Kobo Launches a Loyalty Program – Super Points

16827374355_a8e1c12057_hKobo has found a new way to encourage customer loyalty in a market where six major US publishers are restricting price discounting.

The ebook retailer is launching a loyalty program today called Super Points (because apparently simply calling it “Points” wasn’t Exciting enough). Modeled on the mileage reward programs offered by many airlines, Kobo Super Points rewards Kobo customers for buying ebooks and digital magazines.

The program is currently available in Canada, United States, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, and comes in two tiers. On the free tier Kobo customers earn 100 points for every $10 spent in the Kobo Store, or they could sign up for the $10 a year Kobo Super Points VIP Membership and earn points twice as fast. Other VIP benefits include 10% some titles, getting an additional 10% off select Kobo promotions, and receiving one free ebook of their choosing every year.

Once a customer has collected 2,400 points, they can redeem the points and purchase additional ebooks from Kobo. Many All the ebooks are now listed with two prices, with the “points” price about five or six times higher than the cash price.

Edit: Agency-priced ebooks will earn Super Points but they can’t be bought with them.

An ebook which sells for $8.69, for example, can be had for 4,800 points.

In other words, you can get that ebook for free if you spend $480 in the Kobo Store (less if you have a VIP membership).

As someone who has spent less than $250 at Kobo in the entire six years it has been open, I find this offer less than appealing, but I will still keep an eye on the program.

Edit: A reader has pointed out that I missed a couple of the VIP benefits (see above) which make the paid membership far more appealing.

Kobo will periodically offer special sales where you can buy ebooks and earn extra points; according to the announcement, they’re going to call it “Kobo’s Bonus Days”. Amazon uses that trick every so often in the Amazon Appstore, and I expect that Kobo will adopt it for the same reason: to get new customers to come in and buy something.

Sure, a rewards program exists to reward customer loyalty, but it can also be used to draw in fresh blood. And given how underwhelming the Kobo Super Points program is at launch, I do hope that Kobo plan s to do more with it.

image by GotCredit

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. Timothy Wilhoit29 September, 2015

    “In other words, you can get that ebook for free if you spend $480 in the Kobo Store (or $250, if you opt for the paid VIP tier).”

    Sounds “super pointless,” if you’ll forgive the pun.

    1. Nate Hoffelder29 September, 2015

      Damn! I wish I had thought of it!

  2. Fbone29 September, 2015

    The VIP tier also offers an additional 10% off. You can stack promo codes. Plus, you receive a free book from a short list for joining. The membership is discountable too using a contest code.

    The bonus points would have to be generous to make this program more attractive.

    1. Nate Hoffelder29 September, 2015

      @ FBone Whoops. I should have read more carefully.

  3. Timothy Wilhoit29 September, 2015

    As you might expect, it doesn’t appear agency books are redeemable for points. (You can earn points for agency books, it seems.) I noticed the “redeem from a catalogue of over 1 million titles starting from just 2,400 points” and I checked a few agency book product pages. I didn’t see any mention of them being redeemable for points.

    1. Nate Hoffelder29 September, 2015

      @ Timothy

      I hadn’t thought to check those specifically. Good catch.

  4. Thomas29 September, 2015

    Just saying, but I’ve already almost made my money back on VIP access thanks to the free book + buying a non-agency book that got nicely discount (cheaper on Kobo than iBooks by about 3 bucks). The points system will definitely be handy when sales come around.

    Now if only there were a way to incorporate agency titles…That said possibility of agency going away in a few years would set Kobo up nicely.

    A loyalty program is something I have thought a retailer/publisher should do for a very long time.

    1. Nate Hoffelder29 September, 2015

      Yep. The VIP tier is better than it first appeared. I erred when I complained about it.

  5. Timothy Wilhoit29 September, 2015

    Before purchasing the VIP tier, it would be wise to peruse the genres you prefer and see there are a lot of books you would like to purchase that are also discountable and/or purchaseable with SPs. If there are, then it would probably be a good deal for you.

  6. Thomas29 September, 2015

    Romance readers for sure judging by what I’ve seen. Sci fi/fantasy, my choice, not so much….

  7. Haesslich29 September, 2015

    Also, the announcement notes they will have events where you can earn extra points (Bonus Days), so that “200 Super Points for every $10 spent” will go up. So it won’t be too hard to get books on points if you shop on those days. You won’t be getting free books with every fifth purchase, but between the points and the stackable discount on certain non agency books, it doesn’t look too bad.

  8. carmen webster buxton29 September, 2015

    Good god, it sounds complicared! I have trouble believing it’s going to get any traction, at least in the US.

  9. Andrew30 September, 2015

    It is similar to Chapters rewards programs. If it was for all books, I would go back to Kobo.

    Agency books have long been exempt from Kobo coupons, which was a disappointment, and along with their DRM was the reason I stopped buying there.

  10. How the US Innovates in Digital Publishing | Digital Book World2 October, 2015

    […] Kobo Launches Super Points Loyalty Program (Digital Reader) Kobo has found a new way to encourage customer loyalty in a market where six major US publishers are restricting price discounting. The ebook retailer is launching a loyalty program called Super Points. Modeled on the mileage reward programs offered by many airlines, Kobo Super Points rewards Kobo customers for buying ebooks and digital magazines. […]

  11. debbie5 October, 2015

    Too friggin complicated. I hate rewards programs that come with alot of ifs, ands, and buts. Gives me a headache. I just got a Kobo but won’t join a rewards program unless it is straightforward.

  12. […] Kobo’s new loyalty points plan […]

  13. Miriam15 October, 2015

    I opened a Kobo account to benefit the local indie bookstore, and I’m not sorry I did.

    But have you seen their selection of sale books? Mostly romance and suspense novels with gaudy covers, and a few advice books. They do NOT offer something for everybody.

    Kobo, if you want my loyalty, offer more non-potboilers.


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