Borders to launch new ebook reader, store platform with Kobo

In the States Borders has announced its plans to launch new ebook readers next year, aimed at reaching readers who buy "a couple of books a year".

As well as hardware, the US retail giant is to offer an accompanying online store, powered by Kobo, a spin-off from a Canadian publishing company, that Borders has invested in.

The online service is already live at Kobobooks.com and will be integrated into Borders.com in the second quarter of 2010.

Kobo and Borders have revealed that the e-bookstore will offer mobile reading applications and will be "device neutral", so users can read content on iPhones, BlackBerrys, Palm webOS and Android devices, some of which Kobo already caters for.

Kobo will offer 1.8 million free books and 200,000 paid-for titles starting at $9.99 to consumers in the US, Asia and Europe.

Little is known about the hardware at this point, although The New York Times says there will be more than one version of the ereader, which will boast wireless connectivity.

Ron Marshall, chief executive of Borders, told the NYT the company wants to reach "readers who buy a couple of books a year and we hope to offer a product for that market".

Here in the UK Borders has gone into administration and is looking for a buyer. It has not been owned by the US Borders Group since its sale in 2007.