Kobo versus Kindle Scratch and Sniff…

All right – so going by the title of this blog I expect that you are hoping to have some heavily-researched uber-technical exploration of the benefits and shortcomings of Kindle versus Kobo.

Sorry, that’s some other guy’s blog.

All that I am going to talk about today are my own current experiences.

So far, I have made MORE money from Kobo than I have from Kindle.

I know that’s hard to believe. Everyone I tell that to sort of looks of me as if I am either telling a lie or else merely delusional.

Just this week I had a fellow writer at a pitch-the-producer workshop I was attending tell me that I just HAD to be doing something wrong – and I expect that I am. She told me to focus on getting four or five books into Kindle Select and watch the money roll in.

Well – this month I did have ONE book in the Kindle Select program and it did raise my Kindle sales to a high enough degree that I actually thought that this month was going to be the exception. I actually thought that this month I would make MORE on Kindle than I did on Kobo.

However, two of my books were part of a Kobo thirty percent off promotion.

Once that promotion kicked off my Kobo sales climbed through the roof. I made more this month than I had in any month of indie writing.

I made almost three hundred dollars this month on Kobo and about forty dollars on Kindle.

I know that a lot of you folks might consider that poor wages – but in 2013 my record month was about one hundred dollars. I have been aiming to hit the three hundred dollar a month mark this year and now I have done it. I figure my next step will be to get to the point where I am making three hundred a month – EVERY MONTH.

That won’t be easy. Kobo WON’T have a promotion that I fit in every month. That would be convenient – but life doesn’t work that way.

So what do I figure I need to do?

I need a few more e-books out there on the market – for starters. I have thirty independently-published e-books available on Kobo and about the same on Kindle. That’s a goodly number to start with – but I am pretty sure a few more would help in a big kind of way.

They can’t be just any sort of a book. They need a good story and a good cover and they need to be a good size. My top selling e-books are ALL full-sized novels and I need to keep building on that.

I need to generate a few more reviews as well. Kindle and Kobo alike – to help encourage prospective customers to buy my e-books and also to qualify for certain book promotions such as ENT and BOOKBUB.

I also need to promote my work a little more efficiently. I had some very good luck this year with some of the smaller promotional tweeting services – but I really want to try to get one of my upcoming novel releases available through BOOKBUB.

And lastly, I need to break that Kindle wall that somehow seems to be holding me back.

Let me be clear about this. I am STILL a staunch Kobo advocate – but if I want to tap into that big fat US marketplace I have got to somehow figure out what I am doing wrong on Kindle.

If any of you folks have any ideas I am more than willing to listen. Right now I have come to the point of believing that my Kindle e-books all smell funny.

Do me a favor and take a whiff and see if either of these books smell any different to you.

This is the Kobo version. It's currently ranked #15 in Kobo's horror section.

This is the Kobo version. It’s currently ranked #15 in Kobo’s horror section.

This is the KINDLE version. Give it a sniff and see if it smells any different than the KOBO edition.

This is the KINDLE version. Give it a sniff and see if it smells any different than the KOBO edition.

While you are sniffing your computer screen I am going to keep my fingers crossed that no one walks into your writing office and catches you at it.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


4 responses to “Kobo versus Kindle Scratch and Sniff…

  1. I’ve never been able to sell anything on Kobo, I’ve had 3 free downloads but that’s it. Looking at them the only difference I see is that the Kobo version mentions that it’s all 3 stories. Maybe your blurb on Amazon should mention that? Maybe people like buying something with the word Omnibus in it?


  2. Good guess – but there is a long story attached to why the covers are different, even though the contents are the same.

    And you are right – everyone I talk to has the same story of way more Kindle sales versus Kobo. Not sure what I am doing right – or wrong.


  3. I’m also a Canadian writer and I too do far more business on Kobo than I do on Kindle, so I can relate to this post. I also do better on iTunes than I do on Amazon. I think I’m at about 5 copies on Kobo for every 1 on Amazon (Aple is 3-1). Even after Amazon bought up goodreads and stripped Kobo of its reviews, my sales were higher I don’t seem to know why either, but I’m not complaining. I thought it might have something to do with content – my stories take place in Canada, but they sell pretty well in other foreign markets on Kobo and iTunes, just not on Amazon.

    And it’s not just sales in Canada – Kobo and Apple outsells Amazon internationally for me as well. About the only place I sell outside of North America is the UK, on Amazon, but with the other two I’m selling decently across Europe and even occasionally in Asia. Further, because I don’t have some silly sales cap on Kobo like Amazon has for each of its international markets, I actually see the money regularly. Amazon sat on a lot of foreign currency until I wrote them a nasty letter and complained. Now they grudgingly pay out the foreign markets when I hit $10 US. Not bad, but they are still sitting on some Yen and pesos and some other currencies because I haven’t reached their payout quota for a couple foreign markets.

    It’s a great business model for Amazon, because they don’t pay out very well for foreign authors, I’d be willing to bet that they sit on millions of dollars of author royalties because of those caps. I bet some authors write a book and don’t see a penny for close to a year (or longer). Meanwhile, Amazon sits and collects interest on those royalties and keeps selling that poor SOB’s 99 cent books.


    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Jamie.

      The way I figure it, both Kobo AND Kindle need to make some changes. I’d particularly appreciate it if they’d change their priorities from “making a profit” to “making Steve Vernon a profit” – but you hope in one hand and pee in the other and you see which one fills up quicker.

      When I first started with Kobo they had a $100 sales cap. They changed that and I am grateful.

      I caught a look at your Zombie Night in Canada. Looks like a pretty good yarn. Hope your sales figures are living up to that promise. You get a chance you might want to take a look and see how I tackled a similar story in my SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME – A TALE OF HOCKEY AND VAMPIRES. It’s available in Kobo as well as Kindle format.

      In the meantime, keep your stick on the ice.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s