Kobo Launches eBook Subscription Service Kobo Plus

I have little solid information yet but I have just heard that Kobo is going to launch an ebook subscription service at midnight EST (about 30 minutes from now).

Edit: Kobo hasn’t launched Kobo Plus yet, but the service is very real (I have the T&C).

There’s a blank info page for Kobo Plus on the Kobo Writing Life blog, and a similarly blank page on the (US) Kobo website. The meta description for that page says:

Kobo Plus eBook subscription gives you unlimited access to titles from every genre that can be read on any device. Start a 30-day free trial today.

Further digging has revealed that the Dutch-language page (German?) for Kobo Plus is already live. Bol.com is going to be a partner, and the service will cost 10 euros per month with a 30-day trial.

The matching catalog is also live, and I can see that 37,127 titles are listed.

It’s not clear how Kobo Plus compares to Kindle Unlimited, the subscription service Amazon launched in July 2014, but it is clearly a competing service.

According to my source, Kobo Plus is “better in terms of royalties and there’s no exclusivity involved. And it also benefits readers, as well.”

KU paid out $16.8 million in royalties last month, and close to $200 million in 2016 alone. I can’t wait to see how Kobo tops that.

I guess we will have to wait for the official announcement to find out.

Edit: Authors are reporting that there is a new “Kobo Plus” section of their dashboard. The one screenshot I saw on Facebook mentions that this service is live in Belgium and the Netherlands.



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. Darryl22 February, 2017

    I will watch this with interest. My first question is the paltry number of books available when compared with KU. Of course, this is only the start of the service, so we can’t expect too much yet. But are these Big 5 titles? Or are they making a serious attempt to attract Indie and self-published works? How does the royalty work? KU works for Amazon because Amazon retains an almost total control of its costs by allocating and dividing a pool? Is royalties are better code for our costs will be out of control? ARe they just going to pay on the basis of books “borrowed”. “Can be read on any device” indicates they won’t be able to detect pages actually read. So how open will it be to the same sorts of scams and abuses that have plagued KU?

    A very interesting development and perhaps one in the right direction. Let’s wait to see the details and hope that Kobo can carry it off and provide some real competition to KU. Though on past performance I will not be holding my breath.

  2. My first question is the paltry number of books available when compared with KU. The linked catalogue appears to be all Dutch-language books.

    If Kobo is offering 37,000k titles in Dutch that is impressive.

    The Kindle NL boasts 4 million ebooks but that’s pretty meaningless as only 24,000 are Dutch titles.

    Further, Amazon does not offer KU in the Netherlands, so comparisons with Amazon’s subscription service are not really relevant.

    In similar vein, in case Kobo has a localised Spain or Mexico Kobo Plus planned, Amazon has KU stores in Spain and Mexico but there are only 70k Spanish-language titles. The rest is all “foreign” padding and irrelevant to most subscribers.

  3. Geert22 February, 2017

    According to this Dutch article there are 40,000 books available, 16,000 of those are in Dutch (I assume the rest will be in English). Before the end of this year there should be twice as many books available.


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  5. PJ Harrison22 February, 2017

    Interesting. I’m about to go Wide with my book so I made note.

    Oh, and it’s not German. That’s the Dutch not the German. German [since my translator is on vacation and stuck at the beach with a sick child…] per Google. Which is prob close but no cigar in real translation. Drat… why to translators have to have vacations and why did I take French/Spanish/Ancient Greek and not German? :
    EBooks die mit Kobo Plus gelesen werden können

    Instead of what is on the page: eBooks die je kunt lezen met Kobo Plus

    1. Nate Hoffelder22 February, 2017


      I wasn’t sure because the URL includes “/nl/de/”. That suggests the language is German, not Dutch.

  6. Paula Altenburg23 February, 2017

    I’m really excited. My Dutch SIL prefers to read in the language the book was written in, loves to read in English, and I think that attitude is fairly common. The Dutch aren’t huge book buyers but have a well-used library system, so this seems like a great opportunity for authors.

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