Kobo Writing Life Adds Free Tracking

Writing LifeI’m beside myself with nerdy glee. One of my largest requests for Kobo’s self-publishing platform, Writing Life, has been fulfilled. Now self-pubbers can track their free “sales” or downloads.

Why is this so important? Well, it reveals a mountain of reading and consuming trends inside the loyal kobo using world.

For example:

It turns out that I’ve “sold” 37,566 free downloads in the last year. This is a significant number that far outstrips my free downloads on Amazon. You heard me. I had more downloads of my book, Fistful of Reefer, on Kobo over the last year than Amazon. This tells me that the small fish in a big pond philosophy has some teeth when it comes to Kobo. I was able to get Fistful on top 100 free list on Kobo several months ago (it is currently listed at #100). At the time it was ridiculously hard to find free ebooks on Kobo outside of that list. Now it is possible to find some via category if you have a kobo device (but not via their website).

Why am I happy almost 40,000 people downloaded my product for free?

[Read more...]

Kobo Books: Writing Life Platform

Kobo Writing Life DashboardI’ve tracked www.Kobobooks.com for several weeks now, keeping my eye on the following things:

My intent has been to deduce whether Kobo seems to understand what it will take to become a serious player in the eBook retail universe currently dominated almost exclusively by Amazon and their Kindle store. My perspective is unabashedly that of an indie author. Today’s post will discuss Kobo’s Writing Life Platform. (Follow the linked bullet points for the other posts.)

The Results: Writing Life

Props to Kobo. Their new Writing Life spanks Barnes and Nobles’ PubIt! with both hands. I would go so far as saying Kobo’s platform matches Amazon’s KDP. It is early on, and thus Writing Life is not as advanced. But the next iteration could combine many of the abilities of Amazon’s Author Central and KDP into a single source. [Read more...]

Kobo Books: Customer Service

Customer ServiceI’ve tracked www.Kobobooks.com for several weeks now, keeping my eye on the following things:

My intent has been to deduce whether Kobo seems to understand what it will take to become a serious player in the eBook retail universe currently dominated almost exclusively by Amazon and their Kindle store. My perspective is unabashedly that of an indie author. Today’s post will discuss Kobo’s customer service. (Follow the linked bullet points for the other posts.)

Results: Customer Service

I’ve by no means tested every aspect of Kobo’s interaction with users of its new Writing Life platform, but I’ve published a handful of titles, changed prices, sent some inquiries, suggestions and complaints.

Here’s what I’ve learned. [Read more...]

Kobo Books: Kitten or Lion?

Kobo's Top 50 RankingsI’ve tracked www.Kobobooks.com for five weeks now, keeping my eye on the following things:

  • rankings
  • recommending reading lists
  • search and sort capabilities
  • customer service
  • the writing life platform
  • the app, the eReader, etc.

My intent has been to deduce whether Kobo seems to understand what it will take to become a serious player in the eBook retail universe currently dominated almost exclusively by Amazon and their Kindle store. My perspective is unabashedly that of an indie author.

I’ll do my best to breakdown each of the above bullet points in a series of four posts. I’ll provide my observations/data and give my personal opinion whether Kobo is currently taking a kitten stance, or lion. Today we’ll deal with Kobo’s rankings.

The Results: Rankings

Kobo appears to have two sets of connected rankings. From any product page consumers are given rankings for said product for each of the product’s listed genres (the Writing Life platform allows publishers to select up to three). These rankings are slow to change and only reflect the general rank rather than exact.

By clicking on the actual genre, Men’s Adventure in this case, you will be directed to the Men’s Adventure genre list sorted according to “Best Sellers” (you can also sort by price, rating and title). If a product is rated #83 on the product page this indicates that the product will be specifically ranked somewhere below #83 and above whatever the next selected breakpoint may be (possibly somewhere around #120). Once the product slips below #120 it would then be ranked #120 on the product page. [Read more...]

Kobo Vs. Amazon: It’s Bibliocal!

Writing LifeFirst there was David versus Goliath. We all know how that ended up. But could this be DVs.GII? All I know is this time it’s indeed bibliocal as Kobo attempts to stand toe to toe with Kindle via their new publishing platform, Writing Life.

For those of you asking, “What’s a Kobo?” let’s start with a little history lesson. Once upon a time (2009) a bunch of Canucks formed a company with the idea of not only producing an e-reader (device) but partnering it with a retail eBook website and a multi-platform application with powerful social media integration. “Read Freely” became their motto, and epub (the standard, nonproprietary eBook format) became their format.

As of January 2012 the majority of Kobo, Inc. was bought by a Japanese Company, and just maybe those laid-back Canadians have acquired some Samurai soul in the exchange (maybe they had it in them all along, but we’ll see).

In 2010 their Kobo reader was part of the reason the highly priced (at the time) Kindle slashed their price tag by over 50%. After the Kindle muscled the Kobo from it’s affordability niche, Kobo upgraded features like wi-fi and 3G. Now its Kobo Vox is priced at $179 in a standoff with the Kindle Fire at $199. But has the lowballing, rough and tumble Kobo really returned? Will the Japanese slap down the jelly donut and deliver the heat?

I’m a believer. Let me tell you the two main reasons why. [Read more...]