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Not trying hard enough...

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03 Feb 2013, 05:48 PM
Post: #1
I visited two W.H.Smiths into different towns over the last couple of days hoping to have a play with a Kobo Arc as I'm interested to see how well Tapestries works. In the first they had an Arc on display and powered up, but not logged into a demo Kobo account so there was nothing useful to see.

In the second store I tried they had two Arcs on display but neither were powered and were dead as door nails. Round the corner Waterstones had a Kindle display consisting of six machines all powered up in demo mode. It's strange both W.H.Smiths had stands outside the store trying to attract passers-by in to see the Kobo range, but when you went into look it felt like they just couldn't be bothered.
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05 Feb 2013, 06:16 AM
Post: #2
I've read that WH Smiths is struggling in all areas so maybe this is symptomatic of them. I wonder if they have lost their focus and have diversified too much. At one time they were the premier book club in Great Britain.

Martin Lake

blog: http://martinlakewriting.wordpress.com
twitter: @martinlake14
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06 Feb 2013, 01:12 AM
Post: #3
(05 Feb 2013 06:16 AM)Martin Lake Wrote:  I've read that WH Smiths is struggling in all areas so maybe this is symptomatic of them. I wonder if they have lost their focus and have diversified too much. At one time they were the premier book club in Great Britain.

I was wondering how the Kobo readers fitted into W.H.Smith's marketing strategy. After all, it seems a bit strange that a major bookseller should sell a device that undercuts their main meal ticket. They makes a profit on the eReader itself and presumably a percentage on redirections from their (lack-lustre) website to the Kobo book store, but it didn't seem a particularly profitable strategy given they don't seem to be marketing or innovating in the way that, say, Waterstones are with the Kindle.

According to this article at FutureBook, W.H.Smith gets a cut of *all* Kobo ebook sales in the UK! So they really do have good incentive to get Kobos into readers hands.

(Interesting that the disgruntled second comment to that story from 18 months ago describes pretty much my experience today.)
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10 Feb 2013, 05:11 PM
Post: #4
I tried another W.H.Smith's store today. This one had two Kobo Arcs on display - both plugged into chargers but dead. They did have an unlabeled Kobo Vox on display that was kind of working. It powered up but was running incredibly slowly - swiping the screen resulted in a 5 second delay before anything interesting happened. I tried to go into the Application Manager to see what was running and the thing hung entirely. The problem is that there was nothing to dissuade potential customers that this 800 Mhz device running Android 2.x wasn't a Kobo Arc. Very sad!

By the way, it looks like W.H.Smith is the only high street seller of the Arc now - Asda and Argos don't seem to list it any more. Nor does the 64 Gbyte version seem to be available anymore.
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