All About Kobo

During the last couple of months, Kobo has been the rising star of ebook publishers. I purchased my very first ebook via Kobo and have been quietly tracking its progress.

Raves

1. Ebook Readers look clean and are eye-candy.
Whether web-based or on a mobile device, Kobo’s GUI (Graphic User Interface) is really well thought of. It’s no-frills design allows easy navigation and customization.


2. Discount Coupons

You can find so many discount codes in the web ranging from 5% to as high as 50%.

3. Writing Life
Kobo’s platform for independent authors has one of the best deals. Compared to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, royalty rates are higher and there are no regional taxes (e.g. additional $2.00 when buying from Asia). The Writing Life interface is nice! It shows all the information you need in one glance. I’d love to show more screenshots but then you’d see sales figures and stuff I’d rather keep. 🙂

Rants

1. Search
This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Sometimes a book will show up in Google and lead directly to their site but using the search box within Kobo’s site itself doesn’t show the book you’re looking for even if it’s listed. Whatever system they’re using, it has one of the worst search algorithms I’ve encountered (see pics below). Even clicking on the suggested searches leads to no results! This makes me wonder how people actually search for topics they like or authors they’re fans of.

*A week after writing this review, I discovered that this search glitch only happens when I use a Mac. No problems using a Windows OS.

2. Ebook Format
Similar to how html has evolved in web creation, ebook formats have not been perfected yet. It may look great on one reader and look horrible in another. I’ve experienced format errors on Kobo’s web reader but they weren’t anything major. Usually the first paragraph of a chapter (which I don’t indent) displays a different font from the rest of the text.

*I’m checking out Kobo’s latest desktop app while writing this and they may seem to have fixed the problem. Will update this blog soon.

3. Selection
That old book you want may not be available in Kobo’s catalog just yet. For now they have a limited, but growing, selection.

I’m excited how this platform will continue to evolve and goes head to head with other publishing/aggregator giants. The nice thing about it is—unlike Amazon, Apple and Sony—Kobo is a publishing outfit and nothing else.

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