Kobo Will Give Away 1 Free E-Book Per Month, With Caveats

Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) recently gave Kindle-owning Prime members a new perk: The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which allows them to borrow a free e-book every month from a list of around 5,000 titles. Now Kobo is giving new Kobo Touch owners free e-books through the “Kobo 2012 Book Club.”

Those who buy a new Kobo Touch and activate it between November 24, 2011 and March 31, 2012 are eligible. They have to sign up to receive Kobo e-mail offers. Then they’ll be offered one free e-book each month. The books are from a short list of participating publishers–e-Reads, F+W Media (also one of the main voluntary participants in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library), Gooseberry Patch, Harvard Business Review Press, Kensington and New Word City–and self-published authors Blake Crouch, J.A. Konrath, Shayna Krishnasamy and Phyllis Smallman.

There’s a choice of three free e-books for January: Pride and Prejudice: The Wild and Wanton Edition (Adams Media/F+W), HBR’s 10 Must Reads: On Managing PeopleA (Harvard Business Review Press) and Star Wars Vs. Star Trek (Adams/F+W).

A few ways the Kobo Book Club is different from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library:
»  Much smaller list of books and less choice (Kobo says it hopes to add more publishers in coming months)
»  Only for new Kobo Touch buyers
»  Books to keep, not to borrow

I can’t see the offer being enough to change a wavering buyer’s decision whether or not to get a Kobo Touch (though the recently launched cheaper ad-supported version could do the trick) but the hope is that new customers will spend more time on the Kobo site and engaging with Kobo e-mails and will buy more books.