Launch of Kobo Writing Life Self-Publishing Platform

Regular readers of this blog will be aware I’m a bit of a Kobo fan. They launched early into the Australian market (May 2010) and were my primary ebook store for this reason.

I had high hopes about the launch of their self-publishing platform – Writing Life. I’ve always been impressed at the depth of knowledge Kobo had about their readers. I  feel that Kobo get the publishing industry. I believe they are demonstrating the same care and knowledge when dealing with small publishers or authors starting their indie publishing journey.

There are now many options available to authors who want to self publish and I’ve been comparing them all recently. In one way or another they all seem to have pros and cons. So how does Kobo Writing Life stack up against some alternatives like Smashwords or BookBaby?

Cut to the chase?

My favourite thing about Kobo Writing Life is that authors are able to download their ePUB file after conversion. I believe strongly that authors and independent publishers should retain ownership of their files and materials. If you pay (and with everyone you will pay one way or another) for a service like conversion then you should own the files. This file can then be used for other retailers, book reviews or to share with friends and family.

Some options give you free conversion and take a cut of the sales. Others may charge for conversions and pass along sales.

Benefits of dealing with Kobo Writing Life?

  • Free conversion to ePUB.
  • The ability to download your ePUB file after conversion. I love this feature. Having the ability to download your ePUB after conversion gives Kobo an advantage over their competitors.  By giving an author their ePUB file they can then go on and upload this to Amazon, using the tool to convert it Amazon format. Most other retailers accept ePUB files. Importantly an author or publisher can also send out their ePUB file to whoever they want rather than needing to use coupons or other methods.

Once we have provided you with the converted file, it is yours to do with as you wish. The ePubs we create for vendors adhere to the standards as established by Editeur (the trade standards body for the global book supply chain) so any other service which utilizes the ePub standard should accept the files we create (unless of course, they have their own proprietary formatting restrictions). Stephen Troister, Vendor Relations, Kobo Books.

Just a little note of caution here: Any automatic conversion tool will work better if you go into it with really well formatted files so always follow instructions provided to get best results. Realistically you are likely to get a better result when you pay for professionally converted files.

  • Authors are able to view their conversions prior to going live to review and if necessary ask for any changes to be done.
  • Easy process and nice user interface. Kobo has always had a good clean design and great usability.
  • Their terms with an author are non-exclusive. Of course, you WOULD expect this but one recent self-publishing service launched in Australia tried to lock authors in!
  • New Kobo users and existing customers are easily able to register themselves as a self publishing author.

Formats for Conversion

  • They accept the following file formats for conversion: doc, docx, mobi, odt. You can also upload your own ePUB files.

Nice features of Kobo Writing Life

  • Your Ebook will be for sale on Kobo. Market share is hard to determine but Kobo may have something in the vicinity of 5-8% of the Australian ebook pie, perhaps the same internationally. (I’ve got no inside info there so I could be wrong) A Kobo insider has just told me they (Kobo) claim in excess of 15% of total eBook sales in Australia.
  • Like other web-based publishing tools an author is able to access and alter their metadata, geographical rights, and pricing.
  • Use of the the ‘Dashboard’ will enable an author to view live-time sales reporting. Using the Dashboard will enable you to send live your titles as well as un-publish them if you need to for some reason.
  • The ebooks will be available where you can currently purchase Kobo Books, ie their KoboBooks website; Angus & RobertsonWhitcoulls NZ; FNAC France; Chapters.Indigo in Canada (previous owners and creators of Kobo) and WH Smith in the UK.

The nitty-gritty

  • Small publishers and authors on Standard Terms can receive 45% of the Suggested Retail Price (SRP). This is in comparison to Amazon who pass on 35% of the List Price (comparable to the Suggested Retail Price). Both retailers can set the selling price actually paid by the user.
  • A Publisher can also deal with Kobo under their Independent Publishing Program and receive 70% of the SRP if they meet certain rules that include among others:
    • Setting their SRP between A$1.99-$11.99 or US$1.99-12.99. Amazon on their 70% option sets this as US$2.99-$9.99 so Kobo are giving a greater range here. Kobo lists other countries with their currency equivalents.
    • Ensuring their title is equal to the lowest price of other retailers. It actually says ‘less than or equal to the lowest price provided by Publisher to other retailers’. However, this is important to watch because if you also sell through Amazon then they want the same benefit of ensuring they have no one else selling lower!.You will need to ensure your prices are consistent or incur problems as each retailer then drops the price, then drops it again!
  • Although the program shares a 70% share it can’t really be compared with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Program with the same % because:
    • Kobo doesn’t appear to be charging for downloads as Amazon do on the 70% royalty options.
    • Unlike Amazon, Kobo offer the 70% option for Australian sales. The Amazon 70% royalty is available in specific countries as outlined here. They are Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, Spain, United Kingdom (including Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man), United States, Vatican City.
    • Now, it is likely that Australian or New Zealand authors would more sales through the US and UK so perhaps this isn’t a deal breaker. However if they had dreams of huge Australian sales then it’s important to understand they will (currently) only be able to get the 35% royalty on Amazon.
    • The Amazon 70% royalty option needs your price on Amazon to be 20% lower than any ‘physical’ (ie print) edition of your book on sale anywhere.

As with Kobo currently:

  • There is ‘social reading’ enabled so readers can share short quotes on social media. Kobo is also offering authors the chance to interact with their readers through Kobo Pulse. This allows readers to ask you questions, comment on the title and discuss with other readers. That sounds good if you want to interact with your readers!


  • Your ebook will only be on sale on Kobo and their partners are listed above. Kobo are in the top 3 eBook sellers globally behind Amazon and Apple. Note: Kobo reports that they are #2 except in the US.
  • You will need to supply ePUB to other retailers that you wish to deal with (ie Amazon and Apple). If that seems like a whole lot of work then read read the next paragraph.

Other parths to Kobo sales

As KoboBooks clearly makes clear in their FAQ’s it is possible to deal directly with their partners to get your content onto Kobo and other retailers. Their partners include:

  • Smashwords (US)
  • Author Solutions (US)
  • eBookit (US)
  • Book Pod (Australia) Interesting as I thought did only printed book services!
  • Book Hub (US)
  • Fast Pencil (US)
  • eBook Partnership (UK)
  • Book Baby (US)
  • Bookmasters (US)
  • National Book Network (US)


This is a brand new service being offered by Kobo. Naturally things will be added on and changed over time.  Every service for authors has a slightly different offering. BookBaby charge for conversions but pass on 100% of sales – and have Amazon distribution. Smashwords do free conversions and take a cut of sales but don’t have Amazon. And so forth for other options.

If you want to take the short route with minimal hassle then BookBaby or Smashwords would be the go. If you want to maximise every dollar you make then I would dealing with Kobo and their sales % advantage. THEN take your ePUB file and deal directly with Amazon (converting it to their format). Alternatively take that ePUB file to Book Baby and do retail distribution through them but ensuring you ‘uncheck’ the Kobo distribution.

It all comes down to how much work you are prepared to do yourself and how much you want to outsource! Naturally there are numerous ways to convert your ebook and get it on sale (all service operations, managing your own conversions via a designer or conversion specialist etc). In fact the list of options available is getting so long that it’s harder for authors to decide.

Of course (to state the obvious) it is necessary to EDIT the work before you even start conversions and comparing retail channels. If a writer hasn’t done that yet then they should go back and get edited before proceeding any further. A link here to my favourite post about why you need to edit!

Kobo Writing Life seems a valid and sensible option to creating your ebook file and having access to a smart mover in the ebook space. If authors or publishers want Apple distribution – and no doubt they will – then it’s easy to take their ePUB file there as well as to Amazon for conversion to their format.

Updated 18/07/12: Thanks to reader Paul for pointing out this User Guide for Kobo Writing Life.

Added 18/07/12: Here is a link to information from Kobo on how to obtain an ISBN: Kobo_HowDoIGetAnISBN

Updated 26/07/12: Kobo Writing Life FAQ’s.

What do you think of the new Kobo Writing Life platform?

51 thoughts on “Launch of Kobo Writing Life Self-Publishing Platform

    • Hi Paul, I believe there is no such thing as a silly question! Yes, Kobo mention it in point 7 of their FAQ’s ‘What is an eISBN and how do I get one?’. Some retailers don’t require you to have an ISBN but you should. The only exception would be if you only (for instance) intended to ever sell through Amazon – a move that would limit your distribution. And frankly, I would STILL suggest you have an ISBN.
      Link to KWL FAQ (and look at point 7):
      Link to International ISBN Agency to locate where to buy your ISBN:

        • Thanks Paul for the link to the User Guide. I saw that during Beta testing but this (and Terms and Conditions) currently seem hard to find. I’ll include the link in the main post at the bottom for the benefit of other readers.

      • Thanks. That’s interesting. Actually, that’s a negative against Kobo. Depending on the country where the publisher lives, ISBN numbers are horrendously expensive. American authors can get ISBN number relatively cheaply; others have to buy from agencies that charge a lot. For many small independently publishing authors, the ISBN will cost more than they’ll ever earn from their book.

        Amazon’s ASIN and Smashwords’ free ISBN are valid compromises. It’s disappointing that Kobo won’t help with this.

        So non-US authors are yet again at a disadvantage. 🙁

        Rayne Hall

        • Hi Rayne
          I have to say that I don’t agree with your point about ISBN’s.
          1. I don’t agree that US authors can get relatively cheaply. The doc from Kobo outlines costs and I recently did a comparison. I note that you appear to currently reside in the UK (according to your Amazon author profile). As I understand it in the UK you need to buy 10 ISBN’s at £121.98 (approx. A$186). A US author can buy only one at US$125 (approx. A$123.50) or 10 at US$250 (approx. A$247). New Zealand authors are the luckiest of all as they get them free as long as they deposit a copy of their ebooks with their National Library and Australian authors need to pay a once-only registration free of A$50 and then A$40 for one or $80 for ten.
          2. I do not agree that using Smashwords ISBN is advisable. I recognise it’s a good deal $ wise but each ISBN has a ‘Publisher-code’. If you use their ISBN then with some retail partners THEY will be listed as the Publisher. As a self-publisher is that what you want?
          3. The ASIN version is in a way possible with Kobo. You DON’T need an ISBN, you can use a ‘dummy code’. But some other retail partners will require you to have an ISBN.
          To summarise: My opinion, and it IS only an opinion is that is you want to self publish you need a professional approach and that includes investment like editing, ISBN etc. Not all authors do so, and that is their choice. My advice to all authors though is always to buy your own ISBN, invest in professional editing and be a Publisher.

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  2. “Kobo doesn’t appear to be charging for downloads as Amazon do on the 70% royalty options.”

    It should be noted that Amazon includes free (to the customer) cellular data connections with several of their U.S. Kindle models (I don’t know the situation in other countries). Someone has to pay for that. 🙂

    Note also that if you send your own documents to your Kindle, Amazon doesn’t charge anything if you’re on wifi, but does charge if you’re on cell. Again, that’s presumably because Amazon, in turn, has to pay the telco for that data.

    • Thanks for your comments on downloads. As I understand this the ‘download’ costs can severely impact the amount received by the author or publisher – making the high royalty not high at all! It’s great to hear your comments about the cellular data connections and sending your own documents. I may need to look into this a little bit more!

  3. I’m wondering how Kobo pays the authors. This is a big problem with Amazon: Amazon discriminates against non-US authors on several levels, by giving US authors privileges that are witheld from others. US nationals get to choose which currency they want, whether they want paper cheques or electronic payments ( these choices apply even for the international Amazons – but only for US authors!), a low payout threshold etc. Many non-US authors never get their money from Amazon because their earnings don’t exceed the threshold for international authors ($100) and even those who get paid have to pay exorbitant banking fees to pay in the foreign currency cheque because Amazon doesn’t pay non-US authors electronically. Many British and international authors HATE Amazon because of this gross discrimination. I wonder if Kobo is different. If Kobo treats international book publishing authors fairly, I’m in favour!

    • Hi Rayne, thanks for asking such great and detailed questions! I have a copy of their Terms and Conditions and even I can’t find the answers to all of these queries at first glance so I have forwarded to a contact at Kobo and will report back when they answer.
      What I can tell:
      (a) They also seem to have a minimum of US$100 that needs to be accrued.
      (b) Accounts are paid bi-annually.
      I’ll come back to you regarding the currency and how they pay (cheque v’s electronic payment)

    • Hello Rayne, I’ve got an answer from a contact at Kobo as follows:
      “We pay monthly – provided the author reaches $100. If they don’t reach $100 that amount goes to the next month. But we make sure, regardless of how much is in the account, we pay it out every 6 months. (ie, if you make $5 a month for 6 months, after the 6th month we’d deposit your $30.
      – We do EFT – IBAN code for those in the UK, Swift/Routing for North America. Bank deposits are the most efficient way.
      – The link to the Terms and Conditions is found under ‘My Account’.”
      I hope that answers your questions.

      • Thanks! I appreciate that you asked Kobo on my behalf.

        This is interesting, and it sounds like Kobo plans to treat international authors better than Amazon does.

        It’s also interesting that Kobo replied and answered those questions – because Amazon doesn’t. Several authors, myself included, have repeatedly asked Amazon to justify their discrimination against international authors, requested they treat all authors equally, and asked what we need to do be heard. Our requests were ignored (or rather: they received copy-pasted replies which didn’t help at all).

        I plan to give Kobo a try.

        I hope Kobo will be very successful. Amazon needs a strong competitor to keep them honest; Amazon’s various attempts to gain a monopoly and to strangle authors’ independence are very worrying. None of the other competitors is strong enough to prevent Amazon from becoming a ruthless tyrant.

        If Kobo is ethical and fair, and grows strong, this will be in the interest of authors, of readers, of book buyers, of publishers, of the worldwide publishing industry, and of the freedom of enterprise.

        Rayne Hall

        • I believe that as the latest entrant to the self-publishing platform that Kobo has probably sat down and looked at what the competition are currently offering and tried to give themselves a point of difference. Or perhaps that is just what I would do! I have not heard the negative feedback about Amazon you mention so it is interesting to hear your opinion.

  4. Hey Anna. I’m just getting my toes wet over here in Nova Scotia – and I enjoyed reading your article enough to follow your blog and to re-blog this page at my own blog. I’ve got a few of my followers who are interested in writing through the Kobo and I’ve passed the word on that your blog is a great spot to learn a bit more about using Kobo Writing Life. I’ll definitely keep an eye on your entries.

    • Hi Steve, thank you for visiting and leaving your comment. Thanks also for re-blogging and saying kind things about the blog to your readers! Come back and let me know how you find Kobo Writing Life – I see you were Beta testing.

  5. I’ve just checked that “User Guide” and I must say, I’m unimpressed. The people who wrote this seem not very knowledgeable about either publishing or English language.
    They require a “Synopsis” to be published. Yikes! A synopsis (a summery of the books content including how it ends) would put readers off. All that’s needed is a blurb (an enticing brief description that doesn’t give the ending away). I think someone doesn’t know what a synopsis is.
    Embarrassingly, they even talk of “synopsises” – apparently they don’t even know that the plural for “synopsis” is “synopses” and don’t know where to look it up.
    My opinion of Kobo has just dropped a notch.

    • Hello Rayne
      Thanks for having opinions and entering into debate. Clearly I didn’t write the guide, nor have I gone through it in such detail, nor am I an editor! I make typos at times, and use poor grammar at times on my blog. As we all do. As in fact you did with your spelling of the word summary above when you spelt it as ‘summery’. Having run a Production Department of one of the major publishing houses I know that typos DO occur no matter how professional the editing team – they are humans after all.

      I would agree with you that the plural of synopsis would be synopses.

      I don’t agree with you that a synopsis includes the end. I’ve checked several dictionaries to double check my facts and they all seem to say the same thing: It is a summary or an outline.

      I would focus more on the services that Kobo or any self-publishing partner offer rather than the user guide language. As I mentioned in the original post this is a new service. Having launched several smaller online projects myself I know that it is a mad and crazy time bug-testing and everyone works around the clock. I have no idea if this is the case, but I’d assume that is the case with Kobo.


      • As a codicil may I just say that the people involved in the production and creation of Kobo Writing life do indeed have extensive publishing and english language experience.

        I have alerted our grammar patrol team to the issue

        While in my experience a synopsis can be used to give a brief review without giving away an ending I have forwarded Rayne’s gripe to the team.

  6. What if you discover that there is a selfpublishing platform, namely Narcissus, doing the job of distributing your ebook to all relevant ebook stores (Kobo included), at zero cost (with an optional cost to get a professional epub), leaving the ownership of the epub to the author, paying 60% to the author for every single transaction, allowing the author to define the price, supplying a real time report for every single title and every single store?
    Have a look:

    (disclaimer: I am the founder and CEO of Simplicissimus Book Farm, the company behind Narcissus).

    • Hello Antonio,
      What I would say is that the more options for authors the better the situation! From what I’ve read in various Kobo documents they are equally happy for an author to go through various aggregators or platforms to have their information on Kobo 🙂 And other retailers for that matter! The main thing is that authors have choices and options. I see that Narcissus also offer additional services to enable authors to produce quality materials which is wonderful.

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  8. Thanks for the tips on getting the ISBNs Ms. Anna. We frequently get this question from clients and I’m stumped on how to respond unless they are in the USA (from Bowker and ISBNs are expensive) or Thailand (they are free here, you just have to fill out a form). Thank you for this excellent resource and sharing your knowledge and expertise on the matter.

    In regards to the EPUB conversion from a .doc,we tried it out yesterday on Kobo’s Writing Life. It looks like Kobo is using Calibre to convert Word documents to EPUB (you can tell by examining the metadata within the EPUB package that is produced). This is problematic for a number of reasons: poor-quality Table of Contents, formatting anomalies, and lack of design control on the eBook. I’m not disparaging Calibre, and I think it’s a great open source tool for readers. However, it isn’t really designed to be an eBook production tool.

    It’s great that Kobo is allowing direct EPUB uploads (unlike Smashwords), which means this is an opportunity for publishing houses, small presses, and independent authors to improve the standards of eBook quality. The source manuscript should be converted first to HTML, styled with CSS, and then put together in the EPUB package. We have some tutorials on our company’s website on how to accomplish this. For authors not particularly tech-savvy or interested in doing this, I would suggest contracting someone to perform these services for you (should be no more than $100).

    Readers deserve better than what is currently on the eBook market. Compared to writing, editing, and marketing, it’s not expensive or terribly difficult to design an eBook with proper formatting. However, neglecting this aspect of the publishing process can result in poor reviews and reader dissatisfaction.

    • Hi Paul, thanks for your comments and kind words! It’s an interesting strategy of BB eBooks to offer tools to authors to enable them to learn how to create better ePUB ebooks. As I understand it the Kobo conversion package uses a variety of open source conversions tools. It is not altogether surprising to hear that Calibre is in the mix.

      I absolutely agree with you that an excellent conversion is currently best obtained by hand coding or customisation. The ‘meat-grinder’ tools, no matter how good they are will inevitably have some drawbacks. I believe that some pro-conversion processes use Calibre and then hand-tweak. Amongst many other approaches of course!

      Your point about small presses and indies uploading ePUBs directly is true. They have the potential to lift standards. I always say in my talks that hand-coding is still getting the best result. It’s hard for authors with all the investment they need to make in their work, but it is important to lift the standards of self-publishing as a whole. I feel very strongly about the need for professional editing for the same reason.

      I like to think that in the future there will be a new ‘classification’ of authors who publish directly but choose a-la-carte the professional services they need to produce their title. These will include editorial, design, conversion, marketing and financial. Obviously these require an investment not possible for some writers but at the very least I believe editing is imperative.

      • Editing is definitely the most important. Unfortunately, it’s also the most expensive. I agree that right now hand-coding for design with the help of scripts, regular expressions, and some other nerd stuff is the best. However, who knows what the future holds.

  9. Pingback: The Week In Writing and Publishing 22nd July 2012 | A Writer's Quest

  10. Very informative post and comments, I’d be interested in seeing what you have to say about our relatively new US platform, Kbuuk. We just entered the game in March, and we’re competing in a very, I’ll go with “interesting” space. If you feel so inclined, I would love for you to check us out and give some feedback. Also, if you would like to get in touch with me direct


  11. Pingback: – Launch of Kobo Writing Life Self-Publishing Platform « Digireado « Oregonmike98

  12. The launch of their new platform is fantastic stuff – I’ve taken a look and it just feels better and is easier to use than Amazon’s rather stodgy interface. That said…

    …does anybody know what Kobo’s position is on W8-BEN? I’m from the UK, so if a work is sold in the US, I am default subject to 30% withholdings on net sales. I have previously (with Amazon and with third party distributors), supplied the required W8-BEN form to ensure that I don’t get charged – but on looking at the writinglife site there is nothing to explain what needs to be done for Kobo. Amazon has this – (I think you need to be logged in, apologies), which has an address to send the completed form to – but Kobo has nothing.

    It seems odd that there isn’t any info on this. I’d love to publish directly to Kobo – but until they either update their position/provide a place to mail the relevant forms – I’ll have to go with a third-party distributor who I know won’t take 30% of my sales.

    Anybody with any info that might help?

    • Thanks Colin for a great question. To be honest I can’t find the information on their site either so I’ve asked them and I’ll report back the answer. In the meantime you may find this blog post useful by author Brian Lawrenson who has shared his story of how to deal with what we call ‘Withholding Tax’.
      Withholding Tax USA: Author Brian Lawrenson shares his guide:

      • That’s great – thanks for doing the followup.

        That is also a good blog post – as for ourselves, we are sitting pretty on all the paperwork (it was relatively straightforward).

      • Wowser – that does change things. For some reason I always thought Kobo was an American company that was then bought out. Silly brain!

        Not sure if it is a 100% non-issue yet – it would be good to know if there is a withholding tax to non-Candian/non-residents (I see has some info, but I don’t know if this is the right thing to be looking at, especially as it is from the originator perspective and not the perspective of a non-native business).

        It is probably worthwhile seeing if your contact can come back with an update – that way it is on a more sure footing.

        (I suspect they are getting hit quite badly with questions – my question to them about withholding tax was sent ten days ago – and apart from an automated thank-you, I’ve heard nothing back).

      • Just a quick follow-up – after prodding their support system again today, I got the response.

        “To answer your question, no we do not withhold any tax on e-book sales.”

        Happiness abounds.

        • Great to hear that Colin! Sorry I didn’t reply earlier but we’re on different time zones! Your previous comment about the lag in response from Kobo to your earlier query was not great to hear. I imagine they have been very busy but glad to hear you have got the answer you needed. Apologies that the fact they were not a US co. didn’t occur to me straight away 🙂 even though I knew this of course!

  13. There are so many e-publishing outfits, so many complications! My dream is an e-bookstore that will take my books in PDF format (which I can do myself, including the cover), and display them so people can order them directly from me. They could take a percentage, but no involved contracts. I doubt it will ever be this easy.

    • Hi Molly, thanks for sharing your dream! I like the simplicity of it but don’t like PDF as a format for ebooks as I want to read them on a variety of devices (my smartphone and my iPad) so the lack of scrolling is an issue.

      We’d all love a landscape without involved contracts. However, if there was a disagreement about that percentage you are happy for them to take then lack of contracts outlining exactly what each side would deliver and be responsible for would be an issue for each side.

      Don’t give up on your dreams though!


  14. Kobo has great books, but unfortunately, your readers cannot find them due to the worst possible search engine I have ever seen. Try searching their site for your own books and see what happens. Also, the retailer lacks any sub-categories that would normally give you an advantage on amazon, so you can’t even have your book in any category with less than 3000 other titles. The odds of someone spending 3 days to peruse through that many books until stumbling upon yours is, well… Great to see so many writers sharing their work, but for now, amazon has of the other beat hands down!

    • Hi John, thanks for your comment.

      I’d like to respond to your last comment up front. I don’t think that as a writer you should limit yourself to one retail distribution partner. Amazon have the majority of the market, it makes sense to have your title there. Kobo is allegedly #2 outside the US, it makes sense to have your title there and using them you can get access to an ePUB to use (via conversion tool) on Amazon. In my opinion that is a sensible approach but everyone makes their own decisions.

      I do agree that Amazon has a great search engine. Building a really good search engine is a lot of work, and the complex algorithms need a lot of refining. Amazon have had a bit of a head start there in working on them and I expect everyone else (Kobo included) would be working on improving this area.

      However Amazon also has a lot of content to sift through and their sub categories do help with that. I think it comes down to how people discover your content. While being up in the top of the bestsellers may help sales, how many actually sift down lower? Much lower? And how how many people stumble across your content this way compared to the hard work of helping them discover you? these are all interesting marketing questions and the ASA How to Publish Your Own Ebook series of workshops I’ve been blogging about covers Marketing tonight!

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  16. Cannot find out why in setting up my account with the KOBO folk the banking set up procedure does not recognize the swift/routing number my bank gave me. No help, no where to look after 2 hours min of looking on line until I found this site. Any ideas anyone???

    regards Mike

  17. As a point of interest, the reason Kobo do not withhold tax is because they are treating the payments correctly as publishers compensation, and there is no withholding tax on publishers compensation. There is however withholding tax on royalties, both in Canada and the US.

    Where Amazon are not publishing the book themselves, they should also be treating the payment as publishers compensation from which there is no withholding tax (although Amazon describes the payments as royalties on your dashboard and payment advice, if you check the contract, it is publishers compensation). But for some reason, they have not been able to agree with the US tax authorities the correct treatment (I believe that this may be due to the fact that in a few cases Amazon are acting as publisher, in which case the payments are royalties, and in most other cases they act as distributor, in which case the payments are publishers compensation, and the authorities do not want to go to the trouble of distinguishing between the two).

    Smashwords did try to get this sorted out some time ago, but it appears they have not been successful to date.

    • Thanks George for taking the time to comment on this and share your experiences. You’ve obviously looked into this very thoroughly!
      Appreciate you coming to the blog and commenting. Anna

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