Kobo launches UK-specific e-book store

<p>Digital company Kobo has launched a new e-books store in the UK, offering almost two million titles for download. The company uses the open ePub e-book format and the free Kobo application allows users to read books across different types of smartphones, like Blackberries, Palm Pre and Apple iPhones, tablets, netbooks, laptops and a-readers. The store is at <a href="http://www.kobobooks.com" target="_blank">www.kobobooks.com</a>.</p><p>Among the publishers that have signed up to provide titles are Random House, Penguin, Bloomsbury, Simon &amp; Schuster and Faber. </p><p>Mike Serbinis, c.e.o. of Kobo, said Hachette would provide e-books from the end of March, when it shifts to a new agency model of e-book pricing, which would allow Hachette to set e-book pricing with Kobo taking a commission. Only HarperCollins UK titles where the publisher holds world rights will be sold through the site, as it also moves towards an agency model.</p><p>Roughly 100 of the site&#39;s bestsellers will be priced &pound;8.99 or less. Serbinis said: &quot;We will maintain UK specific bestseller lists and intend to update those lists almost daily.&quot;</p><p>Richard Charkin, executive director of Bloomsbury, said the publisher was &quot;working closely&quot; with Kobo to ensure that its publishing programme was made &quot;available as widely and as easily as possible&quot;.</p><p>Kobo launched in early 2009 as Shortcovers in the United States. The Kobo application has been downloaded by more than one million users across 200 countries. Today&#39;s launch of the site is the first time the company has developed a website for a specific region.</p>