Author Topic: Speculation about Kobo and KU  (Read 9973 times)  

Offline dgcasey

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2018, 09:51:50 pm »
I'm thinking what Walmart needs to do is create a separate, but connected website for their online book operation. Maybe something like Walmartbooks.com. I don't see a lot of people finding the time or desire to log into walmart.com to look for books. It's a pain in the butt to go there to get my prescriptions refilled and if buying books is going to be just as tedious, I'll probably stick with Amazon.

One thing I was just thinking of is, getting to the "bookstore" part of Amazon is almost as tedious. That's why the link to Amazon on my bookmarks toolbar goes to the Kindle store and not to the main Amazon front page.

Another thing that occurred to me is, what kind of reception will my novels get at Walmart's book site if they come to Kobo through D2D? Will they be treated equally or will they be treated like second-class citizens, just like B&N treats a paperback that comes through CreateSpace?

KBoards.com

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Offline dgcasey

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 518
    • Gender: Male
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #26 on: July 04, 2018, 09:57:27 pm »
    I think having the combination of a easy pickup system at a local store will also save them huge on shipping of books. They could also set up a small print on demand system at each of their distribution centers. Which again would save them on shipping and cost very little in the long run.

    Would they even need to do that? They could set up a partnership with some company like IngramSpark to handle their POD paperback needs. At first I was going to say they should approach CreateSpace, but then I came to my senses. ;)

    Offline PhoenixS

    • Status: A A Milne
    • ******
    • Posts: 4279
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #27 on: July 04, 2018, 10:12:39 pm »
    ***********

    Comment removed to protect content and data from the over-reaching TOS of new forum owner VerticalScope.

    VerticalScope claims rights to any content posted to this site as theirs to disseminate beyond this site in any way they see fit.

    Read the Terms of Service, both before AND after you've registered. At the time of this post, the new, more egregious TOS is available to read only after you've registered.

    KBoards was purchased by VerticalScope 7.5 years and 4000 posts after I joined. VerticalScope will not allow that existing content to be permanently deleted, despite the fact I did not and do not agree to granting the new owners the rights to my content.

    ***********
    « Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 08:45:30 am by PhoenixS »
    Comments removed to protect content and data from the over-reaching TOS of new forum owner VerticalScope. VerticalScope claims rights to any content posted to this site as theirs to disseminate beyond this site in any way they see fit.

    KBoards was purchased by VerticalScope 7.5 years and 4000 posts after I joined. VerticalScope will not allow that existing content to be permanently deleted, despite the fact I did not and do not agree to granting the new owners the rights to my content. - September 21, 2018

    Offline Kathy Dee

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 761
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #28 on: July 05, 2018, 02:29:35 am »
    But one factor has been the capital needed to top off the program's payments to authors as the pool of subscribers continues to grow.  Kobo does not have unlimited capital. 


    Don't understand this part of the argument. More subscribers surely means more money with which to pay authors their small percentage of the profits. Seems an infinitely scalable model to me.

    Offline NancySue

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 5
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #29 on: July 05, 2018, 03:28:11 am »
    One thing I don't see Walmart doing as Amazon does is publish erotic/erotica and gay/lesbian fiction and romance. I could see them denying authors who write that, access to publish on their site.

    Offline unkownwriter

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
    • *******
    • Posts: 7440
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #30 on: July 05, 2018, 07:36:55 am »
    One thing I don't see Walmart doing as Amazon does is publish erotic/erotica and gay/lesbian fiction and romance. I could see them denying authors who write that, access to publish on their site.

    This could be true, especially at the stores themselves. On the other hand, if it's about money, I can at least see this being allowed online, possibly with a strong adult filter.

    When I was in my twenties and thirties (and beyond), I bought a lot of books at Walmart (I think they still had the tilda in their name). A lot of magazines, too. Every two weeks, I'd go shopping, get my groceries and buy a book and a couple of magazines. I was mostly reading romance back then, but I got a good selection of SF and quite a few nonfiction books too.

    Don't underestimate Walmart's pocketbook and their desire to be the store everyone shops at. They've upped their game at the stores, running cleaner stores and stocking the things people want. Their prices are reasonable, as well. I used to shop at Aldi, because I had little money for groceries, but when our store closed down to remodel, no way was I driving 50 miles to the next one. So I went to Walmart (our local grocery chains are crazy high on prices). I didn't spend any more money, had a larger selection, better quality, and when I needed to find something, there is always an associate there with a smile and knowledge. Plus, I can look for other things in one store, without having to drive somewhere else.

    I think if Walmart and Kobo can make deals on devices, have easy access to books instore, and come up with an app that will let people read the books on any device without worry, they could do it. If they treat the authors right, keep the scammers to a reasonable level, I'd try them out. It will take time, but from what I've seen, Walmart shoppers are savvy and interested in easier ways to do things while having loads of access in one spot. That sounds like Amazon, doesn't it?

    If we want competition for Amazon, then we have to encourage those willing to try. I don't know if Kobo and Walmart can do it, but I'd like to see it happen. I'd love it if Apple and Google would step up and make a real play for readers and authors, but I've been waiting for that since 2011.

    Offline Arches

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 543
      • View Profile
      • Michael Arches
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #31 on: July 05, 2018, 07:52:02 am »
    It's fun to speculate, but I think we have to be careful about wishful thinking. I'd love for Kobo/Walmart to compete directly with Amazon on all levels, including a subscription service, but neither Kobo nor Walmart are interested in making me happy as a self pub author. More competition is good for me but not them.

    I think they're going to focus is going to be on what's the easiest way to make money in the book market. To the extent they can avoid competing directly against a well-established juggernaut like KDP, they will. And Walmart doesn't need Kobo to sell paper books in its stores, so they'll focus online. Selling ebooks should be more efficient than pushing around paper, but Kobo/Walmart have to compete with Amazon, Apple, Google, and B&N. So, I think they'll take it slow and see whether they can provide something unique to the ebook market that the established players have overlooked.

    Offline Gertie Kindle

    • Status: Shakespeare
    • **********
    • Posts: 26676
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #32 on: July 05, 2018, 08:19:05 am »
    So I went to Walmart (our local grocery chains are crazy high on prices). I didn't spend any more money, had a larger selection, better quality, and when I needed to find something, there is always an associate there with a smile and knowledge. Plus, I can look for other things in one store, without having to drive somewhere else.

    Who are these smiling, knowledgeable associates at WalMart you're talking about? I can never find anyone at the fabric counter and have to call the main desk. I might get someone in 10 or 15 minutes. There's usually only one person in electronics. And as for pick-up, they have a timer you can press to make sure you get an associate quickly but it's always broken. I do use the app when I get in the store, but that usually gets me a scowl.

    I like WalMart's prices which are way below the other stores, but customer service does not seem to be high on their list.

    Offline Mylius Fox

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 476
    • Cognitive syntactical wizard.
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #33 on: July 05, 2018, 08:29:37 am »
    They do attract bargain shoppers, but I believe it is deeply fallacious to believe that people who are bargain shoppers don't read.

    That's not what she said.

    bardsandsages

    • Guest
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #34 on: July 05, 2018, 10:34:31 am »
    Why wouldn't Walmart run it exactly the way that Amazon does KU, and for the exact same reasons? Get people in the store, gain market share, deny content to KU. Profitability irrelevant to the primary goals.

    Because you don't beat Amazon at their own game. KU is an artificial system that was never designed to be sustainable. WalMart doesn't mind losing money in the short term, but doesn't deliberately build programs that can't be sustainable.

    I work in contract packaging. Every single one of our clients deals with Walmart. Which means we deal with Walmart. There is no reason for WalMart to lose money on this program. They can set up a subscription program designed to make a profit and have plenty of inventory by simply ignoring the authors who are in KU exclusively. I am in every subscription service that doesn't require exclusivity. As has already been mentioned, the majority pay a percentage of the list based on how much of the book is read. And Walmart is plenty smart enough to place caps on the list (so nobody can list their 5000 word story for $19.99 and expect to get paid $19.99) and even....gasp...curate their inventory (like they already do with everything else) to make sure the books in the program were actually books.

    With the huge amount of data WalMart has, they could kill it with a subscription service if they invested on the front end with curation and set up. And there are plenty of publishers and authors who would be happy to sign up.  Amazon is vulnerable right now because it really is a mess. KU is flooded with scam books. Authors are frustrated. Readers are frustrated. WalMart doesn't NEED to become Amazon...it needs to do what Amazon can't or won't...which is provide a functional subscription service that isn't flooded with junk.

    Offline David VanDyke

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2437
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #35 on: July 05, 2018, 10:45:18 am »
    Maybe what they do is resurrect the "Waldenbooks" brand to create the missing association.

    This, and do several other things to get the planets to line up. It would be an uphill fight, but it could be done. Like everything, it depend on two basic things: motivation and execution.

    Offline JWright

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 236
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #36 on: July 05, 2018, 11:02:54 am »
    Walmart isn't exactly known for its ethics, or treating employees or the communities it operates in well.  It is not exactly the company I would like to see give Amazon and/or KU a run for its money. I'm not confident writers would be treated well in any subscription service headed by them.

    Offline The Fussy Librarian

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 320
    • Gender: Male
    • Des Moines, Iowa
      • View Profile
      • The Fussy Librarian
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #37 on: July 05, 2018, 02:11:48 pm »
    I think the big difference is that Bezos, as the majority shareholder of Amazon, has always been willing to take on losses in order to capture retail segments. The Walton family, in contrast, has always been about maximizing profit. The two companies just have fundamentally different approaches.
     
    I would love to see more competition for Amazon, but I'm skeptical of Walmart launching a KU-type program.

    Jeffrey
    Delivering ebook happiness daily.

    Offline David VanDyke

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2437
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #38 on: July 05, 2018, 03:19:23 pm »
    Walmart isn't exactly known for its ethics, or treating employees or the communities it operates in well.  It is not exactly the company I would like to see give Amazon and/or KU a run for its money. I'm not confident writers would be treated well in any subscription service headed by them.

    It is a strange byproduct of marketplace competition that it sometimes results in helping out the ethical ecosystem. Where one company might not care much about public image, with two or more, some compete on the basis of virtuous image. That can help out everyone. Not always, but I'm willing to give it a try.

    Offline JWright

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 236
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #39 on: July 05, 2018, 03:32:59 pm »
    It is a strange byproduct of marketplace competition that it sometimes results in helping out the ethical ecosystem. Where one company might not care much about public image, with two or more, some compete on the basis of virtuous image. That can help out everyone. Not always, but I'm willing to give it a try.

    Yes, it is possible.  Walmart could get good people to run a subscription program or just a serious contender could force Amazon to up their game.  I don't know why Google and Apple don't try to do more.  We shall see!  I definitely think some company should give Amazon a run for their money.

    Offline 75845

    • Status: Dostoevsky
    • ******
    • Posts: 3602
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #40 on: July 05, 2018, 03:33:47 pm »
    Just remember that Kobo Plus was set up because BOL asked Kobo to set it up. There is no evidence that Kobo shares the views of some in this thread that to challenge Amazon you must create an Epub Unlimited. In fact there is no evidence that Kobo Plus will ever branch out further than the Low Countries. Kobo follows the Chapters model of tying up with print retailers and most of them are not looking for a library service to reduce their epub and print sales..

    Offline RPatton

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 340
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #41 on: July 05, 2018, 03:53:03 pm »
    I think the big difference is that Bezos, as the majority shareholder of Amazon, has always been willing to take on losses in order to capture retail segments. The Walton family, in contrast, has always been about maximizing profit. The two companies just have fundamentally different approaches.
     
    I would love to see more competition for Amazon, but I'm skeptical of Walmart launching a KU-type program.

    Jeffrey

    This is starting to change. McMillon and Lore have been making a lot of moves and the board is getting dragged along behind whether they want to or not. They just overpaid for controlling shares of a store in India that Amazon was interested in. The shareholders are definitely complaining, but Lore and McMillon don't really care.



    Walmart isn't exactly known for its ethics, or treating employees or the communities it operates in well.  It is not exactly the company I would like to see give Amazon and/or KU a run for its money. I'm not confident writers would be treated well in any subscription service headed by them.

    This is would be true as few as five years ago, but recently the current CEO and the e-commerce CEO have been making huge improvements. In fact, working for Walmart is actually better than working at an Amazon warehouse. They've increased the pay, improved the benefits, and several other things. They are no longer the bad guys on the block.

    Offline JWright

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 236
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #42 on: July 05, 2018, 04:11:53 pm »
    Yes, I have heard working in Amazon warehouses is bad.  I'm happy to hear Walmart is making changes. 

    As a reader, I have both KU and Scribd subscriptions.  I do like Scribd better and might end up getting rid of my KU one.  I don't know how long Scribd will be able to afford unlimited reading again.

    Offline The Fussy Librarian

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 320
    • Gender: Male
    • Des Moines, Iowa
      • View Profile
      • The Fussy Librarian
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #43 on: July 05, 2018, 05:44:14 pm »
    This is starting to change. McMillon and Lore have been making a lot of moves and the board is getting dragged along behind whether they want to or not. They just overpaid for controlling shares of a store in India that Amazon was interested in. The shareholders are definitely complaining, but Lore and McMillon don't really care.

    Perhaps. Last time I checked, the Walton family controlled 51 percent of the company so Lore and McMillion are still going to have to listen to the family.
    Delivering ebook happiness daily.

    Offline Arches

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 543
      • View Profile
      • Michael Arches
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #44 on: July 06, 2018, 08:27:35 am »
    Yes, it is possible.  Walmart could get good people to run a subscription program or just a serious contender could force Amazon to up their game.  I don't know why Google and Apple don't try to do more.  We shall see!  I definitely think some company should give Amazon a run for their money.

    I think we're all hoping Kobo/Walmart will force Amazon to up its game. Google and Apple don't really compete with Amazon because their ebook programs are far from their core competencies. It's a niche neither sees as a big moneymaker. Hopefully, though, Apple is moving in the right direction towards providing more content as their hardware sales plateau. On the other hand, Kobo/Walmart are both very experienced in selling digital content online and their partnership could be a game changer.

    Offline KelliWolfe

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2635
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #45 on: July 06, 2018, 09:37:44 am »
    just got an email from KWL

    Quote
    As you have may have heard, Kobo is going to be launching with Walmart in the US very soon. We wanted to let you know that due to a limitation on Walmart.coms side, they are not able to accept book descriptions longer than 4000 characters. This limit includes spaces, punctuation, and all embedded HTML. A description that is longer than 4000 characters will not completely block the book from being sent to Walmart.com, but it will result in the description showing as blank on Walmart product pages.


    This sounds to me like they are very close to pulling the trigger. I'm thinking back-to-school launch? That's huge at Walmart, and a lot of states drop their sales tax during that period. Perfect for a product launch if you don't want to wait for the holiday season.

    Olivia Blake | Lessons in Love

    Offline Gaylord Fancypants

    • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
    • **
    • Posts: 56
    • I am Gaylord Fancypants.
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #46 on: July 06, 2018, 10:11:54 am »
    just got an email from KWL
     

    This sounds to me like they are very close to pulling the trigger. I'm thinking back-to-school launch? That's huge at Walmart, and a lot of states drop their sales tax during that period. Perfect for a product launch if you don't want to wait for the holiday season.

    Probably yeah in Sep. IIRC products launched in July/August usually fail, so most companies wait to announce stuff in September.
    I am Gaylord Fancypants, and yes, my pants are fancy indeed.

    Offline Used To Be BH

    • Status: Dostoevsky
    • ******
    • Posts: 3694
    • Gender: Male
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #47 on: July 06, 2018, 10:18:57 am »
    Because you don't beat Amazon at their own game. KU is an artificial system that was never designed to be sustainable. WalMart doesn't mind losing money in the short term, but doesn't deliberately build programs that can't be sustainable.

    I work in contract packaging. Every single one of our clients deals with Walmart. Which means we deal with Walmart. There is no reason for WalMart to lose money on this program. They can set up a subscription program designed to make a profit and have plenty of inventory by simply ignoring the authors who are in KU exclusively. I am in every subscription service that doesn't require exclusivity. As has already been mentioned, the majority pay a percentage of the list based on how much of the book is read. And Walmart is plenty smart enough to place caps on the list (so nobody can list their 5000 word story for $19.99 and expect to get paid $19.99) and even....gasp...curate their inventory (like they already do with everything else) to make sure the books in the program were actually books.

    With the huge amount of data WalMart has, they could kill it with a subscription service if they invested on the front end with curation and set up. And there are plenty of publishers and authors who would be happy to sign up.  Amazon is vulnerable right now because it really is a mess. KU is flooded with scam books. Authors are frustrated. Readers are frustrated. WalMart doesn't NEED to become Amazon...it needs to do what Amazon can't or won't...which is provide a functional subscription service that isn't flooded with junk.
    I think it's interesting how many people seem to want Kobo-Walmart to copy Amazon when KU is such a train wreck. I agree that, if Walbo wants to take on Amazon, the best strategy would be to learn from Amazon's mistakes and build a better subscription service.  That would mean more human curation --and hence more overhead--but it might be a bigger draw than KU because there would be less junk to plow through. The trads might be more receptive to it, too. I know at one time they were more receptive to Scribd.

    As others have said, Walmart isn't known for books, but that doesn't mean Walmart shoppers aren't book buyers or that they wouldn't be interesting in a reasonably priced subscription service. Sure, it isn't going to start with a base as big as Amazon's. When Amazon started, it had nowhere near the base of either Barnes and Noble or Borders and had to spend a ton of money on advertising to get its name out there. Rome wasn't built in a day--and neither will any successful competitor for Amazon be.
    I have not consented to the new Terms of Service, which were implemented without any announcement and without the ability to accept or reject them. My continued participation on the forum is related only to addressing this issue and cannot be construed as implied consent.  9/19/2018

    Offline Cherise

    • Status: Emily Dickinson
    • *******
    • Posts: 7958
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
      • dogaliens.com
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #48 on: July 06, 2018, 10:31:55 am »
    This is why I said they should drop exclusivity. They still deny the books to KU and encourage readers to go to Walmart.com because of the cheap subscription price. They're not in competition with B&N/Google Play/iTunes/Kobo. They can afford to ignore them. By giving authors access to a profitable subscription system while still being allowed to publish to the other channels, they'd have a big hose to drain the KU pond. Plus they could pick up a whole lot of books that aren't in KU because the authors don't want to be exclusive with Amazon. Content-wise they might very well come out way ahead of KU.

    Edit: Walmart's online business sucks. It's tiny compared to everything else, even with the online grocery ordering they added a couple of years back. If they're going to compete with Amazon they have to get more customers to Walmart.com. This is why IMHO it would be smart of them to operate any subscription service as Amazon does KU - focus on taking market share away from the competition and getting people into the store. The subscription service itself doesn't need to be profitable if it's doing those things. Play Amazon's own game and beat them at it by offering better terms to the content providers. Not only do they not lose anything by it, they've got a lot to gain. There are millions of books not in KU that they could gather into their own subscription service as an incentive to readers, and end up with a much bigger pool of books than KU.


    Excellent points.

    Now, let us see if Kobo / Walmart are smart enough to actually do this. And savvy enough to do it right so that it isn't overtaken by scammers.

    Not paying bonuses would be one way to discourage scammers, in my opinion.

    Another is software that actually monitors pages read, rather than just checking for the highest page-number viewed. Make the authors earn page-read money by, you know, publishing books that get read.

    Offline Gaylord Fancypants

    • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
    • **
    • Posts: 56
    • I am Gaylord Fancypants.
      • View Profile
    Re: Speculation about Kobo and KU
    « Reply #49 on: July 06, 2018, 10:54:35 am »
    I think it's interesting how many people seem to want Kobo-Walmart to copy Amazon when KU is such a train wreck. I agree that, if Walbo wants to take on Amazon, the best strategy would be to learn from Amazon's mistakes and build a better subscription service.  That would mean more human curation --and hence more overhead--but it might be a bigger draw than KU because there would be less junk to plow through. The trads might be more receptive to it, too. I know at one time they were more receptive to Scribd.

    The best way to force Amazon to fix the train wreck that is KU is to have some more  competition. If Amazon has to compete for authors with Kobo/WalMart, the situation will improve one way or another (either Amazon gets better, or [crap]s the bed and everyone frolicks in Kobo's heavenly meadows forever).
    I am Gaylord Fancypants, and yes, my pants are fancy indeed.

    KBoards.com

    • Advertisement
    • ***