Kindle, or Kobo?

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

Why?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Amazon Bitch – Part 1 of 2

Yes, I’m coming out as an Amazon Bitch.

Ten Days in Panama - the cover 2904

Apart from reading conventional books, as a Kindle user it was logical for me to self-publish on Amazon when I eventually took the plunge.

I published Ten Days in Panama in November 2012, happy to leave it and get on with other projects. Sales were occasional and single figures inside any given month.

I published Beyond The Law in October 2013 and it made sales quite fast, comparatively speaking. It also reached double figures in one month before I made any effort to ‘promote’ it on social media. Beyond The Law - the cover 2904

In both cases I enrolled in the KDP Select (KDPS), and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). I figured that a little bit of extra publicity would be good, even if it meant that some folk might borrow my hard work, instead of buying it.

My sales increased a little – for three reasons.
1.  I had more than one book on the system. The more titles you have out there, the better.
2.  I was making an occasional sale to far off lands like Japan and India, and I saw my books being sold, and occasionally borrowed.
3.  I increased my social platform, which in my case meant going on Twitter and Facebook more often than twice per month – and I joined a couple of Facebook groups.

I tend to work on more than one project on an ongoing basis, so May and June of 2014 saw publication of my two short story anthologies, which were rapidly followed by my third novel, Amsterdam Calling in July 2014. I didn’t enrol any of these on the KDPS or KOLL schemes.
Amsterdam Calling - the cover 260714

In July 2014, I allowed my 90 days to expire on my first two novels, so I was free to publish elsewhere. I published all of my work on Kobo and also on Smashwords. During 2013 – 2014 I published my five-book series of poetry anthologies and they increased my profile.

Bang up to date and by mid-October 2014, I had not sold a single copy of anything on Kobo. The books sold on Smashwords only just made it to double figures. Neither of those sites has worked for me. Over the same period I’ve watched sales of my novels increase steadily on Amazon, but the reasons I will relate in the second part of this tale.

With effect from 21st October 2014, I have unpublished from both Kobo and Smashwords. As soon as I had confirmation, I went to my Amazon bookshelf and enrolled my full collection on both KDPS and KOLL.
In the next post I’ll talk about how to increase sales, in my humble opinion.
Thank you for reading and any comments.

See you at the weekend for Part 2.