Kindle, or Kobo?

The aim of this piece is to look at the two systems as a writer, and not a reader.


When it comes to eReaders there is a wide choice, and the prices reflect that choice.

As a writer, I first published with Smashwords, but apart from learning a lot about formatting, and how difficult it was to be paid for my sales … well, let’s not go there.

I moved on to Amazon and tried the KDP route. It took an hour to read the Terms and Conditions, but at least I knew where I stood by the time it came to ticking, or un-ticking little boxes.

Sales were reported, and hey, I was paid regularly. I continued to publish my work through Amazon, and when it was offered, I ventured into the KDP Select programme to gain from the many benefits offered … yeah, whatever.

Having spent many months with Amazon, I published three titles with Kobo, believing that with the big advertising campaign in the UK, it had to be a winner. Perhaps I was the only person in the country seeing the ads, or my work didn’t appeal to anybody with a Kobo.

Three months later I dropped my titles and put all my eggs in the Amazon basket, and topped off the basket by also placing them on the KDP Select listing.


Three years have passed, and I’ve commenced building a portfolio with Kobo. If you’re familiar with KDP Select you will know there is a 90-day exclusivity clause involved. All of my titles were ‘locked-in’, but now as they are available I am publishing in both Amazon and Kobo, but not in any of the select programmes.

What has changed?

Kobo has improved, having ironed out many of the issues which existed three years ago, and now I find myself with twenty-plus titles, many of which sell regularly. I’m confident in my work, and I’m giving Kobo a six-month trial with a selection of my titles. Later in this post I’ll explain which are being left out of the equation, and why.


If you’re a writer and you didn’t already know, Kindle and Kobo both have an exclusive loyalty programme to which you can assign your titles.

Kindle has the KDP Select:

1 – Earn higher royalties from *Kindle Unlimited and *Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, plus 70% royalties when your titles are bought in a handful of selected countries.

*Both programmes are subscription based for those who are reading the books.

2 – Use of two promotional tools (Kindle Countdown, or Free Book).

Kobo Writing Life has the Kobo Plus programme.

Kobo Plus equates roughly to KDP Select, in that the author is paid if a title is borrowed by a subscriber to the programme.

On the author side of Kobo I’ve found plenty of services. The distribution for Kobo published material is wider across the globe without having to enter into any ‘exclusive’ programme.

Kobo appears to concentrate the ‘loyalty/reward’ aspect of the business on the readers, which is fine, because those of us who write and self-publish are (or should be) readers.

If you should know differently on any of the aforementioned, please let me know.


Tom Benson – Amazon Author Page              Tom Benson on Kobo

I’m watching closely for the first month as I select and publish titles with Kobo, and if I see sales, I’ll add more titles. When I have most of my titles in both camps, I’ll monitor sales until end October 2017.

I will not be publishing my erotica titles with Kobo due to their strict guidelines, and I’d prefer not to get into a legal tangle because I disagreed with their opinion of what is, or isn’t erotica.

As always, thank you for reading and commenting.


12 thoughts on “Kindle, or Kobo?

  1. Julia Lund

    Logical, thorough and well-researched as ever, Tom. I’ve never ventured into Kobo and will be interested to read how you get on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences and research. I know a few other authors who are currently trying Kobo, but for most, it’s too early to register the outcome. I’m looking forward to reading your follow up on this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Anne. I may results quickly, or it may take a while, but whatever happens I’ll report on my findings. 🙂


    1. Hi, Ian. I’ve been a Kindle man for years, but I’ve got a Kobo coming too now and I’ll be able to see how things look on both machines. Great to have your support, and thank you. 🙂


  3. I loved the Kobo hardware, but their selection at the time I was looking was minimal. I may have to give them another chance later this year after stuff starts falling off KDP Select.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Eric. I’ve ordered a Kobo which should come through next week. Like you, I don’t go into these things lightly, and I’ve had a good look at what’s on offer. Two positives I can see are, that we as authors get to see what our readers see, and for the sake of comparisons we are more qualified to give an objective opinion when asked by our peers. I’ll be reporting back to the group when I’ve seen enough. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Melanie P Smith

    Finding the right distribution channels can be difficult. I truly believe it is a personal choice and varies depending on factors such as location, genre, and visibility. What works for one author, won’t necessarily work for another. They key is knowing your audience and catering to that demographic. Sometimes that means going exclusive. Others times, like me, you will learn that casting a wide net is the only way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Melanie. You are right of course, that there are so many factors involved. I’ve tried the exclusive idea for long enough now to see how and where it works for me. The wide net is the way to go for this experiment. 🙂
      By the end of this year I’ll have completed two years of giving away a title for a weekend every month. When I’ve established the state of play by running two channels I might give up on the freebies.


    1. Hello and thank you for this, Brenda. I remember checking out D2D at some point in the past and for some reason I didn’t go with it, but I’ll check it out again. 🙂


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