Kobo Book Buyers Up 10x At Christmas On New E-Reader Gifts

E-reader maker Kobo says it got a 10x uplift in new global e-book customers this holiday period, compared with earlier in the year, as new owners began filling gifted gadgets with titles.

But the company, recently acquired by Japanese e-tail giant Rakuten, did not state actual sales figures for either its e-readers or its e-books.

Kobo says “hundreds of thousands” of new Kobos were activated each day since Christmas Eve. That compares with the over four million Kindles Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) says it sold through December.

For Kobo, Christmas sales prompted registered Kobo users to almost double from the previous six-week period. And, for the Christmas weekend, e-book purchases on the new gadgets were 5x up on Kobo’s previous record week, which fell earlier in December.

Purchases of e-books for Kobo-owning loved ones as “e-gifts” was 200 percent up from the same period in 2010, and 500 percent up between this November and December.

The new usage saw readers earn 100,000 “awards” (badges) on Christmas Day through Kobo’s Reading Life social platform. Christmas Day sign-ups to Reading Life were 50x up from 2010.

UK Kobo e-book sales over the holiday were 7x up from the previous December daily average. Ahead of Christmas, Kobo struck retail agreements with WH Smith, Walmart’s Asda and the John Lewis department store. In branches of WH Smith, Kobo has gained promotional displays, while staff are wearing Kobo t-shirts.

This Christmas, one in every 40 UK adults (1.33 million) received an e-reader for Christmas, YouGov says. But the likes of Kobo are back runners to Kindle, which YouGov says accounted for 92 percent of the gifts.