its UK shops from next week; the entry-level Kobo for £89.99 and the Kobo Touch for £109.99. The shop says the Kobo Touch will be "the first WiFi touch screen eReader widely available in the UK" plus it's based around an open platform that lets you purchase titles from any ebook store.

While that's a pretty decent boast, we're not exactly hard up for options when it comes to reading e-books. Amazon already has the physical reader market pretty much sewn up with its cheap and versatile Kindle range, while most modern smartphones also do a great job of letting those who don't want or need a dedicated reader idly flick through the first few pages of Moby Dick before giving up on it for the fifth time.

As for the Kobo hardware, it's one of the smaller e-readers around. Smaller than the Kindle, fewer options than the Sony models, and is considered a workmanlike, cheaper choice by US users and reviewers.

It may well do good business for WH Smiths in the last-minute Christmas gift sector, but it's going to struggle to gain any sort of traction against the Amazon behemoth. [Guardian -- Thanks, Jamie!]