September 11

Podcast #11: Christine Munroe, Kobo Writing Life


Christine "Chrissy" Munroe is Director of Kobo Writing Life, a digital self-publishing platform from Rakuten Kobo who partnered with Walmart to provide Walmart eBooks and a co-branded app. (See my blog post Walmart eBooks takes on Amazon Kindle: What does it mean for authors?) Before joining Rakuten Kobo, Munroe was a foreign book scout and literary agent in New York. 

So why should an author go direct with Kobo (and the other retailers) rather than use an aggregator to distribute their ebooks? The answers are personal, says Munroe, and you'll find out that with Kobo you don't just get direct to Kobo; you get personal feedback from their in-house marketing staff, you get your ebook in independent bookstores via the American Booksellers Association, an opportunity to distribute to libraries with Overdrive (also owned by Rakuten) with a more favorable royalty split then going through an aggregator, and many more perks we'll explore in the podcast.

After hearing this conversation, you may end up deciding to upload your book directly to the big five (Amazon, Kobo, Apple, B&N, and Google Play) rather than reaching these sales channels with an aggregator. 

If you own your book (ISBNs) you can easily make the switch and experiment. There are definitely pros and cons, which you already realize if you've listened to the podcast episodes with the aggregators (Smashwords, StreetLib, Draft2Digital, PublishDrive, Scribl).

We also discuss marketing opportunities with libraries, how merchandising among Kobo, libraries, and aggregators work, the Walmart eBookstore experience for customers, and the Kobo Plus subscription program for the Netherlands and Belgium with bol.com and how English-language authors can reach this market (and why you'd want to).

Also find out about their partnerships with Reedsy, Damonza, NetGalley, and others that help authors with editing, design, formatting, and marketing.

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Show notes

Here are the links to Kobo Writing Life (KWL) sites we mentioned and other resources.

Listen and subscribe on iTunesStitcherSoundCloudYouTube, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. If you like the podcast, please take a moment to post a review. Thanks!

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Sign up for the Self-Pub Boot Camp mailing list to learn about self-publishing products, tools, and services and how to use them, for handy cheatsheets and checklists, and to be notified when the next episode of the Author Friendly Podcast is published. 


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