Kobo Promises to Fix eBook Download Issue

kobo itunes ios logoKobo has officially commented today on the 4 plus year old issue of Kobo customers not being able to download their purchases.According to Kobo CTO Trevor Hunter, a fix is in the works:

Kobo’s mandate of allowing people to read anytime, anywhere, on any platform remains unchanged. We are aware of the issue where a small percentage of books are not able to be backed up, and are working quickly to resolve it. We are currently working on other enhancements that will further embrace our open platform concept, which will give customers ever more options as it relates to reading and the backing up of ePub files.

11899012923_559a818240[1]Considering that this has been an issue for the entire 4 plus years I have been a Kobo customer, I am pleased to see that Kobo is finally addressing it.

Let's hope they come up with a permanent solution, because over the past few months there have been an increasing number of complaints about this problem. And to make matters worse, Kobo CS has described this issue not as a problem but as a feature. According to second hand reports from several sources, the reason people cannot download the ebooks is that they are Epub3 format. (This issue existed long before Epub3, so that is probably nonsense.)

There has been no pattern to the ebooks that are afflicted, with both DRMed ebooks and even DRM-free titles from Tor Books blocked from being downloaded at Kobo but still readily downloadable at other ebookstores.

There have in fact been so many complaints that yesterday I was inspired to post a solution in the form of a calibre plugin which stripped the DRM from your Kobo purchases, converted them to standard Epub, and loaded them into your calibre library.

Isn't it a shame that DRM made it necessary to jump throw hoops just so we could read the ebooks in the app we prefer?

image  by clarle

About Nate Hoffelder (11579 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

19 Comments on Kobo Promises to Fix eBook Download Issue

  1. There is one noticeable pattern that I have seen. Tor is now releasing their new ePub in ePub 3 and Kobo is seeing this and converting them to kepub. Just take a look at the books [i]Unlocked[/i] and [i]Lock In[/i]. Both by Tor and both ePub 3. They have been converted to kepub. I’ve also checked out some samples of two other recently published Tor eBooks and they too are kepub (no Adobe ePub DRM mentioned next to these sampmles).

  2. Strictly speaking, since the Scalzi books were not DRMed, you did not need to strip the DRM. Originally obok would only show kepubs that were DRMed, the lastest version will show all kepubs and simply rename the non-DRMed files to a human readable name to make it easier to decide which ebooks you wanted to work with.

  3. Yeah seems to me there is an ePub3 pattern but it is one pattern among others, as stated by JSWolf.

    As far as I know—and it has been confirmed by others—, ePub3 depends on kepub as it triggers the ePub3 engine on Kobo devices. Let’s imagine that for some reason, they know the ePub 3 files they have to manage are problematic and don’t want to provide with the file because they can have problems—read on ePub2 engine on Kobo devices and bugs elsewhere. That would make extra customer service.

    But that’s not I think the most important point as regards ePub3.

    Did Adobe support ePub3 with DRM? My educated guess is that now that Content server is ePub3 compatible, it makes the fix a lot easier to Kobo.

    What if they decided to manage ePub3 files as a “batch”, no matter they had DRM or not? That would mean all ePub3 files would be converted to kepub and not available as ePub because people would not be able to read the DRMed files. A lot of extra customer service once again. Simply would have Kobo chosen to not treat DRM-free ePub3 files as an exception.

    And there is more: how many publishers actually make kepub only files? I mean, they are providing Amazon with an ePub file, something which definitely compelled Big AZ to develop better support for ePub in its own tools.

    My belief is that this DL problem popped up because of ePub3, even if it has already been here because of kepub only files.

    Dear Author said you could DL ePub3 files but I’m still waiting for a confirmation. ATM, no one has been able to confirm the DL of an ePub3 file—AFAIK. Now, all files I know of to be ePub3 files can’t be downloaded as ePub, they are only available as kepub, which could be a coincidence but that makes a lot of files.

    So I’m possibly wrong but I would not say this ePub3 stuff is nonsense, I’d rather call it an “additional layer of complexity”, or ALoC.

    • These ePub 3 are not problematic at all when used with ADE. They do not use any features specific to ePub 3 that would not work in an ePub 2 renderer.

      As for the DRM, it’s a moot point as Tor has no DRM. But if you get any of these ePub 3 from Overdrive, you get them with standard Adept time limited DRM. ADE 2 can handle these ePub 3 (with or without DRM) no problem at all.

      It doesn’t matter about the DRM. Kobo has taken over from Sony and a lot of people if they buy one of these kepub eBooks, they will have trouble doing anything with them. It is not that easy to go from kepub to getting the eBook on a Sony Reader and functional so it can properly be read.

    • You can download Tor books in ePub at other etailers (eg ebooks.com). Commenters here have said new Tor books are uploaded in epub3. The problem isn’t epub3, it’s what *Kobo* does with epub3. As far as I know, epub3 books can be downloaded from other sites without a problem.

  4. Kobo better keep their remaining customers happy after alienating all the users that now can’t use their desktop application. Another nail in the coffin.

  5. Quote: “Considering that this has been an issue for the entire 4 plus years I have been a Kobo customer, I am pleased to see that Kobo is finally addressing it.”

    Yes, nothing seems to motivate corporate executives like bad press. They’ll put up with all sorts of failings but not that.

  6. Ready to give up on Kobo // 29 September, 2014 at 8:40 pm // Reply

    Starting in July I have not been able to download more and more books. The first time I reported it Kobo “help” said they credited my credit card – which was not true. It’s very frustrating because they keep asking me what books – surely they can see what books do not have a download option. The other frustrating aspect is not being able to communicate with anyone by text or phone. I wouldn’t be surprised if this situation doesn’t go down in history as one of the worst ways to treat good customers. -Ready to give up on Kobo

  7. I wanted to just say we turned our kobo on and it stated update needed when the update was installed it lost everything and locked the ereader up I payed a lot of money for this for my wife at Christmas and I have had no luck with fixing it and I am pissed and going to advise everybody I can not to buy one

  8. I also will advise people not to buy KOBO.
    Having bought one at Christmas I could have read 5 paperbacks in the time I have wasted trying to download books

  9. can l obtain replacement parts i.e. navigation tab rubber covering, anywhere?

  10. Yup … kobo has decided for whatever reason to continue to have us do updates that then wipe out everything in the libraries. We’ve now changed to regular tablets and manage to download anything we want when and where we want without any hassles. See ya Kobo .. and oh yeah, if you want a customer referral please let me know … I’d be happy to talk to prospective customers!!!

  11. Well it looks like KOBO has reactivated the problem with downloading books to ADE. Now they simply just return you to the home page. This company really needs to get it’s act together. Either stop tinkering or give your clients the choice to reject the updates.

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