It Doesn’t Look Like I’ll be Reviewing the Kobo Glo Anytime Soon


It seems that whenever Kobo launches a new ereader device, it takes longer for it to become available in the United States than other countries, but this year with the Kobo Glo they are taking it to a whole new level.

The Kobo Glo was released at the beginning of October. Right now it is readily available both online and in stores in Canada and the UK from retailers like Indigo and WHSmith.

In the US, however, the Kobo Glo has yet to see the light of day. It’s not currently available anywhere, and hasn’t been all month. And Kobo still isn’t selling them from their website either. Yet I went back and looked at the press release and it clearly says the release date for the Kobo Glo is October 1st. Something isn’t adding up…

Today I decided to dig further into this to see when the Kobo Glo is expected to become available in the US because I really need to review it and compare it to the Kindle Paperwhite and Nook Glow (as people keep reminding me), and quite frankly it’s not looking very promising.

My contact with Kobo was nice enough to look into the matter and according to the info received from Kobo’s supply chain, Fry’s Electronics isn’t expected to get them in until “later in November” and Best Buy is supposedly only going to be carrying the Kobo Mini, which doesn’t make sense because they’ve had the Kobo Glo listed for several weeks now, saying it’s “coming soon”. Maybe they will get some in soon after all.

The most promising option is they are supposed to be arriving on October 27th to independent bookstores thanks to a new partnership with the American Booksellers Association (ABA). The only problem with that is it doesn’t exactly tell me where I can go and pick one up and I doubt all Indie Stores will carry them and the ones that do will probably have an erratic supply—they aren’t exactly electronic superstores.

As for availability from Kobo’s website, it sounds like that isn’t going to be happening until later in the year. There was no mention of WalMart, Target, or other retailers.

Hopefully some Kobo Glos start trickling into the US soon.

P.S. One of the reasons I really want to get a Kobo Glo in my hands to review is I was able to get a Kobo Mini from Best Buy last week and it has turned out to be a pretty nice little ereader. I’ll get the review posted next week.

9 Responses to “It Doesn’t Look Like I’ll be Reviewing the Kobo Glo Anytime Soon”

  1. I am waiting for a Kobo glo for my new ereader. Maybe they are aiming for Christmas.

  2. I’m wondering if Kobo didn’t jump the gun on their release just so they could do their little press stunt in front of Amazon’s Kindle announcement last month. That might have been a last-minute idea from some guy in marketing, and now everyone is standing around waiting for a device that was really probably scheduled for a Christmas release. Epic fail, Kobo.

  3. In terms of availbility, they haven’t “jumped the gun” more than anyone else.

    In the US, Nook and Amazon 8-9″ tablets are no where to be seen until November. Amazon isn’t shipping the Paperwhite outside of the US (and isn’t in most physical stores ). The Nook 7″ HD isn’t shipping either.

    I doubt it was last minute but a key factor in the idea’s timing, Amazon’s date, was unknown. That’s why there was effectively two launch dates. The one several hours before Amazon’s show. And then one about two weeks later when they could arrange to have non-local press come in and do ‘hands on’ for broader coverage.

    They squeezed two ‘free’ coverage stories out of it instead of just one ( like B&N did by doing it significantly after). Given they probably aren’t going to have a national TV ad campaign like Amazon these ‘free’ exposures are one way to compete.

    Everyone standing around waiting to see is far better then everyone pre-ordered a Paperwhite (and are largely done with buying something for the next 12 months).

    Besides, it would be better if Kobo flushed the backlog of early manufactured models so that it doesn’t take 3 firmware upgrades when initially turn the device on. IF the can send a better “golden master” image to the factory before start making those destine for the USA, Japan, etc. they will be in significantly better shape.

  4. ” .. The only problem with that is doesn’t exactly tell me where I can go and pick one up and I doubt all Indie Stores will carry them and the ones that do will probably have an erratic supply—they aren’t exactly electronic superstores. … ”

    They don’t have to be superstores. According to the ABA Kobo plans ( http://bookweb.org/solutions/Kobo.html ), Ingram is the distributor. As long as Ingram can refill stock in a timely fashion the stores don’t have to carry large inventories of these devices.

    In fact, they probably don’t want to carry $100/item inventory much at all. Erratic demand would likely have a bigger impact on availability than erratic supply.

    As for Best Buy, the Arc is marked “Coming Soon” and it always projected for November. I suspect one factor of folks being hesitant to handle the Glo is that the line up is incomplete. The display configuration would need to be mutated 3 times. First for mini. then a couple of weeks later Glo. Only to be rejuggle yet again for Arc. ( And the in store “coming soon” display generic placeholder leave a negative impression too.)

    Trying to display the full line-ups of Amazon, B&N, and Kobo would soak up a ton of display space. Amazon will have 5 once they complete (not counting the 3G Paperwhite as separate. That makes 6). Not sure what B&N are going to keep then their 7″ comes out ( keeping the Nook Tablet at a lower price opposite ‘regular’ Kindle Fire ? ). That’s probably another 5 . Kobo’s line up is 3 but they also have multiple colors ( a huge mistake IMHO. Colors should be purely an aftermarket/afterpurchase add-on.)

  5. well .. in Italy the publisher changed the “1 day shipment” to a brand new “13 NOVEMBER” … someone has heavy underestimated the market….

  6. …or somebody overestimated their access to the new eink screen…

    The same thing happened with Sony when they were second to Amazon on Pearl access. They quickly ran through their first shipment of Pearl readers and then ran dry because Amazon had first dibs on eink’s production.

    The Glo is supposed to be shipping in smaller markets so it is likely that Kobo is triaging their supply so they can leverage their llimited supply of screens to best advantage.

  7. It looks like some American markets are now taking orders for Kobo Glo. How long it will take to ship them is another question. By the end of the year Glo should be in customers’ hands, its safe to guess.

    Would some intrepid hackers and Linux experts be up to the challenge of rooting Glo? Its system has major limitations much like Kobo Touch, one being no landscape mode at all except for PDFs. I think this can be fixed — either by the Kobo company with a software update, or by a hack. The system may also be capable of running Android apps in a similar way to Sony PRS-T2.

  8. Alright, Kobo’s system is definitely not Android. It’s their own system, just as Kindle has its own system. Kobo answered me by e-mail and told me so.

    Kobo’s and Kindle’s e-readers are very alike. They look similar, they handle similar, they offer similar varieties of features and functions, their newest models have done away with audio but added illuminated screens, and they both have their own gated platforms which limit you to their own e-book markets.

    Yet they are different. They are not compatible with eachother. Kobo’s e-reader costs less, but Kindle’s e-reader has a few things Kobo’s does not, the most obvious being landscape mode.

  9. The Glo should be available for order later this week from some bookstores. http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2293883&postcount=23