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Rakuten Kobo Expands Kobo Plus to Taiwan and Hong Kong, Introducing Self-Publishing

Launching diverse subscription plans, Kobo Plus aims to enrich the reading landscape in Asia with extensive e-book and audiobook collections
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Rakuten Kobo, a global leader in digital reading, today announced the launch of its popular Kobo Plus e-book and audiobook subscription service in Taiwan and Hong Kong – the company’s first move into Asia. The news was shared with publishers and industry players in Taiwan by Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn at the Taipei International Book Fair.

With Kobo Plus, booklovers in Taiwan and Hong Kong can enjoy unlimited access to the largest library of eBooks and audiobooks in the region, with over 1.5 million eBooks and 150,000 audiobooks in every genre, tailored to any type of reader or listener. Offering three different subscription plans – “Reading”, “Listening”, and a “Listening and Reading” combination – Kobo Plus is designed to cater to to this diversity of readers. And with titles available in traditional and simplified Chinese as well as thousands of foreign titles, Kobo Plus invites readers to explore. The service is available with a 14-day free trial for new subscribers, and there are never any commitment obligations, with readers able to cancel at anytime. Pricing starts at NT$199 per month for any reading or listening plan, and NT$259 per month for the combination.

Tamblyn said that Kobo Plus has had a huge effect on readership and sales in the Italian market, for example, and that 30% of Kobo Plus users purchase a physical book within 90 days. 70% of the users on the service are new to e-books, he said, and titles published for more than a year have seen a 30% sales boost through the service.

Tamblyn mentioned that Kobo Plus Reading gives access to 1.5 million of the more than 7 million titles that are available on Rakuten Kobo. You don’t always even get the bestsellers, but there are “long-tail” books — maybe a book published five years ago in Dutch that can be activated to extend its sales lifecycle. In this way, a book that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks can get a second chance to find an audience.

Tamblyn announced that the company will be adding self-publishing services in Taiwan this year to further support authors and publishers. This, he said, is really a win-win-win; it not only helps the readers find what they need and helps the writers, but it also gives the publishers a third channel. By adding a few more feet to your docks to be able to float the boat, you create a global tent pole that offers these eclectic Taiwanese publications a global digital life in over 190 countries.

Kobo answers the interests of Taiwanese and Hong Kong readers with Kobo Plus, as well as offers a number of ways to get personal with self-publishing support and introduction of self-publishing services, furthering its commitment to enhance the global reading experience and provide readers with unprecedented access to a vast array of literary content.

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