Kobo ups UK presence with country manager

E-reader company Kobo has appointed its first ever country manager outside of North America as it looks to further expand the brand internationally and step up its rivalry with Amazon’s Kindle.

Kobo

Former Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Sun Microsystems marketer Phil Wood has become UK country manager, to help forge partnerships and oversee the brand’s marketing strategy in the region.

Wood has also previously worked for e-reading start-up Interead, where as director he was responsible for creating worldwide brand awareness of the COOL-ER eBook reader, which subsequently became the UK’s third biggest-selling e-reader in 2010.

Kobo launched in the UK in October 2011 as the exclusive e-reader brand for WHSmith, backed by a multi-million pound marketing campaign targeted at “heavy book buyers”.

The brand has since broadened its retail distribution through deals with Sainsbury’s, Asda, John Lewis and Dixons.

Earlier this year, Kobo said it would refocus its strategy on the sharing capabilities of its devices in a bid to differentiate the brand from its rivals in the UK.

Wood says: “My goal is to deliver a cohesive UK strategy and business plan at a time when the global business is moving forward at a phenomenal rate.”

More than seven million Kobo-branded e-readers have been sold to date, the company claims.

Amazon does not disclose sales figures for its individual own-brands, but in mid-December said it had sold more than 1 million Kindles per week in the previous three weeks.

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