KOBO Kalamity

KoboI haven’t completely given up on Kobo, but so far the e-reader and e-book company is doing very little to win my favour. At first, I was so thrilled when the Toronto based company, formerly Canadian owned business was opening up to self-published authors through their Kobo Writing Life platform. I put my debut book up there last summer and intended on adding my new book.

Firstly, let me say that I happen to also own a Kobo e-reader, and like myself, the majority of Canadians purchase Kobo books over Kindle. So being Canadian, I was a huge supporter. Secondly, I was asked last summer write a blog post for Kobo, for which I happily did. Thirdly, our public library has a lending program of e-books for Kobo, which was another reason to support this platform.

But something happened this summer, perhaps because of the change in ownership or someone in the marketing department made the decision to change the site to a very simple format. Except that when they did this, they also removed some tool that helped authors sell their books. As well, a series of bugs have yet to be solved, as no one appears to have actually beta tested the site. I have even written and called Kobo to tell them of the actual bugs, and at the time of this posting, the bugs are all still there.

So if someone from the marketing or IT department at KOBO reads this, here is my list:

• There is no rating system in place. As authors, we could link our goodreads reviews to our books, but this was completely removed. Okay, I understand that Amazon purchased Goodreads, and maybe you don’t want to have your competitors review system on your site. So why don’t you offer your own rating sytem???
• There is no option for authors to list a bio or book reviews. I discovered that you can place them under book synopsis, but most of it is hidden unless you scroll down and there is no way to break up the sections with bolding or italics. Which brings me to my next issue…
• Under synopsis, there is some HTML formatting offered such as bolding, italics, bullets, etc. except that none of the formatting actually works! Also, you cannot embed any video or links. There might be a way to do it, but for the life of me, I cannot figure it out.
• There are some glitches with actually publishing your book under Kobo Writing Life. If you choose to upload your book as a .doc or .docx file, it will do some crazy things even if your book is properly formatted. Also, once your book is published, it may be in limbo for days or even weeks. My current book says that it is awaiting publishing, and yet it appears on their site. The problem occurs if I want to make any changes to the book. Some changes will go through, from what I can tell, but you will not be able to disable your book or change the publishing date.
• The customer service is terrible. I can only speak from my own experience, for which I have spoken to 2 live agents and had numerous emails back and forth. I don’t know if it’s a lack of training or what, but if Kobo wants to be on the big stage, they need to get their act together. Examples include: asking the same question twice, reading from what sounds like a script or repeating the same thing over again, not following through when they tell me they will send me follow up email and don’t.

So KOBO, if you want the continuing support of indie writers such as myself, please pull up your socks and act like you actually want authors to succeed, because at the moment you are really lagging behind.

Also, check out these great posts for more on Kobo Writing Life: http://www.myauthorservices.com/why-im-thinking-about-saying-goodbye-to-kobo/



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