Kobo France Takes Run At Le Kindle

Four days after Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) launched the French Kindle and accompanying Kindle store, rival e-book company Kobo announced that it’s partnering with French bookstore chain FNAC to create what it is calling France’s largest e-bookstore.

When Amazon launched its French store, it also released a French version of the Kindle. However, Kobo is not yet selling a device in France, only its platform. FNAC, which sells electronics and home goods in addition to books and DVDs, will use Kobo’s e-reading platform to power its e-bookstore. Kobo is also developing e-reading French language apps for iOS, Android, and Playbook, so that French consumers will be able to read e-books on the Kobo platform on their mobile devices. And the Kobo platform will be featured in FNAC’s 81 French stores.

The French Kindle Store currently contains about 875,000 e-books. Kobo’s worldwide catalog contains 2.5 million titles, but they will not all be available in France.

“Our common objective is to offer a top notch solution and the largest ebook catalog in order to meet French customer expectations and lead the ebook market in France,” FNAC CEO Alexandre Bompard said of the partnership.

Eventually, Kobo intends to release a French-language e-reader. The company launched its German e-bookstore in July, introduced a German-language e-reader and partnered with German electronics retailer redcoon to sell that e-reader in stores and online in early September.

The company is also planning e-bookstore launches in Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. Those stores were originally intend to open by the end of the summer, but have been delayed.

Kobo has 5 million users in 100 countries around the world, with an estimated market share in the U.S. under 10 percent.