Kobo offers free use of its e-readers at 10 Fairmont hotels

Bestselling e-books from Random House to be provided

Book publishers and e-reader manufacturers continue to aggressively push out e-books over a variety of platforms and through stores and wireless channels.

Today, Toronto-based Kobo announced that Kobo eReaders loaded with some new and bestselling Random House books will be available free of charge to guests staying at 10 Fairmont hotels in the U.S. and Canada.

In a promotion geared to appeal people who don't want to carry heavy books on vacation, Kobo will provide e-readers to Fairmont hotels and the hotels will make the devices available to loan to people who stay in their exclusive Fairmont Gold sections.

The e-readers available to Fairmont guests will be loaded with works by Bret Easton Ellis, Sophie Kinsella and Alexander McCall Smith, among other authors. When guests return the e-readers to the hotel, they will receive electronic coupons good for $2 off certain Random House titles.

Kobo eReaders sell for $149 at Borders bookstores in the U.S. Kobo also has e-reading apps for the BlackBerry, the iPhone, Android phones and tablets like the iPad. Kobo is following the trend used by other vendors of e-readers -- including Amazon.com with its Kindle and Barnes & Noble with its Nook -- of selling a branded e-reader as well as supporting e-reading on smartphones and tablets. Any e-books that a Kobo customer acquires --whether he pays for them or gets them for free -- can be bookmarked from one device to another.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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