Author Topic: Walmart teams up with KOBO  (Read 5375 times)  

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2018, 12:59:39 AM »
Those content mills will be turning on each other when they are the only ones left. Amazon's reaction will be interesting to watch over the next little while. Do they wait and see how many leave or do they get proactive and start being nice to us again?  Do they clear out the scammers, stuffers, and do what authors have been asking for? Do they pay us for page-flip? Do we get KU-100? Do they go to def-con 1?

These have just become interesting times.

Unfortunately Amazon can be as dumb as a box of hammers and they dont pay any attention to content, despite how that lack of attention to detail keeps biting them in the a**.

I dont think Amazon would recognize a content mill any faster than they would an actual scammer. Lets face it, Bezoss preference for bots over humans means if the bot dont know it then neither does Amazon. It makes his ecosystem vulnerable to scammers, content mills, badly written books, et al. I can only assume someone got his coffee order wrong once and hes hated all humans ever since.

Im encouraged enough by Walmart and kobo teaming up that Im finally going to load my books to them. In fact, recent developments in Books, Google, B&N and now kobo have convinced me to go wider and shore up my multi platform marketing campaigns. Amazon are actively trying to destroy any author not in KU so its time to return the favor. Collectively, midlisters represent higher sales and larger marketing budgets than all of the content mills combined, so if we put our weight behind the other platforms it will make a difference. Amazon dont care about midlisters, because whether theyre in or out of KU, theyre no more visible thanks to the content mills.

Fun times ahead!  8)

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2018, 01:01:03 AM »
@ireaderreview

FYI. An author can go direct to google now. You just have to apply via their contact form.

Offline TimothyEllis

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2018, 02:46:32 AM »
@ireaderreview

FYI. An author can go direct to google now. You just have to apply via their contact form.

Google suddenly got the message a great deal of their catalog was going to go poof when Pronoun pulled all the plugs.

So they opened up to authors again. So far, I've been slack getting mine back on.

The Kobo Walmart thing is the best news I've heard for a while, but as with everything, only time will tell what actually happens.

But the interesting thing is, if Walmart do make a big impact as some people predict, if Amazon goes the 50% royalty for non-KU books, it might even be worth pulling the plug on Amazon completely.

It will be interesting to see what happens this year.


Offline brkingsolver

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2018, 04:55:04 AM »
Assuming that the Walmart-Kobo partnership is successful -- i.e. captures 5-10% of the total ebook market -- my prediction is that Amazon overhauls the KU program to fight back. Whether that overhaul is good for authors...It will be aimed at readers, so we'll see.

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2018, 05:13:07 AM »
Assuming that the Walmart-Kobo partnership is successful -- i.e. captures 5-10% of the total ebook market -- my prediction is that Amazon overhauls the KU program to fight back. Whether that overhaul is good for authors...It will be aimed at readers, so we'll see.
If it's aimed at improving content for readers, it will need to be aimed at using actual humans to get rid of the junk and real incentives to keep good authors from fleeing.

I think it's possible, but unlikely, that Amazon will do what it takes to make KU a reasonable program from an author point of view. However, I'm an optimist. ;D


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Offline Mercedes Vox

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2018, 06:13:44 AM »
If it's aimed at improving content for readers, it will need to be aimed at using actual humans to get rid of the junk and real incentives to keep good authors from fleeing.

I think it's possible, but unlikely, that Amazon will do what it takes to make KU a reasonable program from an author point of view. However, I'm an optimist. ;D

Perhaps that little oopsie peekaboo of the 50% royalty option may indeed be linked to Amazon having gotten wind of the B&N, Apple, and Walmart-Kobo changes announced this week. It would make sense, now more than ever, for Amazon to offer an option for authors to include their works in KU on a nonexclusive basis (at the 50% royalty option) to circumvent a mass exodus from the program.
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Offline TimothyEllis

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2018, 06:26:17 AM »
Perhaps that little oopsie peekaboo of the 50% royalty option may indeed be linked to Amazon having gotten wind of the B&N, Apple, and Walmart-Kobo changes announced this week. It would make sense, now more than ever, for Amazon to offer an option for authors to include their works in KU on a nonexclusive basis (at the 50% royalty option) to circumvent a mass exodus from the program.

This would be fine, if it wasn't for page-flip. The lost earnings from page-flip would not be an incentive to go back in KU, and having the royalty slugged for not going back in would be adding insult to injury.

The result would be the same either way. You go back into KU, and your income drops because your sales get cannibalized and up to 50% of your reads are not paid. You stay out of KU, and your sales remain the same, but you make less on them, also dropping your income.

Neither is acceptable.

Help me Kobo-Walmart. You're my only hope!

All Amazon have to do is pay out properly on page-flip reads. That's all they have to do, to get me back in KU. But if they play games like we suspect, and Kobo-Walmart succeed in challenging Amazon, Amazon may find they lose a lot of us completely.

Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2018, 06:31:07 AM »
Help me Kobo-Walmart. You're my only hope!

I think we should go with Obi-Wal-Kobomart going forward.

Offline TimothyEllis

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2018, 06:34:59 AM »
I think we should go with Obi-Wal-Kobomart going forward.


Online Seneca42

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2018, 07:02:48 AM »
The Kobo Walmart thing is the best news I've heard for a while, but as with everything, only time will tell what actually happens.

It really depends whether walmart listens to kobo. A lot of people bash kobo for not owning enough of the market. I see it the other way... is it not a miracle they still exist despite zon's efforts to destroy them and others? Unlike Apple and company who can run at a loss, Kobo actually has to earn its keep.

I honestly believe you throw some serious marketing dollars and distribution channels behind them and they will quickly become the #1 challenger to zon in less than year.

The only thing that can cause this to fail is if Walmart doesn't listen to Kobo and forces them to do things "their way" (whatever that ultimately entails).

But, even in that scenario, it's still better for authors because two big boys competing with each other should generate better royalties for authors.

Offline Rick Partlow

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #35 on: January 26, 2018, 07:12:05 AM »
HOLE....LEE....F!

bye bye KU.

One thing does not follow the other in any logical way.

Offline StacyC

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #36 on: January 26, 2018, 08:17:13 AM »
I'm excited to see where this goes!

...

Not sure how to say this without being rude but the indie community in general truly has Stockholm Syndrome... they cannot fathom how things could be different than how they are currently being done. No matter how much zon takes the screws to them, they are 100% convinced that zon only does what it does because there's no other model for selling ebooks that would work. It's pure lunacy and some serious competition, I believe, will show that it is.

Sure, the content mills and folks who have tailored their back catalog to KU will be forever stuck with zon, but that niche-trap that zon created is not what the future of ebooks will be (at least I don't believe so).

...

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Offline Elizabeth Barone

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #37 on: January 26, 2018, 08:22:27 AM »
Just a note: When Kobo partners with (usually indie book) stores, the customer begins the purchase through the store's site -- not Kobo's. See R.J. Julia, an indie book shop in my state: http://www.rjjulia.com/search/kobo/elizabeth%20barone When you click on the ebook tab, you don't see much Kobo branding, other than "Kobo ebook." When you purchase an ebook, though, you're ported over to Kobo to finish the sale: http://www.rjjulia.com/ebook/1230001705997

This Kobo/Walmart partnership -- from what I'm reading -- is going to start online but we'll also see Walmart-branded Kobo readers in stores come spring. There's not going to be a fancy name; e-readers and the ebook arm of the Walmart website will still be branded Walmart, with Kobo's name underneath it.

Don't be mistaken, though. Kobo just does books, and they're very good at it. Walmart recognizes that and knows that Kobo will help them compete against Amazon. Kobo's e-readers are nice but affordable. I personally think they're better looking than the Kindle. Plus, as someone mentioned up-thread, Kobo has that super sweet waterproof e-reader ($159.99), which undercuts Amazon's waterproof Kindle ($299.99) and has a USB port cover, making it arguably more waterproof.

Look out, Amazon.

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Online Bill Hiatt

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2018, 08:25:42 AM »
It really depends whether walmart listens to kobo. A lot of people bash kobo for not owning enough of the market. I see it the other way... is it not a miracle they still exist despite zon's efforts to destroy them and others? Unlike Apple and company who can run at a loss, Kobo actually has to earn its keep.

I honestly believe you throw some serious marketing dollars and distribution channels behind them and they will quickly become the #1 challenger to zon in less than year.

The only thing that can cause this to fail is if Walmart doesn't listen to Kobo and forces them to do things "their way" (whatever that ultimately entails).

But, even in that scenario, it's still better for authors because two big boys competing with each other should generate better royalties for authors.
I've bolded the part that we shouldn't lose sight of. Walmart isn't exactly known for having great vendor or employee relationships. In fact, outside the indie author community, I hear far more negative reactions to Walmart than I do to Amazon. How much Kobo becomes a real alternative for us depends on whether this is a partnership or just Walmart using Kobo.

I'm guardedly optimistic because Kobo isn't alone. It's part of Rakuten, a big multinational that my guess is Walmart doesn't want a war with. That makes me think that at least the relationship will have to be mutually beneficial.


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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2018, 08:36:45 AM »
But the interesting thing is, if Walmart do make a big impact as some people predict, if Amazon goes the 50% royalty for non-KU books, it might even be worth pulling the plug on Amazon completely.
If the 50% royalty happens, I think it's more likely 50% for books in KU and wide, everything else unchanged. Even if Amazon had been planning to drop the royalty on non-KU books (sort of a parallel to the lower royalties for nonexclusive Audible books, I think the increase in competing alternatives makes that a somewhat less likely move, if only because you aren't the only person who would think about dropping Amazon if viable alternatives were available.

Of course, Amazon has done dumb things before, so I won't rule anything out, but at this point they may need to become more appealing to authors, not less so.

With regard to a topic you brought up in a different post, yes, for many people page flip is a deal breaker. What Amazon should do is adopt one of your earlier suggestions and disable page flip in KU books. That would probably entail having a separate, non-page flip copy for each book in KU, so it might take a while to roll out, but it would indeed make KU much more attractive.


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Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2018, 08:54:48 AM »
If there was a 50% and KU option for books that are also wide, I would absolutely rotate my backlist in and out of KU, probably in a way that Amazon expected the program to operate in the first place, with fresh offerings going in every 90 days.


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Offline Ellie Lynn

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2018, 09:01:11 AM »
If there was a 50% and KU option for books that are also wide, I would absolutely rotate my backlist in and out of KU, probably in a way that Amazon expected the program to operate in the first place, with fresh offerings going in every 90 days.

Absolutely! I'd have no problem with being in KU either.

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Online Seneca42

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #42 on: January 26, 2018, 09:39:50 AM »
I've bolded the part that we shouldn't lose sight of. Walmart isn't exactly known for having great vendor or employee relationships. In fact, outside the indie author community, I hear far more negative reactions to Walmart than I do to Amazon. How much Kobo becomes a real alternative for us depends on whether this is a partnership or just Walmart using Kobo.

I'm guardedly optimistic because Kobo isn't alone. It's part of Rakuten, a big multinational that my guess is Walmart doesn't want a war with. That makes me think that at least the relationship will have to be mutually beneficial.

The only thing that worries me is that I believe (purely guessing mind you) that kobo's trial sub model in the Netherlands was a hoop Walmart made them jump through... to show/prove they could launch a sub model. I really pray that Walmart doesn't go down the subscription route or nothing will change, just that the content mills will simply expand from one store to two stores.  Because you better believe these mills are going to try and swarm these other retailers with the same tactics they use on amazon (but as many have agreed on, it's the KU model that enables this insanity... their model doesn't work in the direct sale world).

Kobo knows what it's doing... Walmart just has to feed them and they'll grow into a beast to rival zon.

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #43 on: January 26, 2018, 10:12:19 AM »
The only thing that worries me is that I believe (purely guessing mind you) that kobo's trial sub model in the Netherlands was a hoop Walmart made them jump through... to show/prove they could launch a sub model. I really pray that Walmart doesn't go down the subscription route or nothing will change, just that the content mills will simply expand from one store to two stores.  Because you better believe these mills are going to try and swarm these other retailers with the same tactics they use on amazon (but as many have agreed on, it's the KU model that enables this insanity... their model doesn't work in the direct sale world).

Kobo knows what it's doing... Walmart just has to feed them and they'll grow into a beast to rival zon.
I agree with your suspicions of a subscription model at this point. However, to some extent the problem is with an uncurated subscription model. Amazon has always been obsessed with bragging about how many titles it had. It would have been a better value for readers if those titles had to pass through a little human scrutiny. Scamphlets, bloated collections of whatever could be thrown together, etc. could be eliminated with a relatively brief inspection. More might have to be done to combat botting, but requiring certain minimum quality standards would make a big difference.

Of course, none of that is going to make the math work out well. No one is ever going to be able to pay authors on a borrow what they'd make on a sale for very long. That may be an even more fundamental problem than content.


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Offline Merlin27

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #44 on: January 26, 2018, 10:23:59 AM »
I actually think sub models are the future, for pretty much all forms of media content. They've already taken over the music industry, and are in the process of taking over TV/Film. They just make more sense in a digital world where people are using multiple devices and storing things in the cloud. People want access to all their media on all their devices, and they'd rather just pay an upfront fee to get access to massive amounts of potential content than buying each item individually. For consumers, sub models are fantastic.

But sub models CAN have curated content, and they don't necessarily have to require exclusivity. They don't have to work the way Amazon runs KU. As was mentioned above, you could actually create a sub model that has gatekeepers only allowing the best content. You could even make it VERY exclusive, only available to the most successful or popular authors. It can work a lot of different ways.

I'm imagining a future with sub models on all the platforms, but none of them will require exclusivity, including Amazon. I think that 50% thing might really be the opening move in a whole new phase for KU where exclusivity gives you a bonus but isn't mandatory. All the other sites will probably have something similar, with slightly different payout mechanics.

And I will be fine with that. I love subscription services myself. In addition to KU, I subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Spotify. 

As a consumer, subscription services make life simpler, so consumer minded companies will continue creating and refining them.

IMO of course.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 10:43:53 AM by Merlin27 »

Online Seneca42

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #45 on: January 26, 2018, 10:42:12 AM »
I agree with your suspicions of a subscription model at this point. However, to some extent the problem is with an uncurated subscription model.

The problem is you can't stop the scammers in a sub model. Unlike music and movies and other sub industries (as the previous poster points out), books are unique. Unless you can accurately count pages, catch botters and prevent general abuse, they are a cancer. Now, admittedly, zon does everything it can to ENABLE all the worst features of a sub model. They reward scamming with increased rank. They don't ban, but derank (and even that is hardly ever done). They give KU books more velocity on AMS. They are completely non transparent about revenues in and revenues out.

So maybe a sub model could work if done differently. But as you've said many times, it would take human eyes to curate it. And the problem is that the mills and botters and copypastas can generate more slush than any human can sort out fast enough.

I still remain convinced that subscription models for books simply can't work. It will always end with a giant mess and everyone curled up on the floor in the fetal position.

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #46 on: January 26, 2018, 10:44:38 AM »
If there was a 50% and KU option for books that are also wide, I would absolutely rotate my backlist in and out of KU, probably in a way that Amazon expected the program to operate in the first place, with fresh offerings going in every 90 days.

i wonder though, if the "fizzling" comment is because KU page reads don't count as sales?
       
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Offline Mercia McMahon

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #47 on: January 26, 2018, 10:57:55 AM »
This is an obvious development. Amazon is a bookseller that moved into all the market areas that Walmart served, so it makes sense for Walmart to offer ebooks and keep their shoppers eyes away from the Amazonian Jungle.

My vote for a new name is The Waltens.


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Offline Anarchist

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #48 on: January 26, 2018, 11:49:06 AM »
I think we should go with Obi-Wal-Kobomart going forward.





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Offline Douglas Milewski

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Re: Walmart teams up with KOBO
« Reply #49 on: January 26, 2018, 11:59:19 AM »
Just remember that Walmart likes to push down prices.


Even Walmart will have an uphill slog against Amazon who've already captured most of the US heavy reading market. Prying happy customers away from Amazon will be tough. Those who do buy through Walmart (the more occasional readers) will (in my estimation) trend towards trads and what's popular this year. All told, a net positive, but not a gimme.

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