sourgrapesI read the thirty-two Tweets written by Kobo President, Michael Tamblyn to Indie Authors, saying, ‘You’re on Amazon’s Hit List.’ Quite honestly, he sounds like the Monty Python sketch, ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’ He conveniently forgets about all the great things Amazon has done for self-published authors.

He also does a very good job of making one think that he is not up to the job, as his 32 Tweet manifesto reeks of sour grapes. To be blunt, Kobo has done little worthy of mention and is struggling at the very tail end of self-publishing. This may because they are far too busy criticising, complaining and scare mongering, and doing precious little innovation.

Kobo have been one of the most ‘stuck in the mud’ self-publishing platforms. You may recall a couple of years ago when Kobo banned all e-books distributed to them by Smashwords that had even a hint or erotica about them. So badly did they handle this that 1,000s upon 1,000s of ebooks were removed from sale by Kobo that were not remotely erotic at all. The reason given by Kobo was that they had come under pressure from credit card companies, who didn’t want pornography purchased via their credit cards.

Luckily, Kindle, Smashwords, Apple and all the other self-publishing providers knew there was a difference between pornography and erotica and did not react to this silliness by Mastercard and Visa and did not remove e-books from sale. It was Kobo alone who wrongly banned 1,000s of books because they didn’t understand. Or were they just being prudes?

Then there is one simple question I would ask? How many e-books do Kobo sell? Of all my e-book sales, I doubt Kobo has contributed enough for more than a beer or two for me. Perhaps this was caused by half of my e-books being incorrectly banned for a year.

So, in conclusion fellow self-published authors, I ask you, what has Kobo ever done for us?

The 32 Sour Grapes of Kobo
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4 thoughts on “The 32 Sour Grapes of Kobo

  • 25/10/2014 at 4:26 pm

    Dear Derek,
    Actually, I think that there may be a kernel of insight in Kobo innovator Michael Tamblyn’s tweets; sour grapes though they may be. It appears that once again sales boards of a VAST majority of IndieAuthors are slowing down in DIS-proportion to (a) marketing efforts and (b) immediately past sales figures of the affected author.

    After my own 2012 personal phone calls FROM Amazon officials (I didn’t call them — they called me — at home) I’m personally convinced of Amazon’s capability to ‘flip the switch’ on any Rubic Cube configuration; sales effectiveness, category A authors vs. category C authors, yadda yadda.

    I would go so far as to predict that before June 2015 authors who have not met a certain book sale quota will have their books culled from inventory to save on bandwidth and calm down the “Buy Me! instead of the Amazon imprint!” noise.

    Tamblyn’s tail between his legs Tweets notwithstanding — IndieAuthors ARE competitors to Amazon’s emerging imprints.

    Time will tell. June 2015 ~ seismic change.

    • 25/10/2014 at 4:51 pm

      The only constant, will be change, Emily. I have no doubt that Amazon have a range of algorithms at their disposal that can move book sales to where it is most advantageous (read profitable too) for them. As a business, that is to be expected.

      However, Amazon have been the real innovator, and for that, they are leading the way on most publishing and book sales fronts. But it is obvious that Indie authors who don’t enrol in KDP Select are at a disadvantage. Clearly, Amazon have used their pool of exclusive ebooks to introduce new products to the market, which are then used to leverage major publishers. Right now, it is being used to push the Kindle Unlimited subscription service.

      I have not had any of my books exclusively with Amazon for a few years now because I firmly believed that it was unfair. But I am reconsidering this now, as it is clear that only Amazon can deliver sales. The others huff and puff, but in the end, fail to deliver. Even Apple, who are the only company big enough to compete with Kindle, has gone very cold on ebooks, and are doing little to promote iBooks.

      That all leaves only one game in town, I think. Better a seismic change, than inaction and complaining.

  • 25/10/2014 at 5:36 pm

    Well, I’ll CERTAINLY grant you that “inaction and complaining” never solved anything! If that is what you’re inferring about Tamblyn yes.
    It’s probably not a ‘this OR that’ set of issues; i.e. People who complain about not being able to compete AGAINST Amazon will continue to list their books there; authors will continue to believe that Amazon’s innovations were developed to help THEM get to market, when (IMO) those innovations were intended to get Amazon to market. And so on, and so on.

    Great discussion group, as always your insights are a global draw.
    So. . . err. . . Carry On! ;D

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