Kobo Plus claims to be “the first service in Italy to provide a combined reading and listening subscription offering at an affordable price and single point of access.”

Kobo has been a player in the Italian market since way back in 2012, but it’s taken until 2021 to see the Kobo Plus unlimited subscription option become a reality in this European country of 54.7 million internet users.

The latest Kobo Plus launch comes days after Kobo launched Kobo Plus in Australia and New Zealand

and the service joins the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada and Portugal as Kobo Plus markets offering unlimited digital books subscription.

According to Rakuten Kobo, Kobo Plus IT marks,

The first service in Italy to provide a combined reading and listening subscription offering at an affordable price and single point of access.

Audible and Storytel both offer unlimited subscription audio in Italy, and Amazon of course keeps its Audible audiobooks and Kindle ebooks as separate packages. It appears Storytel does not offer ebooks on the Storytel IT site, although this is standard in most Storytel markets.

The Rakuten Kobo press release offers the de rigeur self-promo and very little in the way of meaningful publishing insights, but for those who have time, here’s what Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn had to say:

Italy was the first country that taught us how to embrace digital reading to make reading lives better during the difficult times of the lockdown, and we have seen significant growth in digital reading as a result. It’s why we are so proud to be launching Kobo Plus here – it is our way of expanding on our commitment to Italy by making a great reading experience even better. The all-you-can-enjoy subscription allows Italian booklovers to explore new titles and genres risk-free, while also introducing them to Kobo Audiobooks and Kobo Originals selected and curated by skilled and committed book experts.

Our mission has always been to make the reading experience better and more accessible to everyone. By working with equally committed partners, like Mondadori Store, we can continue to connect more authors to more Italian readers.

For Mondadori Retail, Kobo’s core publishing partner in Italy, Managing Director Carmine Perna added:

As the first network of bookshops in Italy, our task is to intercept the new interests of readers, offering them also the possibility to access the most advanced forms of digital reading. We have done this with Kobo since its arrival on the Italian market, through our e-commerce site and our network of bookshops. Since then, we have witnessed a transformation in the way content is used and in purchasing habits. Today we are delighted to renew this profitable partnership, which over the years has enabled us to reach an increasing number of readers and which today also extends to audiobooks, a segment that is recording very interesting growth rates.

Read the full press release (in English) here.