Kobo's latest effort in "me-to"ism has just gone live. First they added an Android tablet (to match B&N and Amazon), then a rich corporate sugar-daddy (Rakuten), and now Kobo has their very own self-pub platform.
Kobo Writing Life is out of beta and registration is now open to everyone, and if you have a customer account at Kobo you'll need to update your info so you can be listed as a publisher. Once you do you'll be able to upload Epub, MSWord, Open Office, or Kindle files and have KWL convert them to an Epub ebook for Kobo (and their partners in the UK, France, Australia, and Japan) to sell in their ebookstore.
On a sidenote, did you notice the formats that Kobo will accept? The Kindle file is a clear sign that Kobo is trying to play catch up to Amazon, but do you suppose the MSWord file is intended to siphon authors away from Smashwords? I wonder how good of a job KWL will do with a Smashwords compliant MSWord file (has anyone checked)?
Once you've uploaded the file, it will be automatically converted to Epub and it will be available for the author to download and, if they want, sell elsewhere. I haven't had a chance to play with Kobo's conversion platform yet;can anyone report on how well it works?
I'm betting that building the Epub by hand will provide a better result; it usually does. The next time I find an automated converter which can match the skill of a pro will be the first.
Kobo's also posted a video today about KWL:
Kobo has been working on this platform since last fall, and they launched KWL at BEA 2012 about a month back. Early buzz says it's interesting, but I haven't encountered many authors who were all that enthusiastic for the idea. Do you plan to use it?