Toronto-headquartered Kobo Inc. grew its e-reader customer base by 2.5 million in the first quarter.

The Japanese-owned e-reader company now has 14.5 million registered users worldwide, with 15 percent of its new users coming from the United States. Kobo said that customers were reading 34 percent more in Q1 compared to the same time period last year.

"This is a massive $250-billion market and still in the early days of a 25-year transformation," said Michael Serbinis, CEO, Kobo. "At Kobo, we're focused on people who are passionate about reading, who love books, who want an experience that lets them get lost in words. Our commitment to delivering the best content, devices and overall experience anywhere in the world is attracting more Readers than ever before."

One of the company's bright spots is the new $169 Kobo Aura HD, which has accounted for up to 27 percent of Kobo devices sold at retail outlets with more than 50 percent of those customers being new to Kobo.

Kobo plans to expand to India, China and Russia and continue to challenge competitors such as Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and the Apple iPad.

"New countries or established ones, we go where the readers are. That's what drives us," said Michael Tamblyn, Chief Content Officer, Kobo. "And in each country we enter, we strive to give them a reading experience filled with the best local authors and publishers, in partnership with the best retailers, constantly pushing the boundaries of what reading can be."

Tamblyn adds that in Q1, the Kobo Android app was downloaded millions of times resulting in a 378 percent increase year over year. The company expects to launch its eReading app for BlackBerry BB10 in June.

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