Bought a PDF From Kobo? It’s Going Away After 1 November

Have you visited your “My Books” page on the Kobo website lately? Me neither, but someone on Mobileread has noticed that Kobo has added a notice to that page telling users that PDFs are going away.

Here’s the notice:

Beginning November 1st, Kobo will no longer make your eBooks in PDF format available for download.

We’ll do our best to replace your PDF books with their equivalent EPUBs, but it is possible that some cannot be replaced.

We’ll let you know by email which books we can’t replace. You’ll need to download these books before November 1st to continue enjoying them.

I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell didn’t know about this change until I heard on Mobileread. Kobo did not send me an email with the news, and I didn’t want anyone to find out the hard way.

If you have an account with Kobo you should absolutely check your library to see if you have ebooks at risk. You will only see the notice if you have a PDF in your Kobo library, so if yousee nothing then you don’t have to worry about losing access to any of your ebooks.

image by andsleonardo

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder 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. Allen F3 August, 2017

    Well, ‘warning’ you about the change might scare off anyone thinking of buying or continuing to use a kobo. (They don’t want to sink it any faster than they have to. 😉 )

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  3. BDR3 August, 2017

    Why inhell would you convert an epub to pdf in the first place? The only reason might be to read it on another e-reader brand but I’m guessing that most who would do this would simply use a de-drm app on the epub, instead.

    SO not a big deal.

  4. Vikarti Anatra3 August, 2017

    > Why inhell would you convert an epub to pdf in the first place? The
    What if book was in PDF in first place because of even moderately complex formatting which is rather common in technical books? EPUB is bad here (well, may be latest EPUB3 standard is not but what about readers?)

  5. Stephen Cole4 August, 2017

    A significant number of small to mid-sized publishers, especially scholarly publishers, still only release ebooks in PDF. So this might disadvantage them or their readers. Or it might propel them to upgrade their workflows and start generating EPUBs.

    But there’s another important issue here, which was highlighted by the angry response to O’Reilly’s recent decision to exit retail direct sales from their site: Texts that are rich in graphic elements, tables, obscure characters, mathematical formulae, etc. often render badly in EPUB.

    The design and layout of codex pages evolved over a thousand years, and stylistic elements, special fonts, the positioning of captions and sidebars … all these things can form part of the actual message. There may come a time when the EPUB format or its successor can respect the careful thought that book designers put into making a page, but we’re just not there now.

    At we urge publishers, especially non-trade publishers, to send us a PDF, if they have one, along with the EPUB format. We let the customer choose which format they want. We continue to sell thousands of PDF ebooks day in, day out. It’s not hard.

  6. […] Nate Hoffelder just highlighted a report that Kobo has told its customers that they will soon stop supporting PDF ebook distribution. Meaning, it seems, that Kobo will delete PDFs from users’ bookshelves in November. […]

  7. Robert Spencer4 August, 2017

    Anyone figure out how to find which ebooks in your Kobo collection are in PDF format?

    1. Nate Hoffelder4 August, 2017

      I had to check the ebooks one by one.

  8. Tarwin4 August, 2017

    Well, I’m definitely at risk. I’ll have to check if they’ve emailed me. As November is still a ways off, is like to think that the lack of notifications might be because they might be in talk with publishers to see if they’ll give them epub alternatives if not already available (in my experience it tends to be one or the other). I have no evidence to support this, just a benefit of the doubt thing.

  9. gbm4 August, 2017

    I have/had one ebook at Kobo in pdf–originally purchased from Borders–but it is no longer available for download.

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