Kobo PC App is Holding My eBooks Hostage

Kobo rolled out an update today for their PC app and for the Kobo Touch and I’m really not happy about how they decided to handle it. Boot up the app and you’ll see this:

That update notice won’t go away and cannot be skipped. If you click the update button and then select cancel, Kobo will close the app.

Apparently Kobo won’t give me permission to read my ebooks unless I agree to their demand. Never mind that I bought a number of the ebooks in that collection – they all belong to Kobo. I’m merely using them on Kobo’s sufferance.

See, this is exactly the reason why I remove DRM. I get to control the content I bought – not anyone else.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Eric10 July, 2012

    Go up to kobobooks.com, log in, go to your library, and download your books as Adobe DRM’d epubs, which I’m sure you know how to strip. I mentally treat the Kobo app as a cloud-based app, even if it does download everything in my library locally.

    1. Nate Hoffelder10 July, 2012

      I already do that.

  2. Mizzbee10 July, 2012

    Hey guys, how do you stripe DRM books? I must have missed that tip. Thank you in advance. I use Calibre to change formats, but stripping DRM is not something I have done.

  3. Mizzbee10 July, 2012

    OOPS! I mean “Strip”

    1. Richard Herley11 July, 2012

      “Stripe” is good! Marking them with your own brand, so to speak.

  4. Bob10 July, 2012

    The DRM epubs from kobo still work without downloading the update. You just need to open them with ADE.

  5. the rodent10 July, 2012

    Exactly! A nice example of how to annoy users. Illustrates why I never use the Kobo app, and why I stopped updating my Kobo reader just before they added the advertisements to the home screen. 🙂

    1. Eric10 July, 2012

      Looks like you can re-update your Kobo reader. Today’s update apparently does the following (quote taken from the Kobo blog – I haven’t done the update yet):

      “The second is that we’ve redesigned the home screen on your Kobo Touch moving the Recommended Reads section to the Discover tab to help you manage your eReading experience.”

  6. Sturmund Drang10 July, 2012

    Not to get into a p***ing match but I can do you one better. I bought my first android device, a Kindle Fire, from a friend who needed money and wouldn’t accept help any other way. I never registered the Fire but instead sideloaded my Gutenberg books. Everything worked fine for a couple of days until the Kindle decided it wouldn’t let me read my books without registering (hardware or software registration, I do not remember). I tried many “fixes” short of wiping the device back to virgin state with no luck. My hardware, my books. That’s reason one of three why the Fire is in the forgotten hardware drawer.

  7. Common Sense10 July, 2012

    I don’t bother with all those apps, I just strip the DRM with Calibre and read on my Kindle. I do the same thing to transfer books between one Amazon account and another. My daughter and I have our own accounts plus we have one family account that all the Kindle Fires use. We consider it the “boy” account since that’s where I put books the men in the family would like.

    Although most of the books on that account are free, I sometimes buy a full-priced book for my son(he’s in AF tech school). Since I don’t like reading on my Fire, I just strip the DRM and load it on my K3. It’s also a good way to do a real backup that’s device independent.

  8. Laura10 July, 2012

    I never use the Kobo apps on any device since they started all that annoying “social reading” junk. I just use ADE to download my Kobo ebooks.

  9. DavidW11 July, 2012

    The Kindle PC app did the same thing to me recently. It just stopped working and I could not access my ebooks until I installed the latest version.

    1. Nate Hoffelder11 July, 2012

      I just got a similar reminder, but it did let me use the Kindle app. I wasn’t forced to update.

  10. Rick20 October, 2012

    What I hate, is my original Kobo now says the content is locked and I should click the “Shop” and “Update Library” buttons, but the Kobo Desktop app v. 3 doesn’t have those buttons! Grr. My wife is ticked.

  11. Ryan21 December, 2012

    I’m not sure I understand this Adobe DRM business. I have a Kobo Mini. I have ebooks previously downloaded from various sites and sources. Mostly torrents. Will I be able to read and access these books on my kobo? Is there a process I need to go through in order to add these books onto my kobo so that I can read them?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  12. joan macdonald27 March, 2014

    my kobo is locked cause i must have turned it off in the middel off a download,it won,t turn on or let me into e reader,help.please.

  13. Baghead Kelly10 May, 2014

    The constant updates suggest that there is some serious issues with their application. Dump Kopo’s pc app and get Calibre instead. It works seamlessly for me without the incessant updates which render Kobo’s app useless.

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