Okay, so we have all heard of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, etc. and recognize them as leading entities in the publishing world, especially for those who are self-published, like me. But I'll be that not everyone has heard of Kobo.
Now, I have been watching this since early this year, and have come to the conclusion that this is something to watch out for. Based in Toronto, Kobo has been making a footprint in the online community with a strong presence in popular iPad, iPod, Blackberry (and the list goes on!) applications. Kobo even has it's own line of ereaders, including the Kobo Touch and the Kobo Vox, giving Amazon's Kindle and Noble's Nook a little healthy competition, in my humble opinion.
Kobo is slated to launch its publishing program for authors like you and me sometime around the end of June, giving us all something to think on. For instance, Amazon's Prime program demands fealty for authors who choose to sign up for it, allowing Prime members to "borrow" their books from the Amazon library. Now, I had a few good sales through this channel, but it was nothing to write home about. There too, Amazon's KDP program requires the same loyalty, locking author's into a single selling platform and potentially stunting sales as a result. Many of us who have signed on to this are not able to use places like Noble and Smashwords anymore. A plus for Amazon: you can schedule free sales that draw in potential readers. This is a fantastic opportunity, but again, it has its drawbacks. Sure, people scoop your books up by the armful, but do they ever get around to reading it, or is it falling into the pile of endless other books resigned to the same fate?
Kobo does it different.
Kobo doesn't pretend to be the one and only true platform for authors or demand that you bow down and kiss its feet and swear never to leave its side for fear of retribution. Instead, Kobo says do what you will! They're your works of art. We are just happy to assist. You also earn 10% higher royalties, and at the end of the day, who doesn't love having more money in their pockets?
My conclusion: Maybe Kobo is worth taking a chance on. Maybe it's worth losing perks, like free days on KDP and borrowing features on Prime. Perhaps traveling down a new, unproven path will result in unimaginable wonders. Time will only tell, but when the time comes, you can count on this girl jumping in with both feet.
What will you do?
If you want to learn more about Kobo Writing Life, you can check it out here. And while you're there, be sure to sign up so you can be notified the moment it launches.