Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kobo introduces new e-reading program

by: Angela Hickman

E-reading is the way of the future. At least, Michael Serbinis thinks so. The Kobo CEO announced a new e-reading program on Wednesday that will see minutes logged reading turn into dollars for charity.

The Read On program and the One Trillion Minute challenge will work to promote e-reading and provide money for local charities. For every 10 million minutes of reading (up to one trillion minutes) done on a Kobo platform, a Read On kit will be donated to a community or organization nominated by readers. The kits are e-reading packages, consisting of e-readers and e-books, valued between $1,000 and $20,000. Of the $10 million donation fund, Kobo is putting up the first $1 million in support of the e-reading kits, and Serbinis said they are working with sponsors for the remaining $9 million.

Serbinis told The Afterword that he is hoping to encourage people to read for a half hour a day. At that rate, he said, 10 million minutes is probably about a quarter million books. Kobo has nearly 4 million users, he added, and because it’s a cumulative total, he doesn’t think it will take long to get there.

“That first 10 million minutes I expect will be in the next few days,” he said, over the phone from New York, where he is attending Book Expo America.

The Read On program is international and Serbinis said Kobo will work to ensure that not all the donation packages end up in one area. But, banding together to support one cause could help your chances, he said, adding that if a large portion of the overall minutes-read comes from a group supporting one cause, that would be a factor in their decision.

“With Read On, our goal is to bring reading to more people in more places, inspiring people to read more and make a difference in their schools and communities,” Serbinis said in a press release.

Kobo users – whether using the e-reader, the Kobo app, or their computer – can sign-up to track their reading hours and support a specific program through the e-reader’s Reading Life program. The program will continue until one trillion minutes of reading have been logged.

from: National Post

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