Why Doesn’t Kobo Ever Advertise or Put the Aura One on Sale?

Kobo Aura One

Kobo is the most puzzling company sometimes. It’s as if they have no interest in promoting and marketing their own brand.

When’s the last time you saw an ad for a Kobo ereader? It’s probably been awhile, or maybe you’ve never seen one at all. I haven’t seen one for a long time. Sometimes I see an ad for Kobo’s ebookstore but rarely see any for Kobo’s ereaders.

They probably advertise in other countries more, but in the US it seems like they’ve all but surrendered the market to Amazon.

You’d think they would at least advertise the Kobo Aura One alongside articles about the new 7-inch Kindle Oasis, but I’ve yet to see a single one.

There’s also the fact that the Aura One was released over one year ago now and it hasn’t gone on sale once yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t even put it on sale for Black Friday or Cyber Monday either.

Chapters once had a deal where you could get 20% off when paying with MasterPass, but that applied to most products sold on their website, and the deal likely wasn’t authorized by Kobo. Regardless, the Aura One was out-of-stock most of that time anyway.

Usually Kobo just knocks the price of the 6-inch Kobo Aura down to $99, or sometimes bundles an older model with a cover, and that’s about it for sales.

Even though Amazon has virtually no competition in the US they’re always putting Kindles on sale. Granted they rarely discount the Kindle Oasis, but the other models go on sale regularly, and they offer certified refurbished units for cheaper on a regular basis, including the Oasis.

Kobo on the other hand only ever puts their low-end model on sale and they don’t offer discounted refurbished units for cheaper, and they do very little marketing anymore to help draw in new customers. Absorbing the accounts of other failed ebook stores is about all Kobo does to gain new customers these days, it seems. Odd strategy…

16 Responses to “Why Doesn’t Kobo Ever Advertise or Put the Aura One on Sale?”

  1. I have wondered about their sale strategy for years. To me, even if the margins are very thin, Kobo needs to do something to move these units…without which ebooks are only purchased for use with apps.
    …Losing market share to Amazon surely.

    • i assure you margins are not thin!! that device is made with most likely less than 50$ in china… the rest is to pure profit(minus advertisement costs)

  2. I’ve been really puzzled at how little Amazon has promoted the new Oasis.

  3. If they had even the slightest clue about marketing, they wouldn’t rely on a Chapters website in Canada for their distribution in America.

    It’s not that the Chapters site is bad … it’s actually very good. Go to that site, though, and they quote 3 weeks for delivery. Combine that with possible Customs issues and it *sounds* like a battle not worth waging. In reality, I got mine delivered — hassle-free — within 5 days.

    Here they are, with (what many people including me consider to be) the best e-reader on the planet and they treat this like some sort of Canadian state-secret that no American must ever buy, let alone even know about.

    Exactly why are they so incompetent? I’m thinking that they have the Barnes and Noble disease.

  4. I’m struggling to think of the last time I saw any kind of promotion in the UK. The only reason I bought a Kobo Glo 5 years ago was because they were on display in the shop I happened to be visiting.

  5. I bought my first KA1 from Chapters and where they quoted delivery of three weeks the device arrived within 5 days to Pennsylvania. There were no problems with Customs at all. I liked the fact that you could easily track your package. So I think they did an excellent job and the whole process with Canada was painless. I had also ordered the Aura from Chapters – also with no problems. I would rather be told a far out delivery estimate and be pleasantly surprised at how quickly it arrives (Chapters) than be told two days and not get it for a week (Amazon). One of my wishes is that you could readily buy Kobo gift cards here in the US like you could when Borders sold the Kobo devices.

  6. They definitely advertise in Canada- I see many more ads for Kobo products than for Kindles. They don’t go on sale that often, but I’ve usually been able to find a sale when I need one.

    I do wish that they’d step up their game a bit, as I very much want them to stick around.

  7. The reason is simple : there is more to this world than the US. In other countries, Canada among them, Kobo is advertised and their products do go on sale. Their market shares are much stronger everywhere else and it’s worth fighting for but from the get-go, US customers gave a tremendous advantage to Amazon and this has not changed. Kobo obviously prefers to spend their marketing budgets in countries where it’s more likely to make a difference.

  8. In France, I don’t think they advertise as such but they have a great partnership with Fnac (biggest chain for books, video, TVs, laptops etc). Fnac advertises on their own website, at least when you go to the ebooks category. First I actually thought that Kobo was a Fnac product! To be fair, Fnac sells it as “kobo by Fnac” so clearly there’s a partnership here

  9. UK never seen advertising for any e-reader makes. I suppose Kobo think their on to a loser in the US. Cost of advertising would be more than units they sell. I see your site ebookreader.com got a amazon advert not very impartial?

  10. It would probably help if they even sold the Kobo at all through popular outlets like amazon.com. it’s pretty amazing that if I want to impulse purchase a Kobo Aura One, I literally can’t. The only ones for sale on Amazon are through some random third party at a steep markup, with no prime shipping. Buying direct from Rakuten will take well over a week to get in my hands in the U.S. Not selling on Amazon cuts out a huge potential market.. impatient people, and people who’ve gotten used to buying everything on amazon.

  11. What they need to do is find a US chain to be their “exclusive” US seller, like Walmart. Walmart would love to be able to kick Amazon’s butt on something. It would be even easier to give it someone like Sears who is desperate for an edge.

    Kobo is entirely word-of-mouth here, which is ridiculous when anyone who sees one, wants one. If they could get into a store, they’d grab market share easily.

  12. Although Kobo have released a new product recently the Kobo Aura H20 version 2 they do not advertise it on TV here in the UK nor seemiongly do they do so elsewhere either.

    Just some retailers show it on their sites.

    I get the distinct impression that Kobo are trying to let their e-reader department go bust …. it looks as though they are just concentrating on e-books.

    When you consider that e-books cost practically nothing to produce or distribute why not?

    As long as we use their reader app crap thing and buy their books at vastly inflated prices why bother producing, marketing and dispatching hardware, Kobo’s owners are laughing at us.

    Probably even more than Kindle who have their limited formats and can’t lend your book to anyone policy.

    • Phil, Kindle formats are not that limited if you utilize the “convert” email to your kindle capability which also puts the item into your Amazon cloud storage. Using a undocumented by Amazon feature you can even send a Epub to it which will be converted to a Kindle format. I have done so. Found the how to info on Mobileread Forums. The Kindle can even via email receive MS Word DOC and DOCX format files which the Kobo cannot. Amazon developed the Kindle originally to sell ebooks and in that they have certainly succeeded.

  13. I am a rarity, a USA resident who has multiple Kobo readers. The last bought was the Aura One 32 GB Limited Edition which reportedly was for the USA market only and per a Canadian citizen’s post was not available in Canada. Damn near not available in the USA per my experience.

    It took me about 40 days to get a working one. The first was defective as it refused to hook up to my Wi-Fi. Took about a week of hassles to get a return authorization and then 10 days or so to return it via the authorized UPS ground shipping. Finally got the working one yesterday, 5 Feb., but originally ordered back on Dec 25. Kobo’s hardware sales support in the USA SUCKS compared to Amazon!

    The Walmart deal will hopefully improve the sales support but I hardly expect that Walmart’s sales staff will be able to provide much in the way of tech support.