Digital reading company KOBO is launching a competitor to Amazon’s KDP and B&N’s PubIt: KOBO “Writing Life”, a free self-publishing platform for independent authors and publishers.
Writing Life is in beta tests with 50 authors now and will launch in English by the end of June. Authors who were asked what they felt was most important in a self-publishing platform, wanted: openness, control, great royalties, clear and instant reporting and global reach. Powerful but simple.
KOBO takes on Amazon’s KDP program on its website: “Unlike some self-publishing portals, KOBO doesn’t bind you to us. Publish to KOBO and take your ePub to your adoring fans, no matter where they might be. You’re free to sell your eBook the way you want.”
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. “Writing Life” also gives authors an analytics dashboard showing real-time sales stats, including sales by country.
From their press release:
E-book downloads up 400%, e-reader device sales up 160 % and the number of people reading internationally with KOBO up 280% and 8 million users in 190 countries.
KOBO was acquired by Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten for $315 million in November 2011 and will be launching in Japan, with subsequent launches planned for Portugal, Spain, Italy, with more launches to follow. These markets have distinct needs for digital reading and KOBO intends to provide access in regions where printed books are inaccessible and where electronic devices can be more easily obtained.
KOBO’s “Writing Life” launch seems to be good news for authors and publishers alike who don’t want to put their “eggs in one basket only”.