Borders Australia takes on Amazon for ebooks and online

Borders is ready to take on Amazon in print and pixel with the intention of becoming both the bookstore and ebookstore of choice for Australian readers.

On the digital front the company today launched its $199 Kobo ebook reader – a compact ‘Kindle-killer’ with a six inch e-ink display although it trims the price tag by holding back on Wi-Fi and 3G relying instead on direct USB connection to a PC or Mac for syncing downloaded titles onto the device.

Borders is also providing Kobo ebook reader software for Windows and Mac systes the iPhone and the iPad and “apps coming out in the next couple of weeks for BlackBerry and Android” according to Borders Australia chief Dave Fenlon who pledges that Borders Australia will become “the ebookstore for Australian ebook readers”.

“We’re looking forward to selling just as many ebook version as we do physical books today” Fenton predicted.

In addition to trying to KO the Kindle Fenlon also wants to take the fight to Amazon when it comes to printed books.

“We guarantee that buying a book from us is cheaper than from Amazon” Fenton says. “ will match Amazon for the cost of any book delivered to Australia and take off an additional 10 percent.”

(The trick with this of course is Amazon’s international shipping cost on a single book order which can quickly eat up any US vs AU price differential.)

However Fenton was unable to extend this price-matching deal to ebooks bought from Amazon for the Kindle against Border’s Kobo.

“The first place for us to start is the Internet purchase of physical books and we are absolutely committed to making sure we are competitive with Amazon. As for a guarantee (for ebook price matching) I never say never.”