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Old 03-11-2014, 01:58 AM   #1
Alfy
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Kobo in trouble in Canada and the US

Hi everyone,

Found this in a couple of goodereader blogs:

The Canadian Government is Seeking to Destroy Kobo

Has Everyone Conceded the US Book Market to Amazon?

The second article is not Kobo centric (as you can guess from the title!), it still mentions how Kobo has closed its Chicago office and isn't investing in the US anymore.

As a Sony PRS-T1 owner, I'm looking at a very bleak future... Indeed, when it comes to magazine subscriptions, it looks as if I will HAVE to switch to the Kindle if I want to get them on my ereader in the future. As far as I'm concerned, we've gone from "not enough ebooks providers yet" to "not enough ebooks providers anymore" in a matter of half a decennium. It has got to be a record of some kind.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:30 AM   #2
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The Canadian Government has surely not just taken this action against Kobo. Amazon.ca and the Google play store in Canada has had the exact same pricing for almost every book on their sites almost all of the time.
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:14 AM   #3
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Ebook market share in the USA in a few years time

Amazon ~50%
Apple ~25%
Google ~15%
Whoever own the Nook: ~10%


Reply to the second link from the Passive Voice:

http://www.thepassivevoice.com/03/20...ket-to-amazon/

PG says one of most prominent characteristics of Amazon Derangement Syndrome is personalizing and demonizing Amazon, thus missing the forest for the trees.

Lets wipe Amazon from our minds for a moment, travel back to 1995 and ask whether the following would be good or bad for the book business as a whole:

Sharply reduced production costs for books
Deep cuts in the costs of distributing books
Increased per-unit profits for anyone who creates books arising from such cost reductions
A retail system that allows readers to instantly purchase books wherever they are, 24 hours per day
A system that allows readers to easily carry any number of books with them so they can read a book whenever they have a free moment
Reduced retail prices for books

PG contends ecommerce and ebooks should be seen as an unmitigated benefit for both those who create books and those who read them.

Whether the leading retailer is Amazon or someone else.
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Top100EbooksRank View Post
Ebook market share in the USA in a few years time

Amazon ~50%
Apple ~25%
Google ~15%
Whoever own the Nook: ~10%
How do you figure there will be zero percent market share for Smashwords/small press/Baen/subscription services/indies/etc? I get that they're not suddenly going to grab 50%, but I don't rate them at zero, especially in a market that's changing this quickly.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:08 AM   #5
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Ummmm ... ah... now there's a thing .... anyway ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfy View Post
Hi everyone,hicago office and isn't investing in the US anymore........................................... ........................
As a Sony PRS-T1 owner, I'm looking at a very bleak future... Indeed, when it comes to magazine subscriptions, it looks as if I will HAVE to switch to the Kindle if I want to get them on my ereader in the future. As far as I'm concerned, we've gone from "not enough ebooks providers yet" to "not enough ebooks providers anymore" in a matter of half a decennium. It has got to be a record of some kind.
As a great Sony fan, with the full set from 350 to T3, I can assure you all is well !
Just get Calibre on your PC/laptop and go from there - the Calibre Forum section is excellent, and very helpful (and Kovad is always there as a last resort !).
I can't praise Calibre highly enough, and I never use Reader et al on any Sony device. Do check it out.
And, really, you don't have to bother Kindling - especially, I must say, with a name like yours .............

You see, alfy, once you've sorted Calibre, go googlin' for - and this is for real, honestly - "Alf's Tools"................

I think you'll find it, shall we say, of interest ............
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:47 AM   #6
fjtorres
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The Kobo situation in Canada is hardly dire. The Goodereads site is known for... unstandard tactics, rumor-mongering, and outright troll click-bait.

The whole article is based on Kobo's woe-is-me lobbying attempt to get special treatment to let them keep on ripping off canadian customers.

Price-fixing is as illegal in Canada as in the US and EU; once the evidence from the US trial filtered through the Canadian legal system there was enough evidence of a parallel Canadian conspiracy to get the BPHs to settle. (Among other evidence, there is a documented agreement among the BPHs to approach Indigo to serve as their Canadian hub/coordinator the way Apple set things up in the US.)

Kobo is the dominant player in Canada and they like the status quo just fine so, of course, they want to keep on hobbling Kindle's operation as much as possible to avoid having to compete. And, since Canada is particularly sensitive (ahem, read: protectionist) in matters of "cultural significance" Kobo is raising the maple leaf flag to see if anybody salutes and they get further protection from the evil Amazon, by pretending their market share can evaporate overnight. And it just might work. Similar ploys by Indigoand others have worked just fine in the past.

The truth, of course, is that Kobo has as much lock-in control over its customer base as Amazon has over theirs and that with Sony bowing out and Nook stalling they are as secure in their domination in Canada as Kindle is in the US. Maybe more so because nobody in the US buys Kindle because it is run by an American country. And Nook can still end up in the hands of somebody competent enough to give Amazon and Apple a run for their money.

The claim that the Canadian government is trying to kill Kobo is as ludicrous as claims that the US DOJ is in Amazon's pockets. In both cases you simply have players on the wrong side of the law trying to spin facts to paint themselves as victims, attempting to retain their illegally obtained advantages. Advantages that come at consumer expense.

Mind you, Kobo might get what they want. But if they do, it won't be because they are woeful innocents; rather it would be because they have skillful li... er, lobbyists working for them.

Last edited by fjtorres; 03-11-2014 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:25 AM   #7
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Ebook sellers very well may not be able to match Amazon on pricing over the long haul, not if staying in business means making money on books and devices alone. Whether that is true for Rakuten owned Kobo remains to be seen. It depends on how Kobo/Rakuten chooses to play this out.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:11 AM   #8
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All the focus on pricing is silly.
You don't have to match Amazon on pricing to prosper. You do have to match them on user experience. If the catalog is comparable and the store is easy to navigate and you have good customer service, most customers won't mind a slightly higher price.
What goes unsaid when ebook vendors whinge sbout Amazon's ebook pricing is that they don't come close to matching Kindle in other, non-price areas.

Before agency, the rule of thumb was that some books were cheaper at amazon, some were cheaper elsewhere; now that the conspiracy is done, that is true once more. Competing doesn't mean you have to match every last Kindle price or even most of them. All it mean is you have to offer customers a comparable experience. Satisfy the cudtomer and they'll stay with you.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:57 AM   #9
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Yes, the Government (more accurately the Competition Bureau) shook off some of its inertia and took action against the publishers, who then agreed to a settlement. Kobo's argument is effectively that their business model is based on anti-competitive conduct that was enabled by the publishers, and they should be able to keep doing it, at the continued expense of Canadians.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:12 AM   #10
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As to Kobo's issues in the US...
Go to Rakuten's US website and see how deep you have to dig to find a mention of Kobo.
No need to go to Amazon.com for contrast, right?
Rakuten US has a fair amount of daily traffic and they promote lots of things, yet they can't spare a half inch to link to the Kobo site.

Kobo isn't showing up with knife to a gunfight; they're showing up unarmed to an artillery duel.
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
All the focus on pricing is silly.
You don't have to match Amazon on pricing to prosper. You do have to match them on user experience. If the catalog is comparable and the store is easy to navigate and you have good customer service, most customers won't mind a slightly higher price.
What goes unsaid when ebook vendors whinge sbout Amazon's ebook pricing is that they don't come close to matching Kindle in other, non-price areas.

Before agency, the rule of thumb was that some books were cheaper at amazon, some were cheaper elsewhere; now that the conspiracy is done, that is true once more. Competing doesn't mean you have to match every last Kindle price or even most of them. All it mean is you have to offer customers a comparable experience. Satisfy the cudtomer and they'll stay with you.
Exactly. The Kobo website is not very good - searching doesn't work well and Kobo won't even tell you the format of the book you want to buy. You can add it to your library to see the format, but this goes back to ease of use again. Kobo's customer service is not very good either. If they fix even just the website problems I think their business could do better. Also there is the problem that you can't use coupons on the big publishers in the US - after the publishers settled Kobo allowed coupons for a while and then stopped abruptly. I usually bought from Kobo because with coupons you could get a good deal and that is a pain now as well.
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:40 PM   #12
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They also make it very difficult to shop from them by not displaying the formats available. After buying three PDFs in a row I'm very reluctant to trust that I will actually get an epub from them. Amazon don't sell PDF's and neither should KOBO. The sooner they stick to a standard format the better.
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
All the focus on pricing is silly.
What goes unsaid when ebook vendors whinge sbout Amazon's ebook pricing is that they don't come close to matching Kindle in other, non-price areas.
Satisfy the customer and they'll stay with you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Kobo isn't showing up with knife to a gunfight; they're showing up unarmed to an artillery duel.
As usual, spot on. You'd do a far better job penning those articles than the guys at goodereader.


..... oh wait, that doesn't really sound like much of a compliment!
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:52 PM   #14
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I recognize and pay the "Kobo premium" because

1) a portion of that premium finds its way to my (US) indie bookstore.

2) paying lowest possible price is a race-to-the-bottom game which only leaves the biggest bear alive to shit in the woods as he will. Amazon's pricing is a loss-leader approach in an effort to be the last bear shitting.

3) Low hurdle to "tooling" my Kobo purchases. I occasionally read "tooling" chatter from Kindle owners and I'm frankly horrified at the idea of spending that much time trying to read my books and retain copies of what I've "bought" until _I_ decide I no longer have the need/space/time for them.

A higher price on an item isn't proof of price-fixing or collusion. It's the free market at work.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:51 PM   #15
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Congratulations to Goodereader on the "Exclusive". I guess that's easy to do when you don't get your facts correct.

They didn't take aim at Kobo.
http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/e...eng/03658.html

Quote:
February 7, 2014 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau has reached an agreement with four major ebook publishers that is expected to lower the price of ebooks in Canada.

Following an 18-month investigation into the ebook industry in Canada, the Bureau has signed a consent agreement with Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster. Canadian consumers will benefit from the agreement registered with the Competition Tribunal today, in that the Bureau expects that competition among retailers will increase, resulting in lower prices for ebooks.

The four publishers have agreed to remove or amend clauses in their distribution agreements with individual ebook retailers that the Bureau believes have the effect of restricting retail price competition, which will allow retailers to offer discounts on ebooks.

The Bureau alleges that the publishers engaged in conduct that resulted in reduced competition for ebooks in Canada, contrary to the civil competitor collaboration provision in section 90.1 of the Competition Act.

The Bureau’s investigation into the ebook industry in Canada continues at this time.
And it was law enforcement serving their mandate not the Canadian government seeking to destroy Kobo.

http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/e...g/h_00125.html
Quote:
The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

Headed by the Commissioner of Competition, the Bureau is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (except as it relates to food), the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.

The basic operating assumption of the Competition Bureau is that competition is good for both business and consumers.
The headline should have said, "Kobo is crying to the Competition Bureau of Canada because they don't want to have to fairly compete."
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