Kobo Revives Partnership With Indie US Booksellers

kobo itunes ios logoSo little has been written over the past couple years about Kobo’s partnership with indie booksellers in the US, that it would be easy to assume that the partnership were defunct.

Kobo would like you to know that this is not true. Even though Kobo has said that they have a negligible share of the US ebook market, the device maker still has an ongoing partnership with the American Bookseller Association’s IndieBound program, and according to that website can claim nearly 500 bookstores as partners.

In fact, Kobo has launched a new promotion today to encourage its partners to recruit new customers. From the press release:

The eRead Local program is set to launch later this summer and will run for 100 days, with the exact timing to be determined. Participating ABA members will receive $5 USD per new Kobo customer acquired. What’s more, each new customer who creates a Kobo account through an affiliate ABA member will receive a $5 USD credit for use toward their first purchase of a Kobo eBook.

ABA members who acquire 100 new customers will be entered for a chance to win an in-store event with a bestselling author, and those who acquire 50 new customers will be eligible for a chance to win Kobo eReaders for in-store customer contests to help generate further in-store foot traffic. In addition, members will be provided with a full Kobo marketing kit, which will include a term sheet, promotional posters, online banners, and a reading app communication guideline.

Isn’t it interesting that Kobo isn’t trying to sell hardware, just get readers signed up?

I’m not criticizing, just noting that when the program launched, it was all ereaders all the time. Now (as Kobo approaches the end of its three-year contract with Indiebound) Kobo has adapted to the modern era where people are more likely to read on their mobile device than buy an ereader to read on it. Chances are, the people who would buy an ereader already own one, and it works fine.

image by brewbooks

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor 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. I’ve been a kobo affiliate for going on 3 years now–their focus that entire time has been on selling books as opposed to the readers. They do not do a huge number of contests to get their readers out there (or promos for the readers). They have a trivia contest once a month for coupons that work on books (not on readers). They do give away a reader each contest period, but really, that isn’t a huge commitment to getting the actual e-reading into the hands of customers.

    I buy books from kobo fairly frequently. Their site undergoes revamps pretty often (just yesterday when using a coupon I had a heck of a time figuring out where to enter the coupon code because the checkout changed). Reviews that are on books don’t show up on the search page and the search page rarely gets updated. Example: Do a search at kobobooks on Free Agent by Nelson — it shows 2 reviews for a total of 2.5 stars. I thought, “Geez, must not be good.” But when I clicked to the book, there are 6 ratings and no actual reviews and an average of 4 stars. It’s been this way for months and the problem is replicated across many books. So, as usual, I have to get my review info elsewhere and then buy where a book is cheapest or where a coupon works…but they have some advantages and overall I like their products/prices/coupons.

    1. Nate Hoffelder27 May, 2015

      When the program launched, it was all ereaders all the time. But that was in 2012.


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