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Camille Mofidi, Kobo Writing Life: “Traditional publishing and self-publishing can be complementary”

Camille Mofidi, European Manager of Kobo Writing Life, talk to us about publishing.

Regarding your attachment to offering the best reading experience to your customers, how are the e-readers of Kobo in this matter?

Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides consumers with a choice when reading, with an innovative suite of E Ink eReaders and Android tablets: Kobo Touch™, Kobo Mini, Kobo Glo, Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura HD, Kobo Arc, Kobo Arc 7, Kobo Arc 7HD, and Kobo Arc 10HD.

Besides, Kobo dedicates itself to offering the best reading experience to its customers, by providing high quality reading devices, like its range of eReaders that has the latest and the most up-to-date technology: a frontlit Pearl e-Ink touchscreen with a beautiful ergonomic design, and, launched in September, the world’s first premium waterproof E Ink eReader.

Last but not least, Kobo believes people should be able to read on their terms. Its open platform, which supports the most popular formats including EPUB and PDF, allows readers to buy and read digital content from a variety of sources on a Kobo eReader and on Kobo applications available on all platforms (iOS, Android, Windows).

 

What is the catalogue available for readers on Kobo?

Kobo offers one of the world’s largest ebookstores with 4 million titles across 68 languages. From bestsellers to self-published works, magazines to colourful kids content, there’s something for every reader among the 20 million Kobo users.

Kobo works with more than 11,000 publishers and 1.3 million authors worldwide to deliver the best digital content.

 

What led Kobo to create a platform dedicated to self-publishing?

Kobo is an ebookstore dedicated at selling the content that publishers put into its hands. The catalogue, one of the largest in the world, comes from traditional publishers from all size as well as independent authors. To fit to small publishers and self-publishers, Kobo designed a free tool, easy and intuitive to use, that lets anyone publish content as ebook and sell it on Kobo as an ePub file.

Thus, the Kobo Writing Life platform has established itself as a launching pad for authors by empowering them to make their books available to customers all around the world. This has attracted so far authors from 158 countries who publish their books in 69 languages, and make them available on Kobo.com.

 

What is Kobo Writing Life and how does it work (what makes it different from other platforms)?

Kobo Writing Life is Kobo’s self-publishing platform that enables authors and publishers:

  • To publish ebooks at no cost, as ePub files, without any exclusivity
  • To benefit from free conversion to ePub format from a Word document, an open office document or a Mobi file
  • To control everything from copyright to pricing, promotion setting and free promotion at any time
  • To access sales on a lively basis, through an easy-to-read dashboard
  • To distribute digital content as ebooks on the Kobo store worldwide
  • To distribute this content locally as well through Kobo’s retailing partners in each country, like La Central in Spain

 

What can Entreescritores bring to KWL?

As a digital publishing community that puts authors in contact with readers, Entreescritores has a role to play for KWL’s Spanish authors. To be successful, an author needs to market and promote his ebook. This can be achieved through social media, but also with the help of communities like Entreescritores focused on books and reading, where authors can engage with their readers.

 

Self-publishing is an opportunity for many authors who may sometimes provide content in various quality. With this partnership do you expect authors to improve their works before publishing them?

Self-publishing requires certain skills. At KWL, we engage with our authors in order to help them get more professional: by having a good cover, proposing a flawless text, describing the book properly and promoting it with marketing tools. It is also important for authors to have their text finalized before publishing it. This is something that can be achieved thanks to readers, through a platform like Entreescritores where authors can share with readers and test their book or their ideas before publishing.

 

Some experts predict that in a short time the most downloaded and sold ebooks will be self-published. Is it the end of publishers?

As we said, self-publishing requires skills, among which publishing and marketing skills. The independent authors who got successful through self-publishing are those who understand this and act as publishers themselves or work with people who can help them with their cover, their text, their promotion.

Besides, we see many publishers opening their own self-publishing department, as a way to have interaction between traditional publishing and self-publishing. Not to mention famous self-published titles whose authors have been offered contracts by publishers: E.L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, Hugh Howey’s Silo series, Bella Andre’s Sullivan series, etc.

Traditional publishing and self-publishing can be complementary as self-publishing is becoming a new channel for publishers to experiment and spot emerging talents.

 

Do publishers take advantage of the opportunities offered by ebook? Which role should have publishers in this process of book digitalization?

Publishers have a role to play in digital publishing by converting their catalogue in ebooks: by publishing frontlist titles as they come out in paper and by digitizing backlist titles to offer both formats to readers.

They can also experiment new ways of writing with authors willing to test other forms of writing like for example collaborative writing; or new forms of selling like subscription model.

 

How does Amazon’s supremacy affect the publishing business?

Diversity has always been one of the strengths of publishing. This is true for publishers as well as authors, retailers and libraries’ diversity. The more diverse the ecosystem is, the better it is for the reader who has more choice.

That’s the reason why at Kobo we support the ePub format as an open format for ebooks, and we don’t ask for any exclusivity from publishers, authors or readers. They should be able to use all the opportunities offered by digital format and ebook and have as many choices as possible.

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