In this episode, Chrissy chats with Kobo’s VP of Product and Devices, Ramesh Mantha to learn all about Kobo’s newest eReader: Forma. Ramesh gives listeners a peak into the work that went into creating our newest high-end device. He talks about the features of Forma, specifically the focus on physical comfort, and the readings stats that influenced the design of Forma. Ramesh also talks about digital reading and how print and eBooks fit in the reading landscape today.

  • Ramesh gives us some interesting insight into how much time readers are spending reading on Kobo devices: The average is 1.5 hours a day, with some true book warriors reading for up to 8 hours a day! The time with most activity all year: the 3rd Sunday in August. Summer reading is real!
  • Ramesh explains the importance of understanding reading habits in order to manufacture the best reading experience. He tells us about how Kobo invited readers to come into the office for a user-experience event and took the time to just observe every different way people interacted with the devices. Do they hold it with one hand, two? Do they lean the device and arm anywhere?
  • Chrissy finds out why the team went back to the drawing board and set aside 8 months worth of work to make sure the device felt right but also looked aesthetically pleasing for readers, without compromising performance.
  • Ramesh shares all the insane conditions the Kobo Forma was put through to test the boundaries and durability of it, including having a super fast robot pressing the page-turning buttons 300 thousand times!
  • Chrissy asks about the market competition for e-readers and what that means for authors, whether publishing exclusively to one device or going wide. She shares how improving the reading experience ultimately affects author sales.
  • Ramesh explains how the Overdrive integration came to be, to allow readers to access their library’s digital catalogue directly from the device.

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Ramesh Mantha is the VP of product for devices at Kobo. He leads the team that conceives of, designs and develops Kobo’s eReaders.  His focus is on harnessing advanced technologies, and then rendering them invisible, leaving nothing but an amazing reading experience.



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