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Kobo UK Fiasco

Kobo UK Fiasco

kobo-read-unfreely

Longstoryshort: Kobo UK have pulled most self-published and many small press titles from their store, including all of my novels and both Plan B anthologies. In a related situation, WHSmith (UK) closed their entire online bookstore for a time and they appear to have removed all ebooks upon reopening. Whitcoulls‘ (NZ) ebookstore is still closed as of writing.

The rest of the story:

In what I am confident is going to be regarded as one of the most bone-headed decisions in a while, Kobo UK has chosen the nuclear option in response to a, frankly, ridiculous move from UK bookseller WH Smith. In what really reads as bad parody, the Daily Mail published a bit of yellow journalism about erotic titles available at WH Smith via Kobo. WH Smith had a shit fit and closed their entire online store then Kobo responded by removing all books published via Draft2Digital, as well as many via Smashwords and their own WritingLife program.*

Books removed include self-published titles as well as titles published through traditional publishers who use the same distribution services. Because Kobo redirects users to their local site based on IP address, it isn’t immediately evident to authors and publishers outside the UK if their books have been removed. I did some investigating using a UK VPN and found that my books have all been taken down in the Kobo UK store.

Here’s a screenshot of the New Zealand Kobo storefront:

A search for "Wehm" in the New Zealand Kobo store

A search for “Wehm” in the New Zealand Kobo store

Here’s what UK Kobo users will see:

A search for "Wehm" in the New Zealand Kobo store

A search for “Wehm” in the New Zealand Kobo store

I guess I should count myself as lucky that the freebies that were scraped off the Internet Archive are still there.

This is, obviously, outrageous. Kobo, WHSmith and Whitcoulls should all be ashamed of themselves.

*Much of the details come from David Gaughran’s post here.

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