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Kobo to Launch Both Self-Pub and Traditional Publishing Platforms Next Year

One of the hot stories this past week (that I didn’t get to because I was at a conference) was that Kobo planned to expand and launch their own publishing imprint. But did anyone mention that Kobo are also working on a new self-pub platform? No? I didn’t think so.

There isn’t much detail available yet on Kobo’s plans to get into traditional publishing, but they do plan to offer the usual services like book editing, cover design, layout, and other services.  I couldn’t even get a time frame for the launch that was more specific than "next year".

Update: I still haven’t heard back from Michael Serbinis, the CEO of Kobo, but I did find this article where he talked to Quill & Quire. He offers a few more details on the new platform. It looks like there’s just one, not 2.

BTW, one detail that you should watch for with Kobo’s new publishing imprint is whether it will be digital only. I’m pretty sure it will be, but Kobo are owned by Indigo, a bookstore chain, and it would be a waste to pass on the chance to release a title in both paper & digital (in the US and Canada, at least).

The new self -pub platform  is still in the planning stages, so I don’t have much to share with you just yet. But I can say that a few weeks back Kobo hired Mark Leslie Lefebvre as the new Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations. He’s just started at the job this week, and he’s going to be the one responsible with developing and launching the new platform.

Mark (Twitter, LinkedIn, blog) is a published author and he’s also the President of the  Canadian Booksellers Association. His past positions include Book Operations Manager at a university bookstore (with responsibilities including integrating an Espresso Book machine bookstore operations) as well as a couple positions with Kobo’s parent company Indigo (working on their back-end).

I’ve asked a couple questions, and his current status is that he only started this week. He’s looking at what authors and publishers have requested most often in the past, and he’s investigating what would be needed to offer these services and make them available to authors everywhere.

As I said, it’s still in the planning stages.

BTW, Kobo do have a self-pub option now, but it’s not as well developed as it could be.  It’s also not anywhere near well-developed enough to be called a platform, and it looks to be more of a "me-too" afterthought than one of Kobo' s core functions. I’m glad to see that Kobo are improving it; they’ll need to if they ever want to earn their position as one of the Big 3.

I never wrote this anywhere, but until I heard about Mark’s new job at Kobo I had thought that the lack of a real self-pub platform was a mark against Kobo (evidence that they’re not a Big 3 ebookstore, basically). I had been thinking that they fastest way for Kobo to remedy this shortcoming would be to buy one of the self-pub services – Smashwords, for example. Admittedly, Smashwords probably wouldn’t be interested in selling just yet, but that would have been a quick way for Kobo to add a service that they need to offer.

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Jasmine Filipovski July 26, 2012 um 4:09 pm

I have to say I’m not very pleased with Bookbaby’s misleading business practices myself either. I thought I had researched this company thoroughly, but obviously I did not until I came across this website. After being published the traditional way, I felt uneasy about e-publishing as I’ve heard many stories about scams, ex. Well, I decided to take the plunge and submitted my manuscript, "Demon Drivers," with Bookbaby in July of 2012. Everything was fine until they started asking me for extra money to edit my manuscript for one mistake that I missed. It was bad enough they fooled me into thinking it was $99 for the whole process-then they started adding charges at the very end. as I submitted my manuscript. What have I done? I said to myself as I pulled the covers over my head. On a whole I’m not pleased where the publishing industry is going. It’s sad. but true where it is really going. It is going to the wild dogs!! And, I’m sorry to say that. May be, we, as authors need to be a little smarter about e-publishing on a whole and go back to traditional publishing. On the other hand, I had a bad experience there as well too. Back in 1005-, when I published my first book with this…..publisher another more reputable publisher asked to publish my book-but I had already signed the contract with them-and had to pay $500 to break the contract. Money I did not have at the time. We live and learn from our mistakes constantly. However, I still do not like where the publishing idustry is going on a whole. And, by the way, CDBaby has many complaints with the BBB. This is it.

Jasmine Filipovski July 26, 2012 um 5:17 pm

I didn’t mean to shed a bad light on Bookbaby or the book publishing idustry on a whole on my last comment. However, I do not like where the publishing industry is going on a whole. Back in 1995, when I published my first book on the disabled population the traditional way, I was new to the book publishing industry. Looking back now, I would have done things much differently. May be there is still hope for e-publishing. We need to watch and root out those who want to scam us in this industry. I also think this may take a while as we all live and learn from our mistakes including companies like Bookbaby. Bookbaby is fairly new, and I realized this before I signed on with them. That was my mistake or may be not.There could still be hope for them yet or I will have to just take it as a loss. We shall see.. Time will give me thiis answer soon enough. Well, this is finally it.

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