In an effort to compete with larger players like Barnes & Noble and Amazon, Kobo has launched its own self-publishing service.
Dubbed Writing Life, the service is much like others on offer. Laura Hazard Owen at paidContent.org has a good overview of the differences between Kobo’s new service and others.
Kobo Writing Life Delivers Best-in-Class Open, Collaborative Self-Publishing Portal
Easy-to-use, data driven portal provides authors with reader insights never before seen in self-publishing
NEW YORK CITY, NY (Book Expo America), June 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Kobo Inc., a global leader in eReading, today introduced its self-publishing portal Kobo Writing Life for independent authors and publishers. Designed to help writers become the best authors and publishers possible, Kobo Writing Life offers key reader insights and marketing tools to engage with fans on a global scale.
Another step in the company’s focus and support of open standards, Kobo Writing Life uses industry standard ePub files giving readers more flexibility to choose on what computer, smartphone or eReading device they want to read the self-published titles. At no cost to the author, Kobo Writing Life titles are published easily using a revolutionary self-service portal in minutes. The platform is designed to put the power of all aspects of publishing – from price setting to advertising to marketing – in the hands of the writers helping them to maximize sales.
“When we started working on Kobo Writing Life, the first thing we did was ask authors what they felt was most important in a self-publishing platform,” said Michael Tamblyn, EVP Content & Merchandising, Kobo. “They were incredibly clear: openness, control, great royalties, incredible reporting and global reach. It should be powerful but drop-dead simple. And there should be people running it who care about writers — not like dropping your treasured manuscript into a machine. We can’t wait to see what authors will do with this.”
Unlike competitive self-publishing tools, Kobo allows authors to set their book price to “FREE” at any time without restrictive exclusive agreements, in addition Kobo pays 10% higher royalties on sales in many growing international markets and allows authors much more freedom on pricing. The company’s focus on Social Reading will also give authors the opportunity to connect with readers through its Kobo Author Notes program enabling writers to provide commentary within the book for readers to enjoy as well as through Kobo’s free apps, integrated with Facebook Timeline.
“Kobo has designed an intuitive dashboard that is easy to use and loaded with features important to me as an author,” said Bella Andre, best-selling author of the Sullivan series. “The ability to see the performance of my books across different markets helps me to understand how my advertising and promotions are influencing sales so that I can engage with more readers around the world.”
“Self-publishing is an important way for even established authors to strengthen a personal relationship with fans by offering them new or backlist titles that might not be suitable for large-scale print publishing,” said Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author. “The technology behind platforms like Kobo Writing Life is offering ways for writers to reach specific audiences easily. Some books are suitable for release by a major publisher, while others are better suited to a targeted approach.”
Kobo Writing Life, currently being tested by 50 authors in its beta program, will be available in English at the end of June for the more than 1,600 authors already signed up. Additional languages and country-specific support will be added in the coming year. To sign up for Kobo Writing Life, please visit www.kobo.com/writinglife and check out the tutorial videos and FAQ.
About Kobo Inc.
Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services offering millions of eBooks, magazines and newspapers- and counting. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo has built an open-standards platform to provide consumers with a choice when reading. Inspired by a “Read Freely” philosophy and a passion for innovation, Kobo has expanded to nearly 200 countries, where millions of consumers have access to localized eBook catalogues and award-winning eReaders, like the Kobo Touch. With top-ranked eReading applications for Apple, BlackBerry, Android, and Windows products, Kobo allows consumers to make eReading social through Facebook Timeline and Reading Life, an industry-first social experience that lets users to earn awards for time spent reading and encouraging others to join in. Headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten, Kobo eReaders can be found in major retail chains across the globe.