Kobo’s New E-Reader Aims to Turn Reading Into a Game

Websites like Goodreads have tried to make reading a more social experience by allowing users to keep track of and rate books they’ve read, friend other users, and share reading recommendations. Today Kobo is launching a new e-reader, the $129.99 eReader Touch Edition, that has the company’s Reading Life social networking technology built into it. Users can track how much, how fast and when they read–and share that information with others on Facebook and Twitter–directly from the device. The new e-reader will be available for purchase in June.

Reading Life, which is already available as an iPhone, iPad, and Android app, lets users earn awards and badges for reading and checking in from certain locations (win the Mark Twain award for reading 14 days in a row, for instance). The eReader Touch Edition is the first e-reader to harness “the gamification of reading,” says Todd Humphrey, VP, Business Development.

Kobo hopes to use the new feature to leverage its 3.5 million ebookstore customers around the world; the company recently closed a $50 million funding round. But its e-readers and bookstore are estimated to have less than 10 percent market share, with estimates for the Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) Kindle around 65 percent and Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) recently claiming that the Nook’s market share is 25 percent.

Kobo says it hasn’t made a decision on whether to license the Reading Life platform to other device makers, such as Kindle or Nook.