What’s New From Kobo?

During Book Expo America, I had an opportunity for a little face time with Mark Lefebvre, director of self-publishing and author relations at Kobo. A writer himself, Mark is eager to help improve the experience of authors using Kobo. We talked about some of the new goodies Kobo will be releasing over the next few months to help you get more exposure for your books.

1. Preorders. Yes, you read that right. If you self-publish on Kobo, you no longer have to be Hugh Howey to offer preorders on your soon-to-be-released book. Just set up your book to have a future publication date, say, with a lower price initially to start.

2. You’ll be able to make any book free at any time, giving you greater flexibility to offer “free-pulsing” promotions that could increase your name recognition and potential future sales. And you’ll be able to track those free downloads.

3. They will be adding a WYSIWYG interface to make loading and managing your content easier. It will help you build an ePub from scratch, tweak your uploaded document, and making editing that document simpler.

Choose your date range!

4. A customizable dashboard will let you switch from showing monthly sales to any date range you choose.

5. The elusive author page that we’ve been asking for is in the works! Mark said he was very excited about some prototypes he saw for a dynamic, SEO-oriented author page to help you become more discoverable. [Because as we saw, in indie publishing, “discoverability” is the new black.] This author page will go beyond mere keywords, however. For instance, if baseball is the backdrop of your YA series (Jim Devitt), it will pull in articles related to it, so you can further engage your readers by giving them more content about you and your interests.

6. Continued support for indie bookstores, because Kobo is one of the few e-readers they can sell. (Logical, since Amazon won’t let them sell Kindles and B&N won’t let them sell Nooks.) If you are doing an event with a local indie bookstore that sells Kobo devices and ebooks, why haul all those dead-tree books with you? Save that money you might have spent on chiropractic adjustment and simply print up a card with your cover on one side and a QR-code [along with other goodies like blurbs and quotes] on the back. Yes, you can still autograph the card even if you don’t have a printed book. And, bonus, on Kobo an indie bookstore can make your entire ebook backlist available at all times.

Looks like some smart moves afoot. It will be interesting to see how authors, readers, and bookstores like the changes.

Author: Laurie Boris

Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She has been writing fiction for over twenty-five years and is the award-winning author of four novels. She lives in New York’s lovely Hudson Valley. Learn more about Laurie at her website and her Amazon author page.

17 thoughts on “What’s New From Kobo?”

  1. These would be terrific features, Laurie. Apparently Kobo is interested in giving Amazon a run for its money in indie publishing, unlike some others I could name (*cough*Barnes & Noble*cough*). It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

  2. Kobo’s already beating the Nook, and even the Kindle, in many international markets, If anyone’s going to do it, it’ll be them.

    Here’s hoping … I like epubs since there are numerous ways to edit them directly. 🙂

    1. Thank you, DV! It was a lot of fun getting to know our “publishing partners” at the show. I only with CreateSpace and KDP had been as forthcoming with their information.

  3. Awesome news! I really like hearing some of this, and hope Kobo continues to do well. I don’t sell a lot of books there, but tools which might help me improve in that regard are good things. 😉

    Oh, one quibble – Amazon will certainly let indie bookstores sell Kindles – and some do. But the indies don’t make any money from selling Kindle *ebooks*, so it’s basically cutting their own throats for any bookstore to sell Kindle devices. Kobo is working to develop ways to profit share with indie bookstore on the ebooks sold, not just the devices – which while it doesn’t save indie bookstores in the long run, can make a difference for now.

  4. I haven’t been game to offer my book on any other devices yet, but after reading about the improvements to Kobo I’m going to look into it more seriously. Am I right in thinking the Kobo allows you to publish in epub format? If so, that would be a huge boost to me as my writing software can export to epub quite happily.

  5. Now kobo just has to add a way for authors to do digital autographs inside the books which would be great at book singing events at indie stores as well as online signing events.

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