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DRMed eBooks Vanish in Kobo Library Update

19504995984_c5c8129815_hIt may have arrived a couple days too late for the international Day Against DRM, but Kobo has just given us yet another reminder of why one should always strip DRM from one’s ebooks and rescue them.

Several Kobo users are reporting over at MobileRead that the latest update to the Kobo website has borked their ebook libraries, and that the new library menu is uttelry  broken.

"I noticed the new screen today, and I also noticed that all of my books from the Sony Reader Store are no longer in my library," one wrote, before adding in a later post "Kobo removed the Sony Store books from my library during the upgrade. If I want them back, I need to add them back individually. Unless of course, Kobo can figure out a way to do this for me. My library is missing around 460 Sony Store books."

Several other users concurred, with some missing hundreds of ebooks. "Looks like so far all of my Sony books are 'missing' too. Gonna be a pain searching for and adding them all back in. Luckily I have a list of all my Sony books that I made before the transfer to Kobo, but still a pain and it’s crazy that they think this is an okay way to do things."

And other users are chiming in that they lost access to the ebooks they were storing in their "trash" folder. The files placed in that folder were stored rather than deleted, and under the new library menu that folder is no longer accessible. "How can I access the books that were in my Trash folder? They were not trash, I just put them there to stop them syncing to my ereader," one complaint read. Another user responded with confirmation, adding that "Some of my books that were in Trash are missing altogether. The missing ones seem to be ones that I had deleted most recently, perhaps within the last 6 months or so."

Fortunately the old library menu is still accessible at, because vanished ebooks are just the beginning of the problems. "I am a little baffled on how the sorting works. How does N come before G?" one user wrote, before posting a screenshot. "The search function doesn’t work correctly as well. I search for a particular author and only 1 book shows up. I know I have 10+ books by the same author."

Kobo Library

While this problem would not bother me much (I only have a handful of titles in Kobo), some of Kobo’s victims have lost hundreds of ebooks. And sure, most of those ebooks can be found in the Kobo store and re-added to the affected libraries, but is that really a fair and reasonable suggestion?

What a mess.


image by mikecogh

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puzzled May 7, 2016 um 5:46 pm

Ah, Kobo! Never ceases to amaze, confound, and surprise us…

Cole Mak May 7, 2016 um 7:43 pm

If it has DRM, you are leasing it, not buying it. There should be some sort of sanctions against Kobo, Amazon, et. al. because the button says "Buy Now" instead of "Lease Now".

Angela Korra’ti May 7, 2016 um 8:25 pm

Well, guh. Thank you for posting about this! I’m a Kobo customer and it does look like this has impacted my library some.

As I go through both the old page and the new page, what I’m seeing is that any titles I had transferred in from exterior sources were ones that had been removed from my list. In my case, that’s a previous Kobo account, and thankfully that list is small. So it’s not too much of a pain to re-add them to my list.

But I’m also definitely doublechecking against my master library in Calibre as well.

DavidW May 10, 2016 um 8:04 am

I feel bad for those that lost their Sony ebooks and had to re-add them to their library. Kobo really dropped the ball there. They obviously failed to consider or care about customers retaining their Sony ebooks when they did what should have been a simple UI change to their library.

I don’t feel bad for readers that were using their trash bin for storing part of their collection. What moron wouldn’t expect files to be deleted in the trash bin??

FYI the article doesn’t report on the resolution to the issue. You can go to the purchase history and from there go to the site of each of those books and then click on the link that re-adds it to the library.

Being able to re-add books to the library previously purchased is pretty cool. Amazon doesn’t offer that.

Amazon and Kobo could both really learn from Steam. Steam allows the user to "hide" games. It doesn’t vanish from their library but is simply hidden from view. This is what those idiots that were using the trash bin were really trying to do.

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