Writing communities like Wattpad, Write On, and Widbook represent concentrated sources of writing talent, and Kobo is looking to tap in. Earlier this month Widbook and Kobo announced a new partnership which will enable Widbook members to sell ebooks through Kobo.
According to Widbook's blog post, premium members can sell their ebooks through Kobo with only a few clicks. The member simply has to set the price, title, description, and category, enter an ISBN (it's not provided), and the ebook can be automatically uploaded to Kobo and sold through Kobobooks.com and Kobo's retail partners in around the globe.
Although I don't think this by itself is worth Widbook's $5 a month premium membership fee, it could prove a convenient option for Widbook members.
Let's just hope it's not too convenient.
I've been browsing Widbook today, and I noticed that a lot of the ebooks had basic formatting and editing errors. I mention that not as a criticism of the writers but as a critique of Widbook. The formatting errors in particular are a sign that Widbook isn't designed to produce good quality content as a default (other platforms, like Feedbooks, have pulled it off).
This tells me that authors would be wise to either engage an editor or give their work another pass before publishing it for the second time.
Founded in February 2013 and based in Brazil, Widbook boasts over 200,000 members, with the highest numbers coming from the US, Brazil, and India. The site offers a community where writers and readers can write, read, and critique stories as they are published, and according to PW it offers a special emphasis on collaboration - writers can publish one chapter at a time, or they can write an ebook in partnership with another user.
And now that those writers have finished the story, they can publish it via Kobo - which they could have done on their own, thus making me wonder whether this deal has any value at all.
It's a shame this deal isn't with Apple. Kobo has their own publishing portal, which any author or publisher can access, but iBooks is difficult to get into. You either need an Apple computer to upload an ebook or you'll need to have to go through distributor like Draft2Digital. Had Widbook struck a deal with Apple it could have become a de facto portal for iBooks (perhaps that is Widbook's next step).