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Ebook Publishing On Kobo With Mark Lefebvre

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Amazon is not the only game in town when it comes to ebook publishing. Yes, they may be the dominant partner in the US and the UK, but in global markets, ebook retailer Kobo is doing some brilliant things. In today’s interview, we get into what Kobo can offer you as an author in this interview with Mark Lefebvre, Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations at Kobo.com.
We discuss Kobo Writing Life and what Kobo can offer globally as well as how digital is interfacing with print with the Espresso Book Machine

Mark started writing when he was 13 and still writes horror/ twilight zone fiction under the name Mark Leslie. He moved into bookselling as he’s passionate about books and publishing. He is traditionally published but also self-publishes his short story collections.

What is Kobo and how does it fit into the publishing ecosystem?

Kobo is an ebook seller, original spun off Canada’s largest print retailer, so it has a large use base in Canada. Three years ago the focus was short reads. Read freely is the philosophy. There’s a free app for all platforms and no DRM (digital rights management which locks down ebooks to a retailer). It uses ePub standard so you can read the books on any device that allows ePub.

Kobo was bought by Japanese based company Rakuten in early 2012 which gives Kobo an opportunity to expand even more globally. Kobo partners with retailers locally — WHSmith (a high street store), Chapters Indigo in Canada, Borders in the US and now the independent bookstores with the American Publishing Association. We talk about the global reach and ‘kobo speed’ as Kobo is available in over 200 countries. On the wall at Kobo, “if it seems like things are in control, you aren’t going fast enough” (Mario Andretti)

Everyone does want to make sure there’s more than one game in town. One overwhelmingly powerful company dominating the market is a bad idea. No one company should have that kind of power. There’s got to be a choice as a reader and an author.

For self-publishers — Kobo Writing Life

Kobo Writing Life is now available for self-publishers. The best thing for me personally is getting paid in my own currency, GBP, electronically to my bank account. Whereas my Amazon USD income still comes by monthly checks which sometimes get lost.

The books that sell the best on Kobo are fiction — romance/erotica, thrillers, mysteries, sci-fi. But there’s also been an upsurge in short reads — or long-form articles e.g. a long journalism piece.

You used to have to go through Smashwords as an author to get to Kobo so it was an indirect process of publishing, but now it is direct so you can make price changes quickly with no significant wait, as per the Amazon KDP platform.

Selling more books on Kobo. Firstly, make sure there’s a link from your website. Many authors just list Amazon. Kobo wants to be a business partner with you as a publisher, a business-person. The Kobo dashboard contains information on where you sell in each market including a map of the world. Kobo is constantly working on their own search algorithm and refining it, as well as merchandising opportunities and lists. Ongoing, Kobo will be adding more possibilities to authors — they are constantly developing so watch this space!

espresso book machinePrinting with the Espresso Book Machine

Ebooks are exciting, but print on demand technologies continue to advance. The Espresso Book Machine is a large printer attached to a binder that prints a book in the time it takes to make an espresso. They do have self-publishing options now — very cool! It’s the meeting point between print and digital, and they are partnering with companies like Xerox, LightningSource, Google and ABA in order to expand.


Honor-Amelia Dawson says:

G'day Joanna, hello to Mark Again ! This is a remark relating to the newer broadcast but I think is suitable for anyone reviewing these videos. Kobo is obviously forward looking and giving when it comes to independent authors. This will transform into something superior by 2020.

William Torgerson says:

Like to hear about why Mark writes under a different name.  Hmmm.

Mary Foess says:

Thanks, Mr. Le Fefebvre, for all your help a couple of years ago. I have revised my story to make it even better. THanks for putting up with me and all my questions….I live in the Thumb Region of Michigan, your friendly 'neighbor, who lives CLOSER to CANADA than any other place in the United States…just a hop over the Blue Water Bridge. I'm now published with an e-Book version, as well as the hard copy titled MY ARMENIAN GENESIS: THE LONE SURVIVORS. Look it up! You'll love my new cover.

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