Borders Gets Into Ebook Business, Relaunches Shortcovers As Kobo Books

Shortcovers, an ebook retailer that I recommended to a Sony Reader owner last month, has morphed into something called kobobooks.com, and it’s now partially owned by Borders. If you own an ereader other than a Kindle, or if you read ebooks primarily on a smartphone, you might want to add it to your list of sources for ebooks.

Back when it was Shortcovers, Kobo’s prices were frequently competitive with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Sony ebook store, and they seem to be pushing that competitive pricing just as much under the new brand.

If you own a Kindle, you’re out of luck; there’s a reason Amazon uses a proprietary format for its files, and it’s to keep you from shopping on other ebook sites. For most other devices–here’s a device compatibility list–the ebooks you buy from Kobo should work. (Yes, even on B&N’s nook.)

Before you get too excited, Kobo files are as DRMed as anyone’s, but at least they use the standard ePub format that’s encrypted with Adobe Digital Editions DRM, which is fairly easy to deal with. Also, it doesn’t look like any of Border’s bookstore coupons or discounts carry over to Kobo.

“Kobo International E-Book Store Launches: Why Amazon Should Be Afraid” [Wired]