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Old 03-03-2012, 01:10 AM   #1
MikeNorrish
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Question A stolen Kobo, its replacement, and the woeful case of the sticky affiliate

Hello all,

I am in dire need of assistance. I have a device that will not connect to my account, a helpdesk that insists on quoting the FAQ at me, and I've exhausted all options other than asking the Internet.

TL;DR version first: My Kobo Touch, following a factory reset, refuses to connect to the Kobo store, but instead insists on connecting to the store of the local affiliate. I desperately need to change it back.

For those who prefer the full story, let me tell you my tale of woe...

A couple of months back, I bought a Kobo Touch from Whitcoulls in New Zealand, as an upgrade to my Kobo WiFi. While I had my Wifi, I had never bothered using the online store, as the device was tied to Whitcoulls, whose store is rather pitiful - Whitcoulls specialise in satisfying the mainstream, and I have no desire to limit myself to the likes of Dan Brown and Stephanie Meyer.

To my delight, though, when I installed the setup app, the login it prompted me for was not a Whitcoulls login, but a proper Kobo one, which I had from using the Android app on my tablet and phone. I registered my device, and built up a modest library, and revelled in the delights of cloud-based bookmarks, and being able to shop from a decent sized selection of books without having to use side-loading from ADE or Calibre.

And then the damned thing went missing from my bag. I don't know whether it fell out, or if it was taken, but it was most definitely gone.

I immediately bought another one, and set it up with the desktop app, whilst dashing off an email to Kobo customer support asking if there was a way I could deactivate the old one, just in case someone had actually nicked it (I'd already removed my credit card details from the account). Kobo replied by saying that the safest thing to do would be to deactivate my old account and create a new one, and they'd transfer my library across. "Go ahead," says I.

Then came the tricky part. On their instructions, I performed a factory reset on my device, and went to register it with the Desktop App, using my new account. Or at least, that was the intention...

Instead of being presented with a Kobo login screen in the setup wizard, I was instead presented with a Whitcoulls login screen. "Hmmm," I said, and opened up the filesystem... Sitting in the .kobo folder was an "affiliates.conf" file, containing the string "affilaite=Whitcoulls".

Folowing advice I found on a thread here, I changed the line so it said "affiliate=Kobo", and attempted to re-register. The file changed itself back to saying "affiliate=Whitcoulls".

So, I did another factory reset. Lo and behold, the "affiliates.conf" file was absent from the file system. Just in case, I uninstalled the Desktop App before going any further, and removed all traces of it from both the file system and the Windows Registry, restarted the machine for good measure, and reinstalled.

As soon as I started the registration process, the "affiliates.conf" file appeared on the device again, containing, once more, "affiliate=Whitcoulls".

I have tried numerous solutions to this. I noticed that if I reinstalled the Desktop App without doing another Factory Reset then it would allow me to login to my Kobo account, but as soon as it started synching to the device it would require me to overwrite the local account settings with the Whitcoulls account before continuing.

The closest I have come thus far is when I did the above, but before allowing it to synch, updated the User table in the device's database to contain my UserKey and Email address from the Desktop Apps database from before it overwrote the local account. This allowed me to see my (non-Whitcoulls) library, and even buy books through the store on the device - but it won't let me open them.

I can, of course, side load books, or download the books in my library using Digital Editions, but this doesn't let me synch my library between devices, or use the built in store on the device.

The Kobo Helpdesk have made suggestions such as "Reinstall the software" or "Merge your accounts", both of which will leave me with a device that is still tied to the Whitcoulls store - even if the account CAN be merged, since I would surmise that if Whitcoulls and Kobo shared Authorization / Authentication systems then I'd just be able to log in with my preferred account. By and large, they are not inspiring confidence that they even understand the problem.

This problem is driving me nuts. Could somebody help me, please?

Thanks,

Mike Norrish

Last edited by MikeNorrish; 03-03-2012 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:43 PM   #2
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Nobody? C'mon... I tried to make the story entertaining... Surely somebody else must have had a similar problem?
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:48 PM   #3
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bump for mike
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:43 PM   #4
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Hi Mike, please contact me directly at shasan at kobo dot com with your ticket # and we'll get you sorted.
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:35 AM   #5
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Legendary Thanks Sameer
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:32 AM   #6
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Hi Mike, I am having the same problem and have spent hours achieving nothing, only able to access my whitcoulls account and not able to sign into the kobo one. Was your problem resolved by Kobo, if so are you able to tell me how? thank you
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:04 PM   #7
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Hey man, sorry for the delay...

The problem was eventually resolved by Kobo sending me a replacement... Apparently individual devices are associated with a particular affiliate by a hardware (or possibly firmware?) level DeveiceID that the desktop client looks up when you register the device.

Did the problem occur for you only after doing a factory reset the way it did for me? That's the bit that makes me wonder whether the DeviceID is stored at the firmware level rather than in the hardware...

Anyway, Sameer & co were very helpful in getting me a replacement, and that's effectively solved my problem. The advice I've been giving to everyone who's asked me about the touch (and I continue to recommend it to my friends, since the device itself continues to be pretty nifty) is to buy theirs online directly from Kobo, rather than buying from Whitcoulls, to avoid the lock in... Meanwhile, a device that's locked to the Whitcoulls store still works fine with Adobe Digital Editions, so you can continue to load books from the Kobo store onto the device that way.
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:01 AM   #8
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Unhappy Kobo / Whitcoulls

Same problem for me when my Kobo Touch software was updated. I lost count of the number of times I did a factory reset and uninstalled Desktop and re-installed it. And each time I was editing the 'affiliates' file and changing it from Whitcoulls to Kobe. Eventually I managed to get to the Kobo logon page rather than the Whitcoull's one. I'm still not sure how that happened. That problem started in early August and my Touch was finally working again by late Sept. Unfortunately my problem has re-appeared this week when there was an auto update of the Desktop software to 3.0.4 The Kobo Desktop logon page is once again Whitcoulls and I haven't tried to sync my Touch for fear of losing the books that are onboard. I cannot find the file that determines the 'affiliate' on my PC so that I can change it.

I wish I had known that the 'affiliate' would be so indelibly recorded on the Touch and the PC. Like Mike, I bought my Touch from Whitcoulls because I was in NZ at the time and needed a replacement for my earlier Kobo reader.
Using the Kobo has turned into an ordeal. I may have to just accept that I have to read my e-books on my iPad
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:11 AM   #9
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Code:
C:\Users\<yourname>\AppData\Local\Kobo\Kobo Desktop Edition\affiliate.conf
(or similar location depending on where Windows has stored stuff).
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:40 AM   #10
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Thanks Peter
All good now; until next time. I don't suppose you know how I can change the affiliate in my Touch permanently do you? After a reset (or the last software update) the affiliate file isn't showing initially and by the time it shows and I've had time to edit it back to 'Kobo' the desktop has been changed too.
Anyway, thanks again. I'm up and away again so I should be content.
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:31 PM   #11
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Hmmm... Wonder how that gels with the hardware-lock explanation I got from Sameer... Maybe they've changed it since - it would make more sense than the old arrangement.

Also worth noting is that JB HiFi now carry the Kobo touch... JB aren't a book store (well... you can't really say Whitcoulls is either with a straight face - not anymore...), so I doubt they're tethered the way the Whitcoulls ones are.

Have yet to try them, but may investigate them when the glowy version is released here
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Old 10-14-2012, 02:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNorrish View Post
Apparently individual devices are associated with a particular affiliate by a hardware (or possibly firmware?) level DeveiceID that the desktop client looks up when you register the device.
This makes a lot of sense, since there's a revenue sharing element with bookstore partners.

It's got me thinking... I normally buy my Kobo devices from bookstores, but when I recently got my Kobo Glo I got it from Best Buy because they got it in significantly sooner than Chapters/Coles did locally. Are they just selling it as an unaffiliated device and Kobo gets all the revenues, or does Best Buy/Future Shop get a share? Because I buy a lot of books from Kobo, and it would be my preference not to share any of that revenue with BB/FS.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:21 PM   #13
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I'm thinking of buying a Kobo Glo to replace my Kobo Original (or whatever you call the very first Kobo that came out). I bought my Kobo Original from Whitcoulls but I didn't install the desktop software that came with it, instead I downloaded the desktop software from the Kobo website. When I ran it and created an account I ended up with a Kobo account and not a Whitcoulls account (which is what I wanted, as Whitcoulls seemed to be more expensive and didn't have the same range of books).

Anyway, now that I'm thinking of getting the Glo I'm wondering if I'll have problems if I buy it from Whitcoulls. Will it insist on me having a Whitcoulls account or will I be able to connect it to my Kobo account (which has some purchased ebooks associated with it)?

Maybe I should just buy it from JB HiFi and avoid the whole Whitcoulls thing, but it would be nice to get the points on my Whitcoulls loyalty card.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:47 AM   #14
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If you have an existing Kobo account, I think the odds of your being able to continue using it are quite good.
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