How (and Why) to Publish on Kobo

By Lori Culwell

KoboLogoSo, to follow up on my “make your book digital” series, previously we talked about how to get your book into KDP, which of course is Amazon’s self publishing behemoth.  We also talked to our awesome contributor Rachel Thompson, who uses KDP exclusively through their “KDP Select” program.   There’s been a lot of talk about this recently, with several famous authors (like Guy Kawasaki) recommending ONLY publishing through Amazon.

I want to be clear— if you have a solid strategy (like Rachel does) and are selling books, by all means stick with it!   But, if a person who had never self published before asked me, I would definitely recommend NOT only using Amazon as your only method of distribution.   I just think you should give yourselves as many opportunities as possible for people to find and love your work, honestly.

With that in mind, I spoke to Mark LeFevvre from KOBO after BEA.   Mark told me some great stuff about KOBO’s newly-redesigned site and some features of their “Writing Life” program, and I thought I would share a few highlights with you today.

Here’s what stuck out to me about putting a book out with KOBO:

–Freedom!  That is to say, you can make your book free whenever you want, for as long as you want.  This is actually a big deal, when you think about what you’re giving up to be able to publish only through Amazon, and the fact that even if you ARE doing a giveaway through KDP Select, you’re limited to five free days every 90 day period.  If you want to make your book free more often than that, KOBO wants to let you.    There actually is a way to make your book free on Amazon even if you don’t do KDP Select, and I am working on a report all about that!

–Indie Bookstores are using KOBO.   Amazon has a sometimes-fraught relationship with indie bookstores, for obvious reasons.  Indie bookstores are much less likely to recommend that you buy a book on Amazon, or link to your Amazon book from their website, for instance.  However, KOBOis seeing big engagement from indie bookstores, which is another reason I personally will be putting books out through them.

–Kobo has an easy to use interface.  In my Kindle article, I told you that you’re going to need some tutorial videos to get you through the publishing process on Kindle.  I have now started the process of putting a book into Kobo, and I’m finding it quite a bit easier.     Side note:   while in the process of putting a book into KOBO, I realized that the book in question had been automatically renewed by Amazon’s KDP Select.    Since KDP Select requires exclusivity, I had to request that my book be removed from that program at the end of the current 90-day period, which ends in September.

Since I can’t report any further on my own experience (until September, that is!), I will give you some more KOBO highlights from my interview with Mark.   I asked Mark to elaborate on some of the benefits of publishing with KOBO, and here is what he said!

* Broader range of 70% offering ($1.99 to $12.99)

* 45% commission at the lowest price-point (my note:  Amazon users will recognize this as a huge advantage)

* KWL also doesn’t deduct a processing fee based on file size

* We do not make any exclusivity requests – in fact, being writers, we know it’s in the best interest of authors to ensure their work is available EVERYWHERE

* We amalgamate all global payments into a single payment in the currency of your choice (ie, you don’t need to look at 6 different reports to see what you’re owed and paid for separately)

* Similarly, our dashboard shows all sales in a single easy visual representation – with a quick high level snapshot of what you’re owed

* Dashboard defaults to THIS MONTH view, but is completely customizable to whatever range you want to specify

* Most beautiful and user-friendly interface for entering and updating titles that exists in the market

* Free conversion from doc, docX, Openoffice or Mobi file to ePub

* We also let you download the converted ePub file and do whatever you want with it

* You DO NOT NEED to bring your own ISBN – we’ll assign a dummy ISBN – however, you can enter one if you choose

* Control your pricing in up to 8 currencies

* Control your territorial rights

* is available in about 200 countries

* Kobo’s catalog also feed into local retail partner databases, such as Chapters/Indigo (Canada), American Bookseller Association bookstores, aka the independent bookstores (US), WHSmith (UK), Bookseller Association, aka the indies (UK), FNAC (France), Modandori (Italy), Whitcoulls (AUS), and a dozen others……

With all of this in mind, I definitely would encourage you to sign up for KOBO/ Writing Life, check out what they have to offer, and consider joining me in putting a book or two out through them.   What have we got to lose?