Despite reports of the decline of ereaders over the next few years, one of the new comers to the market has reported record sales for 2012.

Kobo Mini
The Kobo Mini was one of three devices launched by the Canadian-based company in 2012, helping to double sales.

Kobo, a Canadian-based company owned by Japanese electronics and internet company Rakuten, has announced that it exceeded 2012 market forecasts, doubling device sales and attracting more than four million new customers within the last six months, to bring its total to more than 12 million registered users.

However that figure includes sales of its Kobo Arc tablet, as well as its range of ereader devices.

However despite requests from IBTimes UK for specific devices sales figures the company declined, saying it wouldn't disclose exact figures as it is a private company. This seems to be a trend in the ereader market as Amazon has never disclosed Kindle sales figures either.

Kobo, quoting DigiTimes Research from November, claims it now holds 20 percent of the global ereader market, second only to Amazon and well ahead of Barnes & Noble and Sony.

This would back up its claim made earlier in 2012 that the ereader market was a two-horse race - Kobo and Amazon - though the lack of concrete sales figures makes claims such as this a little harder to take on board.

In 2012 Kobo ramped up its efforts in the ereader market, launching a range of new E-Ink devices including the front-lit Kobo Glo and pocket-sized Kobo Mini. According to a press release from Kobo, its readers turned 22 million pages on Christmas Day alone.


Kobo has been helped in the UK thanks to a partnership with WHSmith, with the high-street retailer heavily promoting the devices in all its stores across the country. With prices as low as £60 for the Kobo Mini, the range would have been an attractive purchase for many in the lead up to Christmas.

"In December we celebrated Kobo's third anniversary as well as the biggest month for the company yet," said Michael Serbinis, CEO, Kobo. "Millions of new users registered with Kobo in December alone, annual device sales soared with millions of Kobo eReaders bought, and eBook sales nearly doubled from the previous year. 2012 was truly outstanding for our company and our network of booksellers and retailers around the world."

At the beginning of December, research firm IHS iSuppli concluded that the death of the ereader was imminent: "Current forecasts show the ebook reader market as having already reached its peak of just over 20 million units shipping in 2011, with a decline to barely 7 million in the 2015-2016 timeframe."

Obviously when this was put to Kobo, it denied this was the case, saying: "We definitely see a long life for dedicated eReader and multimedia tablets, and we're excited to continually push the envelope when it comes to innovation that meets consumers' needs."

With cheap yet powerful Android tablets now costing just £50 more than the current crop of ereaders, it is hard to argue against the death of ereaders, especially when you consider that the most popular 7in devices - the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD - are both focused on the consumption of content - such as ebooks.