Borders Australia lays down challenge to Amazon.com

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Borders Australia lays down challenge to Amazon.com

Borders Australia has announced plans to launch online bookstores powered by e-books download service Kobo and sell its own e-book reader devices.

The book retailer is selling content in its online book store which is compatible with many devices besides its own e-book reader, aiming to catch up with rivals and win a piece of the fast-growing e-book market.

Dave Fenlon CEO of Borders Australia parent company REDgroup retail said Borders would offer a price guarantee that printed books would always be "cheaper on Borders Australia online than on Amazon.com", which resolves the anomaly of printed books being cheaper to buy online from the USA than within Australia.

To mitigate the price of books fluctuating constantly with currency movements, Fenlon said his company would refund the difference plus 10 percent if an Australian customer finds a book sold cheaper on Amazon.com (inclusive of freight costs) compared to Borders Australia.

Borders' rival online retailer Amazon.com launched its Kindle e-book reader in 2007, giving it a headstart on the industry-wide switch to e-books that Borders Group (USA) and Borders Australia have so far missed out on.

The Borders Australia online bookstore - to be launched on May 19 - is expected to offer over a million items including e-books, magazines and newspapers for purchase as well as the Kobo e-book reader device, at an expected price point within the vicinity of AUS$200, according to The Australian.

Importantly, this electronic content will be able to be read on a variety of devices including smartphones such as the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android-based phones, the recently announced iPad tablet as well as on personal computers, rather than being locked into a single device such as the Kindle.

Additional Reuters Reporting by Phil Wahba.

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