Borders CEO nixes idea of own e-reader

Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:45pm EST

* CEO says Borders has no plan to develop own e-reader

* Says Kobo e-book strategy "capital efficient"

* Says announcement moved up so it was before CES show

* Shares down 1.8 percent

By Phil Wahba

NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Borders Group Inc BGP.N does not plan to develop its own electronic book reader because of the cost and time it takes to do so, its chief executive said on Friday.

Earlier this week, Borders announced a deal with electronic download service Kobo Inc, a spin-off of Canadian bookseller Indigo Books & Music Inc (IDG.TO), that would provide Borders with e-book sales services. [nN15242620]

"I don't anticipate us doing our own e-reader for a whole variety of reasons, not least of which is that we're not a technology company. We're booksellers," Borders Chief Executive Ron Marshall told Reuters in an interview.

Borders, the No. 2 U.S. bookseller, has been faulted by analysts and investors for coming late to the e-books market and missing out on a potential holiday bonanza this year.

Borders owns a 20 percent stake in Kobo, while Indigo owns 58 percent.

Rival Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS.N) launched its "Nook" reader ahead of the holidays, though it has been unable to ship many of the devices already ordered in time for Christmas. Online retailer Amazon.com Inc's (AMZN.O) Kindle has established itself as the market leader.

Borders had been expected to unveil its e-book strategy after the holidays, but the announcement was moved ahead of January's CES conference hosted by the Consumer Electronics Association.

"A slew" of e-readers will be introduced at the Las Vegas event, Marshall said.

Shares in Borders were down 2 cents, or 1.8 percent, at $1.11 in afternoon trade.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba; editing by Gunna Dickson)

((phil.wahba@thomsonreuters.com ; +1 646 223 6128; Reuters Messaging: phil.wahba.reuters.com@reuters.net )) Keywords: BORDERS/

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