Novelist-blogger Joanna Penn did a video interview with Mark Leslie Lefebvre—Director of Self Publishing and Author Relations at Kobo—under a sponsored content arrangement.

No, Amazon isn’t the sales leader everywhere, so, especially if you live outside the U.S. and want to reach your domestic audience, you might well find the video or related audio worth your time. Kobo sells in 190 countries.

Among other things, Lefebvre says authors will lose traction on Kobo if they sign up with Amazon’s KDP Select and must publish exclusively on Amazon for three months. YMMV, of course. If you’ve been on Kobo for a long time without results, the downside might not be that big in my opinion. That said, I love the idea of Kobo providing competition to Amazon, especially given all the bungling over at Barnes & Noble’s e-book side.

If nothing else, keep in mind that Kobo’s parent company, Rakeuten, now owns the OverDrive library e-book service, which is also Kobo’s parent company. And Lefebvre says Kobo will be working closely with OverDrive to make it easier for Kobo authors to get into libraries using  OverDrive.

Here’s Joanna’s summary of topics, in her own words:

  • Kobo’s focus and the difference between Kobo and Amazon.
  • Recent news about Nook and how that may affect Kobo’s position globally.
  • On Kobo’s readership demographic
  • The type of information Kobo collects about their readership, including estimates about how long it takes the average reader to finish a book.
  • Kobo’s waterproof (and sand proof) device.
  • Why box sets are good for authors on Kobo, including getting more value and positive
  • ROI from Facebook advertising. How pricing works in everyone’s favor with large box sets.
  • How Kobo’s algorithms and ‘temperature’ settings for books work and why authors who stick with the retailer long term have better sales than those who dip in and out.
  • Why pre-orders matter.
  • Advantages of using Kobo directly (vs. going through Smashwords or D2D), including control over global pricing.
  • The new authors services area of the Kobo Writing Life Dashboard.
  • On Kobo’s purchase of OverDrive in March 2015, and how Kobo works with libraries using OverDrive to support indie authors.
  • Kobo’s partnership with Flipkart and the support Kobo provides for authors who will use Kobo to move into markets like India.
  • A reminder about world English rights and how they work.
  • You can find Kobo’s self-publishing side at www.KoboWritingLife.com and on twitter @kobowritinglife and Mark @markleslie or www.MarkLeslie.ca

3 COMMENTS

  1. I like Kobo. I would love to buy some books from them. But I don’t. So far as buying books are concerned it’s Amazon first, daylight second and perhaps Kobo a very distant 3rd or worse. I don’t want gimmicks and reward programs and coupons hiding higher prices. I want the genuinely best deal, and failing that at least the knowledge that I am not paying too much. Only with Amazon do I get this. And the customer service is not in the same ballpark. But they do make some nice ereaders.

  2. For those who’d like for Kobo and others to stand a better chance against Amazon, there’s an easy solution. Push for legislation that’d let author and publishers set retail prices based on the royalties they receive. Companies that pay a smaller percentage of royalties could be hit with higher retail prices. There’s nothing evil about that. For ebooks, the wholesale price is, in effect, the retail price times the royalty rate. Such a rule would simply permit authors and publishers to set their wholesale price, something that’s a normal business practice.

    The chief target would be, of course, Amazon, which almost alone among ebook retailers, pays only 35% on books priced outside the narrow retail window $2.99 to $9.99.

    To give a for instance, if an author prices an ebook at $0.99 on the iBookstore, he gets almost $0.70 in royalties from Apple for each sale. With that same ebook and pricing on the Kindle store, he only gets $0.35. Why shouldn’t he be able to equalize his income from each sale by pricing that book for $0.99 on the iBookstore but $1.99 on the Kindle store? After all, that simply means earns the same on each sale.

    The current situation is most unfair for authors, for other retailers, and for a competitive market. It’s allowing Amazon to make twice as much profit on each sale as many of its competitors, a situation that would only exist due to Amazon’s market domination.

    We don’t have to change Amazon market domination. We can simply make it impossible for Amazon to benefit from it by forcing it to pay market rates.

  3. […] Kobo Tells Writers How to Sell More Ebooks (Teleread) Novelist-blogger Joanna Penn did a video interview with Mark Leslie Lefebvre—Director of Self Publishing and Author Relations at Kobo—under a sponsored content arrangement. No, Amazon isn’t the sales leader everywhere, so, especially if you live outside the U.S. and want to reach your domestic audience, you might well find the video or related audio worth your time. Kobo sells in 190 countries. […]