BEA is the place for showing off a little, especially when it comes to new products or features. While this year’s event didn’t bring a new first-ever touch screen e-ink reader like Kobo sprung on the crowd last year, this year’s surprise package might be just as innovative, at least for authors and publishers.
At the Kobo roundtable discussion this morning, the ebook distributor announced their breaking news in the form of Writing Life, a new self-publishing program. Kevin Anderson discussed the company’s excitement about tools that provide up-to-date geographical data and real-time sales information.
For self-publishers, one of the most exciting features might be the ability to self-publish to every country that Kobo supports plus the ability for the authors to set the price in each of those countries. For larger publishers, this means they can watch the spike in sales by region if one of their authors is on a book tour, for example, allowing them to track the effectiveness of the signing events.
The real excitement from the Kobo team was the ability to provide users with real-time data.
“We want to give better data than everyone else,” said Kobo’s Michael Tamblyn.
“Helping the beginning writer is something we are focusing on,” said Mark LeFebvre, Director of Self-Publishing Services, explaining the importance of this development in terms of working with the indie authors as well. Writing Life supports a self-publishing learning center for novice self-publishers, while an additional feature that may be of importance to more seasoned indie authors is the notification system that informs authors each time their books are reviewed on GoodReads.
GoodEReader will be meeting one-on-one with the Kobo team within the hour, so more information on this new dashboard and its implications for the industry will be released later this morning.
A lot of the discussion from the audience for the panelists at this year’s BEA and IDPF Digital Book has focused on the dilemma of DRM versus DRM-free ebooks. With Writing Life, authors and publishers can opt to set the DRM status of the books themselves.
Writing Life is currently in beta launch, but the full launch is anticipated in just three weeks.