Kobo vs. Amazon: an adventure in gifting

A few weeks ago, I announced that I would send a gift to my 5,000th blog follower. The lucky winner is Shalini at Shalini’s Books & Reviews (please go visit her!).

So we started chatting on Twitter to see which book she wanted, etc.
Shalini only reads ebooks, so I tried to be an informed customer and send her an ebook through Kobo, which she uses, among other platforms.

BUT Shalini does not live in the same country I live in. From previous experiences, I know it’s better to log in the country you want to send the ebook to, to be sure the recipient can open it.

So here I go to Kobo from that country.
First hurdle, the log in. I have a kobo account, but it would not recognize my log in. Even though I knew my password, I did a password reset, to pass that hurdle. So I would reset the password, and log in again, and each time it would tell me it didn’t work. It only took 5 times…

When I tried to check out, I discovered that I could only send an ebook to somebody living in the same country as the PURCHASE address!!
So I thought, what about an eGift card? I tried that, but the page says that it’s not available!!
It says I could buy one from another retailer, there was only 1 in that country. I went to that store. Well, no, they do not sell eGift Card, and not even any physical Kobo gift card.

So, I contacted Kobo – by the way, the chat box is not that easy to find – it doesn’t pop up right away in a corner.

The person who answered took a long time. They ended up telling me I had to change my billing address on kobo to be able to send an ebook to another country, that it would be the only way. So they wanted me to lie about my address, and make up a fake address in another country I do not live in? Unreal!!!

I thought we were living in a global world…

So I went to plan 2, and sent Shalini the ebook through amazon.

Time spent on kobo: 1H15 minutes – no purchase
Time spent on amazon: less than 1 minute – book purchased.

There’s a bit of work to do to be a decent competitor.
I’m all for supporting other stores than amazon, but it needs to be somewhat easier.

Storm of Secrets

Book chosen by Shalini



15 thoughts on “Kobo vs. Amazon: an adventure in gifting

  1. Oh, Kobo is absurdly noncompetitive. I have one of their devices but I never buy books from the store (just borrow from the library). I don’t want to succumb to Amazon dominance but geez, they are better at selling things.


  2. My first eReader was a Kobo, but I returned it as soon as set it up and had trouble with the store. So only had it for 5 days. Have had a Kindle ever since and have never had any problems with buying or sending books to others.


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  4. There’s a reason Amazon is so successful – it’s to do with their order fulfilment service which is second to none. They invested a huge amount in their back office technology to make this possible and set the bar that everyone else has tried to emulate. But they want to do it on the cheap and it doesn’t work…


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