Many do not seem to agree with that premise.
When I covered the story, I pointed out that his argument was similar to one which I had raised in June 2014 and had been quickly debunked, and left it at that. Other pundits, including indie authors and publishers, put more thought into it and came up with some rather interesting observations.
Focusing on the point that Kobo was one of Amazon’s competitors, many noted that it wasn’t really much of a competitor. Several authors, including Juli Monroe of Teleread, shared statistics on just how few ebooks they’ve sold through Kobo. Others were more pointed in saying that they thought Tamblyn’s time would be better spent making Kobo into a more attractive alternative:
I really wish Mr. Tamblyn would spend more time fixing the problems at Kobo (crappy search engine, infamous customer service, too high prices, missing downloadable ePubs, lack of adult filter which resulted in the ridiculous Kobogeddon) and less time doing stuff like this.
Passive Guy also weighed in with a similar response when he covered the manifesto on Friday:
So, Kobo, compete! Do a better job of selling books and indie authors will beat a path to your door. Indie authors are the ultimate fast, flexible entrepreneurs. They can change strategies and sales channels on a dime. No meetings with vice-presidents necessary.
Build a better website. Amazon is about 5000% better than you are at helping readers discover books. It’s time to up your game. If you can figure out how to really compete, indie authors will come.
Later in the comment section of that post, Bob Mayer questions whether Kobo would behave differently if they had a similarly large market share.
All valid points– except how is Kobo any different if they had such a large market share?
Duh. Seriously, when someone from Kobo or Smashwords or whatever platform rants about Amazon it’s kind of amusing, no matter how valid their points.
He has a good point. Kobo is strongest in Canada, and as we all know for the past 6 months Kobo has been actively fighting to prevent the end of agency ebook pricing. Kobo is working to forestall actual price competition in that ebook market.
All in all, Tamblyn’s missive is probably not having the effect he would like. Rather than change the minds of indie authors, it has focused their attention on Kobo’s failings and emphasized in the minds of many that, should worst come to worst, Kobo won’t be the company to offer a viable alternative to Amazon.