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koboIt looks like investors think there’s real money in e-reading — at least, judging from the $50 million round just raised by e-reading startup Kobo.

The company offers its own e-reading devices (the Kobo eReader and the Kobo Wireless eReader), as well as apps for a wide range of other platforms, including the iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android. It has also partnered with Samsung, Research in Motion, and HTC to supply the e-reading application for their tablet devices.

And even though it may be less well-known than competitors like Apple (with its iBooks app) and Amazon, Kobo seems to be growing fast, with 3.2 million users, including 1 million added in the last 90 days.

The round was led by an undisclosed institutional investor, with funding also coming from past backers Indigo Books & Music, Cheung Kong Holdings, and others. Toronto-based Kobo said it wants to use money to expand internationally (last week it announced plans to open localized versions of its e-book store for Germany and Spain) and to launch new products.

This is the largest round I’ve seen for an e-book company, but the area has already attracted some leading investors. For example, digital textbook maker Inkling’s investors include Sequoia Capital, while Callaway Digital Arts, which creates e-books that are enriched for iPads, has raised money from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

VB Mobile SummitThis April 25-26, VentureBeat is hosting its inaugural VentureBeat Mobile Summit, where we’ll debate the five key business and policy challenges facing the mobile industry today. Participants will develop concrete, actionable solutions that will shape the future of the mobile industry. The invitation-only event, located at the scenic and relaxing Cavallo Point Resort in Sausalito, Calif., is limited to 180 mobile executives, investors and policymakers.

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