President at Rakuten Kobo Inc.
Information Technology and Services | Toronto, Canada Area, CA
Michael is President of Rakuten Kobo, one of Canada’s great startup success stories. From its start in Toronto in 2009, Kobo now operates in 17 countries as one of the world’s largest ebook retailers and device manufacturers. It was acquired by Rakuten, Japan’s ecommerce giant, in 2012. A member of the founding executive team in 2009, Michael became President in 2014, driving growth, profitability and international expansion in a fiercely competitive market. He combines a passion for reading with a deep focus on the hardware and software experiences that can make a customer’s reading life better. A passionate and engaging presenter and commentator, Michael speaks internationally on digital media, publishing and mobile technology and has been featured in The New Yorker, Wired, Canadian Business, National Post, Globe and Mail and The New York Times.
Other strengths: Good cook, above-average dancer, reasonably strong, champion bedtime-story-reader, resistant to cold. Weaknesses: book hoarder, poor cable management.
2015 - Present
Board Member / OverDrive, Inc.
With the acquisition of OverDrive by Rakuten, I am pleased to have joined the talented team at OverDrive as a member of their Board of Directors (while continuing as President of Kobo).
2014 - Present
President / Rakuten Kobo Inc.
Founded in December 2009, Toronto-based Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services, offering more than 4 million eBooks and magazines to millions of users across the world. It is our mission to empower booklovers to read more – because we believe reading makes the world a better place. Kobo delivers the best digital reading experience, offering one of the world's largest catalogues with millions of titles, award-winning eReaders and top-ranking apps. Kobo is owned by Japanese eCommerce company Rakuten Inc.
2012 - Present
Chief Content Officer / Rakuten Kobo Inc.
Led the charge for Kobo's international expansion, opening up new markets, acquiring content rights, educating publishers and building one of the world's largest catalogs of ebooks. Lead the Content group within Kobo, responsible for content sales, acquisition, publisher relations, content management, merchandising, pricing, margin management, conversion and self-publishing -- and did it mostly from airport waiting rooms, hotels, and outlandish timezones.
2009 - Present
EVP Content, Sales & Merchandising / Rakuten Kobo Inc.
Leads the Content group within Kobo, responsible for content acquisition, publisher relations, content management, merchandising, pricing, margin management, conversion and self-publishing.
2009 - Present
Board Member / House of Anansi Press
House of Anansi Press was founded in 1967 by writers Dennis Lee and David Godfrey. Anansi started as a small press with a mandate to publish only Canadian writers, and quickly gained attention for publishing significant authors such as Margaret Atwood, Matt Cohen, Michael Ondaatje, and Erin Mouré, as well as George Grant and Northrop Frye.
The company specializes in finding and developing Canada's great new writers of literary fiction, poetry, and nonfiction and in maintaining a culturally significant backlist that has accumulated since the house was founded 40 years ago.
2008 - Present
Adjunct Professor / Simon Fraser University
Guest appearances teaching business analytics, supply chain, future of publishing for Masters of Publishing and Summer Intensive programs.
Director / Book Industry Study Group
Board member for the New York-based hub of all things technology & supply chain-related for the U.S. book market.
VP Content, Sales & Merchandising - Shortcovers / Indigo
Founder & CEO / BookNet Canada
Once upon a time, no one in the Canadian book industry knew how many books were sold in Canada, where they were purchased, who bought them, how authors or titles performed over time, or which publishers had what market share. BookNet Canada changed that, and in doing so, set the international standard for how an industry could work together to make itself smarter and more resilient. Described by the Globe and Mail as "the book industry's supply chain nerve centre", BookNet Canada is the not-for-profit agency responsible for driving technology innovation in Canada's publishing, distribution and book retail sectors. BookNet provides B2B trading services, sets technology standards, develops business intelligence software, and manages BNC SalesData, the national book sales reporting and analysis service, tracking 75% of all Canadian book sales.
Consultant / Bell GlobeMedia Interactive
Director, Product Management / CompanyDNA
Vice President, Online Operations / Indigo
Co-founder / Bookshelf.ca
Bookshelf.ca was one of Canada's first e-commerce destinations, created as a partnership between The Book Shelf, one of Canada's foremost independent bookstores, and Sympatico, Canada's largest internet service provider. It was aquired by Indigo Books & Music in 1998 to form the core of Indigo.ca.