Over six years, the author, Mark Leslie Levebvre built Kobo Writing Life from the ground up. Killing it on Kobo is a must-read for any independent publisher. Mark Leslie Levebvre details the ins-and-outs of the Rakuten Kobo business, it’s culture and its reach into the world of books. It’s written in a clear conversational tone that makes it fascinating and easy to read.
I highly recommend it, and gave it a 5-star rating on Amazon.com, Bookbub and Goodreads.
My Interview with Christine Munroe at Kobo
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Christine Munroe, the director of Kobo Writing Life at Rakuten Kobo chatted with me on my podcast Blood, Sweat, and Words. You can hear her full interview here.
I took eight pages of notes, but here are the highlights I think might interest you.
- Over six years, the author, Mark Leslie Levebvre built Kobo Writing Life from the ground up and recently moved on to work at Draft 2 Digital
- the name Kobo is an anagram for the word book.
- Kobo was born in Canada out of the country’s largest book retailer, Indigo Books and Music, which is similar to Barnes and Noble in the U.S.
- in 2012 the Japanese company Rakuten took over, changing it from a start-up to a major company in its own right with a vastly larger reach
- Kobo is the number one digital bookseller in France, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. It has a strong foothold in Canada
- differs from Amazon in two important ways: 1. It sells only books. 2. It works on a collaborative business model. Rather than trying to dominate the book market in countries it seeks to work with the brick and mortar stores
- “…if you are looking to expand your swales to other countries and to gain a readership in other global territories, and, perhaps most importantly, not be dependent upon a single retailer for the majority of your writing income (also known as ‘publishing wide’) leveraging Kobo should be among the strategies you employ.”
- three huge advantages: Kobo Plus (a reader subscription service), Overdrive (a library connection) and their Promotion Tab
- on Kobo every pre-order sale has twice the effect on ranking as a regular sale. There are ways to optimize your pre-orders
- the Kobo team prides itself in its culture of collaboration. They go out of their way to help authors get their books to readers. They respond to all help inquiries quickly and thoroughly.
- They link to Findaway Voices for audio
- They have their own weekly podcast called Kobo Life.