Kobo buys Aquafadas

Kobo has acquired French digital software company Aquafadas for an undisclosed sum in a move designed to bring illustrated e-books and magazines and enhanced titles in “rich media” to its platform.

Aquafadas, based in Montpellier, currently develops software for digital publishing to tablets and smartphones and software for animations and video creation. It specialises in the digital comics market.

Kobo’s executive vice-president of content and merchandising, Michael Tamblyn, said: “It will be the best experience for reading magazines in digital form and allows publishers to create enhanced books with assets such as embedded animation.” The company is keen to work with publishers globally to develop titles such as illustrated books, children’s books, graphic novels and comics following the acquisition. Tamblyn said: “Our goal is to get working on it right away. This is both about giving rich media capabilities to kobo.”

Aquafadas c.e.o. Claudia Zimmer said: “We will benefit significantly from this partnership and [will] amp up development to deliver more innovative tools . . . Kobo and Aquafadas will take digital reading to a new level.”

The company is also announcing its self-publishing platform, Writing Life, is to be made available in five extra languages—French, German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch.

Tamblyn  said: “We have moved Writing Life into these languages because we wanted to do more for local authors writing for their local areas.”

He added that the self-publishing platform was growing “month on month, year on year” and said the acquisition of Aquafadas could allow more self-published authors to publish illustrated books.

It was also announced today that Kobo is to partner with Booksellers NZ and The Paper Plus Group, bringing the device to almost 300 retail locations across New Zealand. The partnership will begin in November. Kobo already partners with book chain Whitcoulls.

“We are delighted to reach an agreement with Kobo that will allow the independent members of Booksellers NZ to add the e-book format to the great book selling service they already provide their customers in communities throughout New Zealand,” said Lincoln Gould, Booksellers NZ c.e.o.

“Introducing Kobo e-books and e-readers adds another facet to our stores and continues the successful growth of the Paper Plus brand,” added Rob Smith, Paper Plus Group c.e.o. “We haven’t taken the decision of getting into the e-book and e-reader market lightly, however it’s clear that New Zelanders are embracing the technology."