Tag Archives: kobo

Kobo Writing Life

Kobo Writing Life was launched in 2012 as the self-publishing branch of Kobo. When authors submit e-books, they are stacked together with titles from renowned publishers. The director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations, Mark Lefebvre, gave a status update to Good e-Reader and revealed some of the exciting deals they have.

A majority of new authors are not knowledgeable about the Kobo ecosystem and they have no idea how Writing Life can benefit them. Mr. Lefebvre gave a highlight of the benefits of the platform to indie authors. “In a nutshell, KWL offers you a place to publish your eBook for free to Kobo’s catalog. You keep 70% for any title priced $2.99 or higher. There’s no CAP on that 70% which means authors who publish high value box sets of multiple copies of their books, can offer their readers a good deal without having to give up on margin. (Kindle drops the royalties to 35% if you price above $9.99).”

“Also, via Kobo Writing Life, you’re not dealing with a faceless corporation. Yes, we have automated tasks and efficiencies so that authors can easily DIY their way all through the publishing process. But if authors need to contact a real human, they can. We’ve re-launched a new ticketing system that has allowed us to be more efficient than ever before and offer more personalized responses to authors’ concerns. We also have a new community and forum where authors can easily find answers to popular questions.”

The KWL team does not only aim at helping authors with their publishing but also to inform and educate writers on the business and skill of publishing. They offer free publishing tools and also ensure that authors perceive the economics of business, great practices for authors etc. to accomplish their goals. They have partnered with reputable companies to give the best author services for editorial support, cover design, purchasing ISBNs at discounted prices, audio book production among others. 

Kobo Writing Life is a great achievement for the company and 550,000 titles have been published over the past six years. 1,000 to 1,500 titles are published every week.  Writing Life keeps on getting better and in the last couple of years they have included a pre-order system, a feature for tracking free downloads and author pages. Kobo tries to avoid adding paid services because “of the history of some other companies out there who seem to exist merely to exploit authors and sell things they don’t need.” KWL is working to being the ultimate trusted service for authors.

KWL is still trying to optimize and iterate their dashboard according to the KWL user feedback they are getting. The company also launched a survey to their most active users to find out what they do not like, what they like, what they would want to see more, and what new things they would find more valuable. The results of the survey enable them to prioritize their 18+ month backlog of upgrades/tasks and updates that they plan to implement. Mr. Lefebvre added they are BETA testing a new print-on-demand feature for US and Canadian authors.

Mastering Virtual Reality: A Beginner’s Guide To Start Making Money With Virtual Reality

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Book Includes:
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15. Before Investing In Virtual Reality
16. VR with Blockchain

Kobo adds audiobooks along with an Audible-like subscription

Kobo is finally getting into the audiobooks biz. The Canadian company has added audiobooks to its offerings and already has an extensive catalogue sell, including bestsellers like the Harry Potter series. Even better, it has launched $10-per-month Audible-like subscription service, which sounds like a good deal if you regularly purchase audiobooks.


The service gives you credits you can use to get any title from Kobo.com, even if its list price costs more than what you paid. You get a free 30-day trial period, so you can check out how it works before committing. But if you know you can go through a single audiobook real fast, you can also just straight up buy a three-pack credit for $30 and keep up to 24 credits in your subscription account.


You can find any audiobook and ebook you buy in one place within Kobo’s iOS and Android apps. Once you’ve chosen what to listen to, the apps’ built-in player will give you the power to choose your preferred narration speed. You can also see how much time you have left and program it to switch off after a certain amount of time if you tend to listen to your books in bed.


Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn says the company decided to get into audiobooks, since “We have more books than time, always. Audiobooks let [the company’s] readers fit the books they love into more parts of their day.” In case you can’t find what you’re looking for in Kobo’s current catalogue, don’t worry: the e-book maker promises to add more titles every week. But if browsing through what’s available gets a bit overwhelming, you can always check out the personalized recommendations based on your previous e-book purchases. In addition to the US, Kobo’s audiobooks subscription offering is now also available in Canada ($13/mo), the UK (£6.99/mo), Australia ($13/mo) and New Zealand ($14/mo).



Kobo Writing Life is a Boon for Indie Authors

Kobo Writing Life is the self-publishing arm of Kobo and it launched in 2012. The e-books that authors submit are stacked side by side with titles from major publishers. Mark Lefebvre theDirector of Self-Publishing & Author Relations sat down with Good e-Reader to give a status update and to let authors know some of the exciting things that are happening.

Many new authors are not familiar with the Kobo ecosystem and what Writing Life can do for them. Mark gave the lowdown on what the platform can do for indies.  “In a nutshell, KWL offers you a place to publish your eBook for free to Kobo’s catalog. You get to keep 70% for any title priced $2.99 or higher. There’s no CAP on that 70%, which means authors who want to do great value box sets of multiple copies of their books, can offer their readers a good deal without having to give up on margin. (Kindle drops the royalties to 35% if you price above $9.99).”

“Also, via Kobo Writing Life, you’re not dealing with a faceless corporation. Yes, we have automated tasks and efficiencies so that authors can easily DIY their way all through the publishing process. But if authors need to contact a real human, they can. We’ve re-launched with a new ticketing system that has allowed us to be more efficient than ever before and offer more personalized responses to authors concerns. We also have a new community and forum where authors can easily find answers to popular questions.”

“Part of the mandate of the KWL Team isn’t just to help authors with publishing, but to also help educate and inform authors on the craft and business of publishing. It’s great that we offer free tools to publish, but it’s just as important to us that we ensure they understand the economics of business, best practices for authors, etc. That’s why we have also partnered with trusted companies to offer author services for cover design, editorial support, purchasing ISBNs at a discount (for US authors through Bowker), audiobook production (via ListenUp), etc. KWL offers great price optimization tools so that authors can control their prices in 15 currencies. Again, as mentioned above, we do our best to help educate and inform authors of the importance of the global markets.

Kobo Writing Life has been a massive success for the company and over the course of the past six years over 550,000 titles were published. On a weekly basis, KWL has been averaging between 1,000 to 1,500 new titles every week, so the annual title count increase in a year is somewhere between 50,000 to 75,000. This doesn’t count self-published titles being added through 3rd party self-pub aggregators like Draft2Digital, Smashwords, Pronoun, and Streetlib. Kobo does not track the exact title count through these companies, but it is estimated they contribute an extra 25,000 e-books per year.

Writing Life is constantly evolving and over the last few years they added a pre-order system,  author pages and the ability to track free downloads.  Mark elaborated about some of the features that did not make the daily news cycle. “We have added far more author services support over the past few years. We initially avoided those paid services because of the history of some other companies out there who seem to exist merely to exploit authors and sell them things they don’t need. But, over time, we realize that there are a multitude of beginning authors who don’t know where to go to get trusted services, so we have a person on the KWL team, Hufsa, dedicated to working with potential partners to secure a discount for KWL authors on services and so we can direct them to people who are going to provide quality service and trusted service.”

“In terms of the systems themselves, we continue to iterate and optimize the KWL dashboard based on ongoing KWL user feedback, and have recently launched a survey to our most active KWL users to learn what they like, what they don’t like, what they want more of, what new things they’d find more valuable. We use the results of those surveys to help us prioritize the 18+ month backlog of tasks/upgrades and updates we want to implement.” Mark also mentioned that they are currently BETA testing a new print on demand service for Canadian and US authors.



The Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2 will be released soon

Kobo is working on a brand new e-reader called the Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2. This device will be waterproof and feature a 6.8 inch display. It should be released this May, just in time for Mother’s Day.

Recently Kobo pushed out a firmware update for their complete line of e-readers. They totally revised the home screen and made navigating around the menus more robust. Within the updated firmware was a list of all of the models that were supported, one of them was an unannounced device called the Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2.

The first generation Kobo Aura H2O was released in 2014 and it was the second Kobo branded device that had a larger screen than its predecessors. It featured a 6.8 inch e-ink Carta touchscreen display with a resolution of 1430×1080. Carta Imaging Film offers a 50% improvement in contrast ratio over previous generation of e-Paper displays. Kobo also attained the prestigious IP67 certification for their first waterproof device. It will basically allow users to have the e-Reader completely submerged in five meters of water for an hour, with the MicroUSB and MiscroSD ports closed.

It is very likely that the upcoming Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2 will have the same front-lit display as the Kobo Aura One. It should have 9 white LEDs and 8 more RGB LED lights to help read in the dark and cut down on the amount of white light. There will not be an SD Card, as the company has scaled back on expandable memory in a bid to get customers to purchase more ebooks and cut down on hardware expenses. I think there will likely be 8GB of internal storage. Look for Overdrive functionality to be baked into the firmware, this will allow patrons to borrow library e-books directly from their e-reader.

Will the second generation H2O be more expensive or cheaper than the first gen? Kobo, Chapters/Indigo and a myriad of bookstores all over the world are currently selling the H2O for $199. I expect Kobo to continue to market the Aura One and the entry level Kobo Touch Edition 2. The second gen H2O will be a mid-level device, so I don’t think the screen will be completely flush the bezel.



Barnes and Noble Sells More eBooks Than Kobo

Barnes and Noble gets skewered in the media for their massive decline in Nook ereader and ebook sales, but the bookseller sells more content than Kobo. Barnes and Noble sold 19 million Nook books in the United States from early 2016 to early 2017. Kobo sold 10.6 million e-books in five different countries. They sold 1.2 million in the US, 1.1 million in the UK, 6 million in Canada, 1.3 million in Australia and 416,000 in New Zealand.


Apple iBooks also sells more ebooks than Kobo does in the same international markets. Apple sold 44 million in the United States, 7 million in the UK, 3.7 million in Canada 6 million in Australia and a paltry 831 thousand in New Zealand.

B&N and Kobo digital sales pale in comparison to Amazon who sold over 406 million Kindle books during the same time period in the United States, 84 million in the United Kingdom and 14 million in Canada. Total Kindle sales in the last calendar year was over 518 million. Amazon accounts for more than 80% of English-language ebook purchases.



Here are Six Factors Kobo Considers When Expanding Into a New Country

Expanding into new territories takes a tremendous amount of time and energy. Publishers, retailers and local employees must all be brought on board. Often, readers need to be introduced to the benefits of e-Reading as well. In short: a great localized experience doesn’t happen overnight.

Here are six of the factors that Kobo considers when moving into a new market, according to CEO Michael Tambyln.

1. Books available in the digital format

For us, it’s critically important that books are available in the digital format. For publishers, this means acquiring digital rights along with print rights and also starting to get eBooks converted to the EPUB format so that they can be sold by retailers like us. In many countries, we have worked with publishers to find conversion facilities and partners to help make the transition to eBooks as fast and inexpensive as possible.

This first step is often the most difficult one — after all, why would a publisher invest in making a digital version of a book when the market hasn’t started yet? They are necessary because we, and every other retailer of eBooks, need the biggest catalog we can get.

2. Comprehensive catalog

This is the second thing we want to see: Can we acquire from publishers a collection of books that is wide and deep, that includes all categories — fiction and non-fiction, books read for entertainment and education and religious study, from every publisher.

3. Access to top titles and authors

We want to create a digital bookstore that has the same titles and popular authors that a reader would find in a great print bookstore. We want a reader to come to our store, look around and say, yes — this is what a bookstore looks like.

4. Understanding of how a country looks at books

The fourth condition that is necessary for us is a clear understanding of what makes the books in a country unique. In each country, there are different challenges to address. Languages, display of different characters, finding the correct typefaces, how people search for the books they are looking for. But also — we need a good understanding of how books exist in that country from a legal, regulatory standpoint. Are there some kinds of books that can’t be sold? Are there restrictions on pricing? Are there certain categories that are especially important? Can we sell the books just in one country, or all over the world? As well, we need to know how people think about books differently in that territory. Are books and literature a critical part of the cultural landscape? Are authors seen as major cultural figures? Are books seen as entertainment, escape, education, or all of the above?

5. Internet usage

Fifth, we look for countries with high internet penetration. Even more, we look for countries where eCommerce has started to become a popular way for people to buy goods and services. Best of all are countries where other kinds of digital content — maybe not books, but music, movies, games — are starting to be sold online.

6. Market conditions

Sixth, high levels of literacy are important, and especially a rising level of disposable income and strong print book market, where people have money available to spend and use that money to buy books.



Rakuten Kobo and bol.com launch ‘Kobo Plus’

Booklovers from The Netherlands and Belgium will never run out of things to read thanks to Kobo Plus. The new subscription service jointly created by Rakuten Kobo, leader in the digital eReading space, and premier online Dutch and Belgian retailer bol.com, offers readers the largest all-you-can-read selection of digital books in The Netherlands and Belgium, with titles ranging from new releases and bestsellers to classics and old favorites, including both Dutch and international titles. Customers can try the eBook subscription service free of charge for 30 days.

Digital reading enables people to carry their entire libraries with them wherever they go— gone are the days of having to choose which book to take on vacation or on the daily commute. In 2014, Kobo and bol.com partnered together, making it possible to access thousands of eBooks anywhere, on any device. The Kobo Plus subscription service is the next step in making the largest selection of books even more accessible, offering more than 40,000 titles—16,000 in the Dutch language—with considerable growth expected in the coming months.

“Globally, the demand for unlimited access to music and movies has really taken off, and we believe books is the next category that will benefit from barrier-free access. By combining bol.com’s and Kobo’s knowledge and reach, we can now offer Dutch-language readers the ultimate reading experience and make digital reading even easier,” says Pieter Swinkels, Executive Vice-President, Rakuten Kobo. “Kobo Plus allows readers to effortlessly discover new authors and try out new genres that they might not otherwise try, encouraging people to read more. The extensive selection available through our subscription service means the only thing readers need to consider is what book to read next.”

Daniel Ropers, General Manager, bol.com: “Books inspire and enrich, which is why, from the moment we started our bookstore in 1999 in The Netherlands, we have done everything in our power to make reading books as enjoyable, convenient and accessible as possible for a wide audience. This has really taken off since we introduced digital reading in 2009. Our new eBook subscription service provides an even better answer to customers’ frequent requests to have a large number of books available at an attractive price, including bestsellers. We have found an excellent partner in Kobo. With their digital reading platform, which includes world-class eReader options, we work towards the same goal every day.”


Kobo Plus was developed in close collaboration with leading Dutch publishers. The subscription service operates on a fair-share model, with payouts funded by subscription revenues, which enables a self-sustaining service built for the long-term—encouraging publishers to offer a wide selection of books from all genres. Kobo Plus was designed with the booklover in mind, and provides book recommendations tailored to individual readers’ interests.

Patrick Swart, CEO of Dutch publisher WPG Uitgevers, says: “As with any new business model, it will take some time for those involved to become accustomed with this new way of delivering books to readers. For publishers, a new business model entails a different approach to marketing books and for our authors it means they get compensated in a different way. As Kobo Plus allows booklovers to choose from thousands of titles, they no longer have to choose just one book at a time. This ‘unlimited’ reading solution, created by bol.com and Kobo, nicely complements the evolution we are seeing in consumer reading habits as well as book subscription trends globally. We are excited for the launch of this new product, which makes digital reading even more accessible and possibly further limits digital book piracy, and are confident it will be a success.”    

More information on bol.com and Kobo’s e-book subscription service can be found at: www.bol.com/koboplus (Dutch-language site)  

About Rakuten Kobo Inc.

Owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten and headquartered in Toronto, Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s most innovative eReading services offering more than 5 million eBooks to millions of customers in 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides people with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders to suit any Reader’s style including the Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura H2O, and Kobo Aura ONE. Along with the company’s free top-ranking eReading apps for Apple®, BlackBerry®, Android®, and Windows®, Kobo ensures the next great read is just a page-turn away. Kobo’s award-wining eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit www.kobo.com.

About bol.com

Since its launch in 1999, bol.com has been one of the most popular stores in The Netherlands and Belgium. Due to its wide selection, excellent service and convenient shopping, bol.com enjoys the confidence of approximately 6.5 million customers in The Netherlands and Belgium. This appreciation is reflected in the many awards bol.com has won. In March 2016, for example, bol.com was pronounced ‘Best Web Store in the Netherlands’.  In addition, shoppers voted bol.com ‘Best Online Department Store in the Netherlands’ and ‘Best Web Store in Belgium’ in both 2015 and 2016. With a selection of nearly 15 million products, all of these customers keep finding what they’re looking for. Bol.com offers the largest selection within dozens of specialty stores, including books and e-books in Dutch and other languages, music, movies, games, electronics, toys, jewelry, watches, baby products, gardening and DIY products, as well as everything for the home, pets, sports, leisure and personal care.  Bol.com is part of Ahold Delhaize.



Kobo enters the ebook buffet arena with Kobo Plus, but there’s a catch

Ebook subscription services are not particularly new — Amazon launched its Kindle Unlimited service in 2014 while Scribd has been mainly known as an ebook subscription service since 2013. Now that such services have become somewhat of a trend, Kobo thought it was time to throw its hat into the arena with Kobo Plus.

Similar to the aforementioned competitors, Kobo Plus is an ebook subscription service that lets you read over 40,000 titles — 10,000 are in Dutch — for 10 euros (around $10.50). The available titles include new releases and bestsellers, as well as more older titles, though it might be best to look over the list and make sure there are books that appeal to you.

In terms of revenue, Kobo said it worked with “leading Dutch publishers” to develop a fair-share model that doles out payments funded by the subscription revenues. The company did not say what slice of the pie these publishers receive, but Kobo insists the payment model allows Kobo Plus to stand on its own two feet for the long term.

As has been hinted at, however, there is one big catch with Kobo Plus — it is currently only available in Belgium and the Netherlands. According to Kobo, this is because the company has seen large growth in the two countries, to the point where one in seven non-fiction books sold in the Netherlands is digital. Furthermore, Kobo has sold 1.2 million of its ebook readers in the Netherlands, which means that roughly 1 in 16 people in the country own a Kobo-branded ebook reader.

Kobo Plus is now available in the two launch countries, though Kobo did not say whether the service will cross borders into other countries. Similar to Kindle Unlimited and Scribd, you can try Kobo Plus free of charge for 30 days, after which you will need to decide whether the service is for you.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/kobo-plus-ebooks/#ixzz4a02YutdI
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