My further adventures in self-publishing…Kobo versus Kindle.

Over the last couple of days I priced FLASH VIRUS: EPISODE ONE as a perma-free release at the Kobo website.

I’m using “pusher logic”. Get the junkie hooked on your stuff with a freebie jolt and then position yourself on a strategic street corner and wait for their life savings to come trickling in.

I did it on the Kobo because Kobo makes it easy for a writer to place his work as a freebie.

As far as I can tell to be free on Kindle you need to be listed as part of their Amazon Select Program – which has lot of self-published writers – but in my opinion wasn’t for me. I did not want to only release my e-book in Kindle format. I wanted to get it out there where EVERYONE could find it.

So far that is a definite edge that Kobo has over the Kindle.

However, Kobo has a way to go yet. They need to improve their search mechanism. What they have got is clunky and highly inaccurate. It would also be nice if they had a better mechanism for displaying the number of free copies that a writer can give away. As far as I can tell, I’m going to be in the dark on this matter.

However, Kindle has a few edges over Kobo, as well.

Number one – Kindle sells. I’ve moved more books on Kindle than I have on Kobo.

Considerably more.

That’s a definite edge.

Reviews seem to be a little bit easier to find on the Kindle as well. Kobo is hooked up to Goodreads – which SHOULD theoretically work – but Goodreads is a little biased against e-books – which means it’s harder to get an e-book reviewed on Goodreads. Not impossible, just harder. Apparently, they are more inclined to review books that are released through Goodreads – but unfortunately I have heard that they aren’t currently accepting any new e-books. They’re glutted with submissions.

Kindle, on the other hand has netted me TWELVE reviews for Episode One and TWO reviews for Episode Two. It has also netted me a couple of dedicated followers who are eagerly awaiting the release of Episode Three.

I’m currently working through Smashwords to get FLASH VIRUS out on the Nook and what ever other formats are currently available. I’ve hit a glitch that just requires a bit of time for me to clean it up and I’ll keep you all posted as developments ensue.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

11 responses to “My further adventures in self-publishing…Kobo versus Kindle.

  1. I agree with you, Steve. I find Kindle very easy to use, books are up within 12 hours (often within a few hours), the process is only a few pages (not each section at a time), I can find information about sales easier and I get an author page. So far, I don’t have one on Kobo. Can we even get one? I haven’t taken the time to find that out. For some reason, they had my Pockets novel as erotica–and it’s far from that. Only romance. Why they made that change is not clear.

    These days, people (writers and readers) want ease, not spend 30 minutes figuring it out. So Kindle wins in that respect. I still have my books everywhere, but I find Kobo limiting.

    I have a free offering too. It’s on Kindle at 99 cents (because I can’t put it free), but I eventually they may mark it as free. I have sold copies of it, so it’s not too horrible. Readers are paying for the Kindle version whereas Kobo users are getting it for free.


    • I dunno – maybe it’s just what you use at first. My first release came out on Kobo – and I found it very simple to use their publishing mechanism. And they do make it easy for you to make your book free – so Kobo wins on that count.

      However, Kobo does need a better search mechanism, a more author-friendly promotion service, a whole lot more second party websites, and a better ranking system.

      Both companies have their good and bad points. I’m glad that Kobo is attempting to take on Kindle. Amazon needs some real competition to keep them on their toes.


  2. I’ve been on Kobo for a month now and have had zero sales. I hate how you can’t see how many free downloads you have and haven’t figured out a way to get noticed. Kobo definitely has some work to do. Some indies started up free Kobo sites so hopefully those will catch on and drive some business. You can make your first installment free on kindle, although it might take some time. Make sure you (and anyone else you know) click the “tell us about a lower price” option under the rankings. When the Amazon Gods decide you are fit for perma free it is a wonderful day for sure. I just reported it for you 🙂


    • Thank you Lauren. I’d love to see Episode One become permanently free on the Amazon site – but I did not wish to sign up for the Select program. I prefer to keep my options open. I do not know how much “price matching” Amazon is doing these days – but you never can tell.


  3. I don’t get it. Does Kobo only hook up to Goodreads reviews by their administrators? I left a review for one of your books on Goodreads but it won’t link to it from Kobo.


  4. Kobobooks does report then number of free downloads. At least I see a total reported (it isn’t broken out by which book if you have more than one). You can upload yourself to Nook, but you cannot price at free. I’ve asked them about doing so even as a promo and they won’t allow it. I’m not sure they will accept freebies from Smashwords any longer–you’ll have to check. I haven’t read through the latest in a while.

    I found Kobobooks and Nook and Kindle uploads to be pretty easy.

    OH–since the announcement that Amazon bought GR, Kobobooks is separating itself from GR–I believe. So I don’t think you’ll get any GR reviews anymore.


    • Hi Maria.

      Yes indeed, Kobo DOES report free downloads and GR reviews DON’T show up at your Kobo listing. This is a year-old blog entry of mine and I apologize for any inaccuracies. I am planning on writing a follow-up to this entry sometime in January.

      Of course – as you have probably figured out – you CAN break down the total of free downloads just by using the SALES BY BOOKS button. For example, just by looking up REVENANT on my Kobo Dashboard I can determine that 76 free copies of the first third of TATTERDEMON were downloaded by eager Kobo readers in the month of December 2013.

      I still sell considerably more e-books through Kobo than Kindle. A lot of that is because I haven’t promoted my Kindle offerings as well as Kobobooks have promoted my Kobo e-books. I am hoping to learn from this and in 2014 I intend to promote my works on Kobo AND Kindle a whole lot more effectively. I’ll keep all of my blog-followers up-to-date on my efforts and hopefully we can all learn a little as the year rolls onward.

      Lastly, I intend to eat a lot less junk over 2014 – just as soon as I finish this box of chocolate…


  5. I don’t believe you…about the junk eating!! :>)

    Oh, I just saw a re-tweet of this so I didn’t realize it was old. Right now I can’t see much on Kobobooks as the reporting has worked for a couple of days…but yeah, sounds about right on those counts. I sell best on Kindle, second best on B&N and third on Kobobooks. Kobobooks sometimes jumps wildly though…for no reason I know of. I hope you have a great New Year–despite the junk…


  6. I just dropped kdp select, not sure if I’m happy about it yet 😉
    Perhaps you know, but you can add your books to Goodreads so that it can be reviewed. I’ve gotten 13 reviews and 27 total ratings that way.



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