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Southwest adds Kobo eBooks to IFE

Kobo, part of the online retail company Rakuten, has announced a new partnership with Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) and Bauer Communications to provide complimentary access to Kobo’s digital publications for Southwest Airlines (Southwest) passengers.

The partnership means that the airline's passengers can access Kobo’s digital reading platform via the in-flight entertainment (IFE) portal once onboard via their own Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Passengers will then get the opportunity to purchase any digital material they haven’t finished once their flight has landed.

Kobo’s reading platform was launched on 6 May and includes full books and extended previews of top titles and new releases across all genres from publishers such as Penguin Random House, HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Simon & Schuster, Inc., Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, Kensington Publishing Corp., ECW Press, Open Road Media and Bauer Communications.

“Since day one, we have been driven by the singular goal of making digital reading easier—allowing booklovers to read more wherever and whenever they want,” said Michael Tamblyn, president and CCO, Rakuten Kobo. “Working with GEE allows us to take this passion for empowering readers to the skies, making a favourite in-flight pastime easier than ever.”

“We’re very excited to partner with Kobo to provide a unique in-flight digital eBook experience,” added Alexis Steinman, SVP of digital products at GEE. “Reading is one of the most popular forms of entertainment for airline passengers, and GEE’s partnership with a leading eBook platform will provide value both to our customer Southwest, and to its passengers.”

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