Kobo Plus digital book subscription scheme continues steady expansion internationally with partnerships

The Kobo Plus ebook and audiobook subscription scheme is continuing its steady expansion around the world with launches in Italy and Australia recently to add to opening in Portugal earlier this year.

The latest moves see Kobo continuing with its usual process of partnering with local publishing and bookselling businesses. The Italy launch sees Kobo in partnership with Mondadori Store to offer unlimited access to ebooks and audiobooks for €9.99 a month..

Mondadori and Kobo have been in partnership since 2012. Rakuten Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn says, 'Italy was the first country that taught us how to embrace digital reading to make reading lives better during the difficult times of the lockdown, and we have seen significant growth in digital reading as a result. It’s why we are so proud to be launching Kobo Plus here --- it is our way of expanding on our commitment to Italy by making a great reading experience even better.

‘The all-you-can-enjoy subscription allows Italian booklovers to explore new titles and genres risk-free, while also introducing them to Kobo Audiobooks and Kobo Originals selected and curated by skilled and committed book experts.’

Kobo Plus is available in three subscription plans in Italy: Kobo Plus ebook for €9.99 a month; Kobo Plus Audio for €9.99 a month; or Kobo Plus ebook & Audio for €12.99 a month. There is a free 30-day trial where customers can access the full Kobo Plus catalogue and switch between the three subscription plans to determine which is best for their needs.

Carmine Perna, managing director of Mondadori Retail, says, ‘This profitable partnership over the years has enabled us to reach an increasing number of readers and today also extends to audiobooks, a segment that is recording very interesting growth rates.’

To build the Kobo Plus catalogue, Rakuten Kobo worked with the country’s biggest publishers — including Montessori, Garzanti, Longanesi, Feltrinelli, and many others, along with Italian independent publishers, such as Sur. The catalogue also features Kobo Originals and ebooks self-published through Kobo Writing Life.

Kobo Plus ebooks can be read with any e-reader device and Kobo Audiobooks can be listened to on any smartphone.

In Australia, Kobo teamed up with Australian online book retailer Booktopia to launch for AUD13.99 a month.

Subscribers can access Kobo Plus via the Booktopia App for iOS or Android, or Kobo e-readers sold directly from Booktopia.com.au

Booktopia CEO Tony Nash says, ‘We’re pleased to extend our successful partnership with Rakuten Kobo. An ebook subscription service is an easy and cost-effective way for people to read, particularly those with a voracious appetite for reading.

‘Kobo e-eaders are a very popular option for travellers and with access to so many books for a single, low price we would expect a healthy take up of the Kobo Plus subscription option as people begin to emerge from lockdowns and can once again explore their travel options.’

In Portugal, the Kobo Plus e_LeYa scheme was launched in May 2021. LeYa is one of the world’s major Portuguese language publishing groups and has been publishing all its books in paper and digital formats since 2010.

Kobo Plus e_LeYa is accessible through three competitively priced monthly subscription options: access to all ebooks for €5.99, access to all audiobooks for €5.99, or access to all ebooks and audiobooks for €7.99.

Kobo Plus now covers the markets of Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy and Australia. The subscription scheme was introduced in the Netherlands in 2017.

Kobo Plus pays indie authors on the basis of the amount of time that subscribers spent reading your titles in a given month. Each month, it takes the total revenue earned from Kobo Plus subscriptions and the total minutes that all subscribers spent reading that month. Kobo divides the monthly revenue by the minutes read to assign a monetary value to each minute of reading. 

You can enrol your ebooks in Kobo Plus through Kobo Writing Life or through distributors such as Draft2digital or PublishDrive.

Over a quarter of Kobo book sales worldwide are for indie authors

Kobo builds Australian ebook and audiobook alliance with Booktopia