Kobo Vows In-App e-Book Purchases On Apple Devices

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Toronto - E-reader and e-book supplier Kobo has vowed to get around a new Apple restriction preventing it from offering in-app purchases of e-books through iOS-based apps for Apple's iOS-based mobile devices.

Kobo said it is developing an HTML5-based app that consumers could download directly to their Apple device without going through Apple's App Store. Consumers would use the Apple device's web browser to access Kobo's website to download the app.

The company expects the HTML5 web app to be available sometime later this year, enabling in-app purchasing of more than 2.4 million titles in Kobo's e-book store.

Kobo's current iOS app will continue to let users read downloaded books and access other Kobo features. The new HTML5 app, besides enabling in-app purchases, will also offer such additional benefits as mixed media while looking and feeling like a regular app, a spokesperson said.

In addition, Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis said, "HTML5 allows us to add more features and update our popular Reading Life social experience far more quickly, providing an agile method to deliver advanced enhancements to consumers without limitation."

HTML5 development, Serbinis added, "will support the company's current app strategy to reach a broader base of users worldwide."

Kobo apps for other mobile OSs such as Android, RIM, and WebOS will continue to work as before and will continue to offer in-app purchases.

In announcing plans for the app, Kobo slammed Apple. "Over the past weeks, Kobo has worked with Apple to create a solution that would benefit the iOS e-reading community within Apple's new App Store guidelines," the company said in a prepared statement. "Unfortunately, Apple has mandated that Kobo, along with all e-book retailers, substantially change the e-reading experience for consumers by removing in-app access to the Kobo store."


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