E-Readers for Real Readers

Dedicated devices for reading e-books have been a hot category for nearly a decade, with tech firms from Amazon, Samsung and Barnes & Noble releasing a dizzying number of options in recent years.

Yet while most of the new devices being introduced for reading e-books offer the kinds of bells and whistles that attract a broad consumer base, bookworms - heavy readers who have no interest in games and gadgets - have been left to decide which model is best for them.

Now Kobo - a Toronto-based firm owned by Tokyo-based eCommerce company Rakuten - has introduced what could be the best option for serious readers.

Kobo Aura H2O

The light-weight Kobo Aura H2O has a 6.8 inch, high-resolution infrared touch screen, a sleek, attractive body design and 1430×1080 pixel resolution, one of the highest resolution screens available on the market. The device also has something the company calls a fully adjustable ComfortLight technology which helps direct light at the page and not your eyes, reducing eyestrain for heavy readers. Aura is even waterproof, allowing bookworms to tote is along the bath beach. Best of all, it boasts battery-life of up two months, far superior to most of its competitors. It sells for $179.99.

"We see the avid reader as the major beneficiary of a device like this," says Michael Tamblyn, Kobo President and Chief Content Officer. "There is an enormous market out there for serious readers who want a device that they can pick up and read four or five books a month on."

The new Aura hits the market as more people are devouring books on tablets and e-readers.

According to data from market research firm GFK, of customers who own both an eReader and a tablet, 59% read every day on their eReader as opposed to 41% on their tablet. E-Reader owners buy approximately 30% more books than those who read on tablets/apps, according to research from Kobo.

Meantime, more consumers are buying e-readers as device with color touch-screen, movie viewing, and apps continue to take off . Market-researcher IDC recently estimated that global e-reader shipments reached 19.9 million units last year,

"What this tells us is that consumers are continuing to devour books on their e-readers and tablets," Tamblyn adds. "There's a very strong market for better products that target an expanding group of veracious readers of books on devices."