WTF? Kobo Doesn’t Automatically Update

One of the joys of being a publisher ( is dealing with authors.

The new Kobo Aura HD, praised by WIRED magazine.

The new Kobo Aura HD, praised by WIRED magazine.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love authors.  But sometimes I forget that authors aren’t dealing with publishing headaches and production 24/7.

Recently I issued a couple of titles in both eBook and POD.  Before releasing the eBook, I sent the file off to the author to proofread.  I got back few or no corrections.  Great! But then I turned out a POD proof of each and sent them to the author, mostly to say Hey, doesn’t this look great?!  And I got back an email that he would begin proofing immediately.  Of course, this should already have been proofed, since the POD used the same file as the eBook.

And I got back corrections.  In one case, a term had been searched-and-replaced and somehow appeared twice in every instance, e.g., “blueblue” instead of “blue.”

So we fixed it.  No biggie, right?  After all, the eBooksellers all automatically update you with the latest version, right?  Well, um, no.

I just had a long chat with a lovely woman at Kobo, who informed me that Kobo does not automatically update its customers’ eReaders with the revised and updated content.  And this from a company that wants to give Amazon a run for its money?

The eReaders Kobo sells are beautiful.  And I applaud their support of indie booksellers when Google dropped them all.  But c’mon!  Is is really that hard for them to set it up so that a user syncing his eReader with the Kobo store gets the updated/corrected version of a book?

I’m constantly confounded by the attitude that Amazon exhibits as a company and as a bookseller.  They are arrogant and merciless and engage in what I consider predatory practices, but they are winning and not just because they play hardball.

  1. Amazon’s affiliate program is easy to enter and the tools they provide are so much better than those provided to B&N and Kobo affliates
  2. Amazon automatically updates users’ Kindles with the latest version of the book’s file.
  3. Amazon has replaced my father’s Kindle a stunning five or six times at no additional cost.  Can you imagine Apple doing that?

So even though Wired magazine rates the Kobo reader very highly and even though its reader is essentially a full Android tablet and not a proprietary sales channel (which is how I see the Fire), Kobo still has a long way to go to really provide competition to Amazon.

I hope they get there . . . soon.


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