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Kobo opens book store section dedicated to Wattpad titles

KoboWattpadE-book retailer Kobo has launched a special Wattpad section in its book store, dedicated to selling e-books published under the imprimateur of the Toronto-based social publishing platform.

Wattpad titles available in Kobo’s e-book store number 20 so far, ranging in price from free to $11.59.

With a 40 million strong user base, 85% of whom read on mobile devices, Wattpad has grown considerably from its bootstrapped days offering public domain content to these days branding a Wattpad-themed TV series in the Phillippines.

Kobo, which was begun in Toronto under majority ownership from Indigo Books and Music Inc., was sold for $315 million in 2012 to Japan’s Rakuten, which has struggled keeping Kobo relevant in the face of a plunge in demand for e-books in the Japanese market, not to mention an overall cooling off for e-books in general.

This isn’t the first time Wattpad has branched out to publicize a group of its writers beyond its platform.

In 2014, Wattpad began using Amazon Createspace to allow its users to print physical copies available for distribution in real bookstores.

They’ve also forged alliances with self-publishing services, such as Kindle Direct and Nook Press.

Recently, companies have found novel ways of using the Wattpad platform to generate inexpensive publicity, such as GM’s retro-looking, serially published science fiction stories, based on a 1950s-’60s futuristic aesthetic.

Having raised over $165 million in venture capital funding, Wattpad has become one of the Canadian tech sector’s defining success stories.

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