Kobo has found a new way to encourage customer loyalty in a market where six major US publishers are restricting price discounting.
The ebook retailer is launching a loyalty program today called Super Points (because apparently simply calling it "Points" wasn't Exciting enough). Modeled on the mileage reward programs offered by many airlines, Kobo Super Points rewards Kobo customers for buying ebooks and digital magazines.
The program is currently available in Canada, United States, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, and comes in two tiers. On the free tier Kobo customers earn 100 points for every $10 spent in the Kobo Store, or they could sign up for the $10 a year Kobo Super Points VIP Membership and earn points twice as fast. Other VIP benefits include 10% some titles, getting an additional 10% off select Kobo promotions, and receiving one free ebook of their choosing every year.
Once a customer has collected 2,400 points, they can redeem the points and purchase additional ebooks from Kobo. Many
All the ebooks are now listed with two prices, with the "points" price about five or six times higher than the cash price.
Edit: Agency-priced ebooks will earn Super Points but they can't be bought with them.
An ebook which sells for $8.69, for example, can be had for 4,800 points.
In other words, you can get that ebook for free if you spend $480 in the Kobo Store (less if you have a VIP membership).
As someone who has spent less than $250 at Kobo in the entire six years it has been open, I find this offer less than appealing, but I will still keep an eye on the program.
Edit: A reader has pointed out that I missed a couple of the VIP benefits (see above) which make the paid membership far more appealing.
Kobo will periodically offer special sales where you can buy ebooks and earn extra points; according to the announcement, they're going to call it "Kobo’s Bonus Days". Amazon uses that trick every so often in the Amazon Appstore, and I expect that Kobo will adopt it for the same reason: to get new customers to come in and buy something.
Sure, a rewards program exists to reward customer loyalty, but it can also be used to draw in fresh blood. And given how underwhelming the Kobo Super Points program is at launch, I do hope that Kobo plan s to do more with it.
image by GotCredit