27 November 2020
Why should Kobo be part of your self-publishing distribution strategy?
From Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf to Stephen King and EL James, self-publishing has a long legacy of success and, thanks to modern technology, is now more accessible than ever before. Digital publishing has allowed authors to bypass the gatekeepers of the book industry, forge their own paths to publishing success, and distribute to an ever-growing audience of readers all over the world. So why should Kobo be part of any savvy indie author’s distribution strategy?
At Rakuten Kobo, one in every four English-language books sold is independently published – more titles than any single publisher. Kobo is headquartered in Canada, with a loyal following of die-hard Canadian Kobo aficionados. However, they also have a strong global presence because they work with retail partners all over the world. They understand that while they may not know how to sell books in France, a French bookseller already does – so why not work with them and benefit from their expertise? They’ve partnered with FNAC in France, Booktopia in Australia, Mondadori in Italy, and many other local digital retailers, so that readers can find Kobo eBooks and audiobooks in their local digital bookshop.
In the Netherlands, for example, they know they have a customer base with a huge appetite for romance and thrillers that will devour books in English as readily as Dutch. This is one of the reasons why they chose the Netherlands and Belgium to launch an all-you-can-read book subscription service, Kobo Plus, (which is now also available in Canada!) Authors can choose to opt their eBooks into the subscription catalogue (in addition to the a la carte model), and make their books available to a new audience – voracious binge readers who love nothing more than discovering an unfamiliar author with an extensive back catalogue.
One of the main drivers for authors to take the indie route is retaining control. Indie authors own their content and rights, and can decide exactly how, when, and where to sell their books. With multiple retail channels available, it's worth getting to know each platform, how to sell to their audience, and the opportunities they offer to authors. Customer behavior will vary, and retailers will also present unique opportunities, such as Kobo’s promotions tab, which allows authors to apply for merchandising opportunities within their dashboard.
Kobo was created by booklovers, for booklovers, and readers remain at the heart of everything they do. As readers, they know that we want options when buying books. We don’t want to be tied to a single retailer, or a single format, and we still love our local library. Our digital libraries are a complement to our heaving bookshelves. That's why they never, ever ask authors to publish exclusively with them, and strongly encourage authors to make their books widely available to reach as many readers as possible. They make it easy for authors to distribute to libraries, to publish translations, and to upload audiobooks directly to the Kobo store, ensuring that it’s easy for readers to find your books, wherever they are.