Unfortunately, I don't know how many ereaders are going to be sold. Kobo bungled the announcement and I'm not sure how many buyers will successfully find a participating indie store to visit - not if they have to rely on Kobo, that is.
Let me explain. In addition to posting the press release Kobo also added a new search page to their site. You can use it to search for indie booksellers who have signed up with the ABA to sell Kobo ereaders.
Pretty nifty, huh? It's a pity it does not work.
I've spent a few minutes this evening double checking the search results for my area and I encountered several errors. Just looking at the results for DC and VA, I have found a couple bookstores which should not have been added to this list because they do not sell Kobo ereaders. I called one and confirmed the error (now that was a confused bookseller). What's even worse is that Kobo's search results are missing several booksellers which the ABA says are selling Kobo's ereaders (here).
Here's an example of the error. Note that the 3rd name on the list does not sell Kobo ereaders; I called and asked.
So what we have here is a search page which is going to send potential customers to the wrong location while neglecting to show all the valid data. Isn't that just a great way to kick off a new sales push and show how much Kobo values their indie partners?
Why doesn't Kobo just switch to using Apple Maps to direct customers to the indie booksellers? I don't see how that could do any worse.
If you've been reading this blog for the past few months then you probably know that I've devoted some time to bashing Kobo. Starting with the screwed up mess that was the Kobo Touch launch in Japan and continuing on to the price-gouging, the user license issue, the bungled US launch of the Kobo Glo, and the general craziness involving Kobo not selling their own hardware on their own website, I've chronicled misstep after misstep.
I've written so many posts on this that I'd bet that some readers think I have it in for Kobo. Well, they're right, just not for the reason you think. I dislike Kobo because they like to talk big but they keep screwing up. Today is just one more example.
It boggles my mind that I am the only one who is reporting on this stuff, but at least I can reassure myself with the thought that when Kobo finally drives itself out of business, everyone looks for an explanation will end up here.
image by nigejones