Alex Washburn

One of the biggest success stories in U.S. publishing in recent years has been the continued growth of digital book publishing. Last year, total revenue for e-book sales in the United States reached $3.04 billion, a 44.2% increase on 2011′s numbers and a figure all the more impressive when you realize that growth is additive to the print publishing industry. Even more surprising, publishers have focused much of their attention on genres like sci-fi, fantasy, mystery and romance fiction – markets that have traditionally lagged behind “literary fiction” in terms of sales.

Battling the e-reader juggernaut Amazon is tough. Just ask Barnes & Noble.

Yet, Kobo lives on — not just surviving, but thriving. The Japanese company’s success in the e-reader market can be pinned equally on its strong international presence and its willingness to create a product specifically tuned to the wants and needs of its most hardcore customers.

The Kobo Aura HD is a device for those hardcores: people who not only crave a better e-ink screen (really, who doesn’t?), but also those who pay closer attention to a device’s design.

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