Borders prepping Kobo e-book reader for Aussie launch next week

Following Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Borders is the last of the Big Three bookstores in the US to embrace the ebook era.

Borders in the US has begin taking preorders for the the compact and budget-friendly (US$150) Kobo slate in time
for release on June 17th (Father’s Day in the US).

The Kobo is also headed for a local release with Borders Australia setting aside next Wednesday (May 19th) for a media
event ‘to share in the launch of its eBooks and eReader’.

Like the Kindle and Nook the Kobo sports a six inch e-ink display – but it trims the price tag by holding back on Wi-Fi and 3G (Kindle WhisperNet) connectivity as well as choosing an e-ink panel with  eight levels of gray instead of 16.

Supported formats include the industry-standard ePUB along with open and encrypted (Adobe DRM) PDF files.

The Kobo’s 1GB of memory can supplemented by an SD card of up to 4GB and the battery is rated for two weeks between recharges.

Borders will open its own eBook store and Kobo reader software is available for Windows Mac iPad iPhone and BlackBerry with USB Kobo-to-PC sync and Bluetooth for squirting and syncing content between the Kobo and smartphones.

We’re keen to see if the Kobo can land here with minimal markup and more importantly the effect that an affordable ebook reader offered through a main street bricks-and-mortar channel will have on the general public’s acceptance of ebooks.