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Kobo Writing Life Podcast

The Kobo Writing Life Podcast brings you insights and inspiration for growing your self-publishing business. We feature interviews with bestselling authors and industry experts, who share practical advice you can use to improve your writing and sell more books. Hosted by the Kobo Writing Life team, you'll also get the latest news and updates about Kobo and the KWL platform. Self-publish today at

Apr 11, 2016

In this episode, Christine takes you behind the scenes at Kobo to hear from colleagues on five different Kobo teams who each play a different role in getting eBooks to customers and analyzing data post-publication. Tune in to hear from:

Chris, KWL Development

  • “Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for our users to publish their content, and then after that do as much as possible to drive the success of those published titles.”
  • How does the dev team manage to wrangle KWL’s seemingly never-ending list of features and ideas we want to implement? He has to balance new projects with maintaining and testing the current platform, and evaluating the necessity and value of each new idea.
  • With each new to-do item, he needs to collaborate with the rest of the broad Kobo team to make sure we can support these changes from a data and software perspective.

Sarah, Content Analytics

  • Why and how you should measure the halo effect of promotions and price changes.
  • Learning what prices sell well in different countries - certain geos are more price-sensitive than others, and you can adjust your territory pricing accordingly. For example, US and UK shoppers are used to paying less for eBooks, while readers in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are more willing to pay more.

Ben, QA & Content Display

  • Ben's main responsibility involves seeing content coming in and deciding whether or not it's ready to go for sale to customers. When the answer is no, his team works to problem solve, find bugs, and support fixes.
  • Common errors found during the QA process: all content lumped in chapter 1; mismatched file uploaded for the title (ex Book 2 in a series instead of Book 1); missing or out of order chapters; low image quality.
  • Ben's favourite QA lingo. Aren't you dying to know what an obfuscated font is?

Patricia, Publisher Operations

  • The detective work of PubOps, who are always working to answer a question from a publisher, another internal team, or retail partner. Why hasn't a price changed? Why isn't a book for sale? Why has this eBook failed QA testing?
  • Why Patricia likes projects that involve launching in a new territory - a large cross-functional team basically gets to recreate Kobo, and rebuild the catalogue, in a short period of time.

Jared, Big Data

  • Reading data that Kobo collects and analyzes. How we're currently using it for our readers - to show them patterns in how they read, when they read, and help them set reading goals.
  • How we hope to share it with authors and publishers to help improve content and sales.


Do you have a question about what it takes to run a digital retail company that we didn't answer here? Leave a comment on our blog at

Thanks for listening!