My colleague Lisa has dug out some more detail on the Kobo W H Smith deal.
Most important is the reveal that WHS will pocket a cut of any e-book sold through Kobo's 2.2 million-book store from any customer in the UK or Ireland -- even if that sale does not get routed through the UK WHS site. This puts the deal on a much better footing, since it gets around the issue of WHS' poor e-book website, which would result in customers migrating to Kobo full-time. I could be wrong, but this wasn't the case when Borders and Waterstone's allowed Amazon to operate their websites: Amazon.co.uk still ploughed on regardless taking marketshare off its clients.
Also interesting, in light of my previous blog about my experience trying to buy a Kobo device from W H Smith, is the line that W H Smith has trained 6,000 staff. WHS head of non-fiction and digital books, Toby Keir, told us: "In the majority of stores there are working units so customers can see and feel the product and learn how to use the devices ahead of making a purchase . . . In our larger stores we are also adding dedicated staff during peak trading to talk to customers and demonstrate the key features of the devices."
The WHS store in Victoria Station, London, has also been "wrapped" in Kobo advertising (see picture), and the chain has readied television and press advertising for the launch, which it sees as a key part of its Christmas offer.
I've also been in twitter-touch with Lindsey Mooney, vendor manager at Kobo in the UK, who may -- it is hoped -- share some information about how she is training WHS store managers.
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