Kobo announced the launch of a revolutionary new concept today. They’ve finally decided to enter the 21st century and start selling their Kobo ereaders and tablets directly from Kobo.com. Gasp!
Kobo used to sell the Kobo Touch and Kobo Vox from their website, but inexplicably removed the buy option last fall right before the busy holiday shopping season, and they never did add the option to buy their newer line of ereaders and tablets, making them very difficult to get a hold of in the United States. We all wondered what was wrong with Kobo and why they were making it so hard to purchase one of their ereaders when Amazon makes it so easy to purchase a Kindle.
Now things have finally changed. The Kobo Glo, Kobo Mini, Kobo Touch, and Kobo Arc are all available for purchase directly from Kobo.com when ordering from the United States and Canada.
Presumably you can buy covers and other accessories too, but right now the link at Kobo isn’t working and is just directing to a 404 error page (you’d think that someone at Kobo would actually check to make sure things are working before issuing a press release). While I’m pointing out flaws, I might as well mention that all of the description pages for the products at Kobo still lead to the confusing “Where to Buy” pages instead of Kobo’s own online store. So unless customers happen to find the one page with the “buy now” buttons, I guess they are out of luck. Kobo might as well just put up some advertisements for the Kindle while they are at it.
In all seriousness, it’s good to see Kobo finally getting with the times. The Kobo Glo, Kobo Mini, and Kobo Arc have been out for about a half a year now. The Kobo Mini sells from Best Buy, but not the other two. And with no other major retail partners in the U.S. the only other place to get them was from a small number of indie bookstores like Powell’s Books and Family Christian Bookstores. That’s not going to get Kobo very far when trying to contend with the likes of Amazon.
Now let’s just hope that the buying process actually works. I once tried ordering the Kobo Vox from Kobo.com after it first came out and nothing ever happened. After completing the online ordering process, I wasn’t charged, it didn’t ship. Nothing.
“revolutionary new concept” 🙂 Good one, Nathan.
Yeah, out of all the stories I followed last Q4, this one just made no sense. I could see why Kobo, a smaller company, would not want to deal with the online sale of their devices; there are tons of supply chain issues and returns/replacements/refunds to handle. I understood why they would want established retailers like Best Buy to take over that part of their business. But the thing was, they made it so damn hard for anyone in the US to buy any of their new readers that it seemed like they were trying to fail. It was almost as if they were windowing the Glo, first to the UK and Canada, then the US, a ridiculous decision.
For three months, none of the US links on the “Where to Buy?” page actually took potential customers to listings for their new devices. You could get the Mini from Best Buy if you were lucky, but EVERY other retailer’s link (there were about six of them) took you to an error page or a page filled with third-party Kobo Touch cases. And then the online retailers that did sell the Glo, like Powell’s Books, WEREN’T listed on the page! Kobo boasted about their deal with the ABA independent booksellers, but the company did nothing but screw ABA members who could have profited from the major retailers’ lack of supply. It was an insane debacle orchestrated solely by Kobo. I wanted to check out the Kobo Glo, but they made it impossible for me to get one when they came out. By the time they were available, I had lost interest. I don’t think I will be buying from them again.
Yeah, they definitely like shooting themselves in the foot. Repeatedly. I thought maybe they’d have things fixed by today. But nope. The accessories link is still broken and the where to buy pages are still there, and don’t even list Kobo as an option. I think one of the main problems with Kobo is there are too many different departments and none of them communicate with each other.
Okay, I am confused. I went to the Kobo.com link in the post and found the Mini, Glo, Touch, and Arc all listed with “buy now” (it’s green) buttons right there that take you to a page where you can pick your color and add it to your cart. I assume that from there you can checkout but as I don’t have $129 to use for confirmation, I can’t confirm that.
I’m confused by your confusion :). If you’re referring to the lack of buy now buttons I mentioned, I was referring to each individual page for the products where they list all the features and such.
I see that now. They likely have not updated the individual product pages yet. You would think that would be one of the first things they would do….
Why is it nobody but that company named after a South American river gets ebooks? At least in the US.
I ordered the mini the other day off the kobo website. yeah, i know all the negatives but i needed the smallest reader available for the boring stretches at my job, and i’m tired of charging my tablet all the time.
please, kobo, or someone, maintain a viable alternative to skAmazon and the sKindle.
i know it’s a tiny step, but at least they recognized one error.
Judith Pittman says
As a relatively small and select ebook publisher, we were encouraged by Kobo to load our books directly to the site, and since we’re located in Canada where a lot of Kobos are sold, it seemed like a good idea. However, after scouring their site for ebooks published by independent publishers you almost had to know the name of an ebook to find it. That’s completely discouraging to small publishers like Books We Love (we are a niche market publisher primarily publishing former NYT mid-list authors) so our authors are all pros, but the books need to have some exposure. I wrote to Kobo telling them that I was reluctant to upload over 300 ebooks to them when it was obvious they were making no effort to spotlight any of their existing independent publishers. Their response was to send me a “canned” email telling me about space limitations and suggesting that we might want to write some articles for their blog. Needless to say not enough encouragement to draw us away from Amazon exclusive and/or Smashwords when we bring them out of KDP, and certainly not an enticement for us to promote Kobo readers on our own website.