Kobo preps for a digital world

April 1, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

April 1, 2010 is the deadline for Kobo, the digital books company spun off from Indigo Books & Music, to complete its  agreements with publishing companies moving from the wholesale model of pricing to the agency model, which effectively means that publishers will be responsible for setting prices on their e-book titles, and Kobo will not be allowed to offer discounts, 2-for-1 promotions, or specials. Writing on the Kobo blog, Michael Tamblyn, vice-president of content, sales, and marketing comments, “When the dust settles, it’s going to be a different world, whether you’re an e-book reader, industry watcher, publisher, or retailer.”

“A different world” may turn out to be an understatement. TSR has learned, through a source close to Kobo who spoke on the condition of anonymity, that the company is preparing for a world in which life itself is digital. “This is no longer the realm of science fiction,” the source said. “It’s quickly becoming science fact.”

In the same way that Indigo decided it couldn’t survive by selling only books, and began to stock its stores with everything from scented candles to Pilates balls and yoga mats, the digital side of the business is looking to expand its suite of offerings in preparation for a world lived 100% online. “We’re thinking totally outside the box,” said the source. “This ain’t your grandma’s Second Life.”

Recognizing that the development of e-ink was essential for electronic readers to catch on, the source said that Kobo’s R&D department is currently studying other revolutionary advancements, such as e-food, which would be downloaded directly into a user’s stomach. “No longer will users have to stand in line at the grocery store or go out to a restaurant to consume actual food. Digital food is faster, healthier, and much less hassle.”

Another intriguing advancement is the e-booze feature, which will apparently be customizable for individual user experience. “E-booze comes with a range of compatibilities,” the source told TSR. “Users can download an e-scotch, which will provide a pleasant, warming sensation, while e-tequila and e-Jägermeister will actually induce vomiting.” Downloaded in the morning, e-Jägermeister can also simulate morning sickness or provide an excuse to call in sick to work.

Won’t this cannibalize the company’s e-baby feature? Absolutely not, says the source. “If you’re faking morning sickness, you’re either doing it out of revenge or in an attempt to hang on to a failing relationship. E-baby is intended for people who actually want the physical experience of raising children, without the bother of having to undergo pregnancy or birth.” The e-baby feature also includes e-poop and e-urine, which set the product apart from earlier-generation devices such as the Tamagotchi digital pets created in Japan in the mid-1990s. “The e-urine feature is still under development,” says the source. “We’re trying to modify it so that it hits the user in the eye every time, but we can’t seem to replicate this peculiarity of actual babies. Still, it’s only a matter of time.”

Early estimates indicate that the world will be 100% digital in 20 years. Although a 2030 deadline seems tight, the anonymous source TSR spoke with has every confidence that technological development will keep up with incessant demand. “Users are sick of the physical world,” the source said. “We’re committed to giving them what they want: a completely digital life. No longer will people have to deal with the messiness of reality. The future isn’t virtual; it’s digital. Get ready.”


2 Responses to “Kobo preps for a digital world”
  1. George says:

    Will I be able to download new skins and themes for my program? Because these ones are all stretched and shapeless now…

  2. Oh, the number of late nights I’ve yearned for e-scotch….