Kobo’s midweek announcement of a package of new add-ons and third-party service providers to support its Kobo Writing Life “one-stop, do-it-yourself publishing portal” may have been a little ill-timed with the blizzard of same-day Amazon news about the new Kindle. Still, Kobo is one of Amazon’s few remaining competitors as a hardware/software self-publishing combo, and as such, merits a look when it seeks to offer more for authors.
For a start, this is mostly a discount fest across a series of providers. Explains Kobo: “The Kobo Writing Life team has carefully vetted and pulled together a comprehensive offering of services – from cover design to eBook conversion to copyrighting – enabling writers to create the most professional written works. Exclusive rates, which represent savings ranging from 20 to 30 percent, have been negotiated for Kobo Writing Life authors.” In all, six service providers are bundled under the discounted “Kobo Writing Life Tool Kit,” including U.S. ISBN provider Bowker.
Some of the services are more useful than others. For instance, Digi-Rights‘ copyright registration and assessment services may not be first in line for most self-publishing authors’ needs. And overall, Kobo doesn’t exactly go out of its way to remind prospective authors that they can do almost every step of this process themselves, without spending anything.
Of course, professional services are a value add for any publishing effort, and very few successful self-published authors or self-publishing proponents now recommend spending nothing on your own publishing process. That said, it can be done. And you don’t need scams of Author Solutions magnitude to be very wary of how you spend your money as a self-published author, and what you spend it on. And if you are going to spend that money, do you want to do it to insert yourself into the Kobo Writing Life platform? Decisions, decisions.