Lefebvre Explains Kobo


Mark Leslie Lefebvre. 2018. Killing It on Kobo: Leverage Insights to Optimize Publishing and Marketing Strategies, Grow Global Sales, and Increase Revenue on Kobo. Waterloo, Ontario: Stark Publishing Solutions.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

When I recently learned that Kobo is a Canadian company owned by a Japanese firm, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about it. Kobo’s active support for Indie authors just added to my curiosity.


In his book, Killing It on Kobo, Mark Leslie Lefebvre writes

“My aim is to leverage my expertise [as Direct of Self-Publishing and Author Relations at Kobo] to help benefit authors and publishers looking to optimize their own engagement with this global retailer.” (13)

Because Kobo internationally to compete with Amazon in markets outside the United States, authors and publishers looking to expand their international sales will naturally want to know more about it.

 Background and Organization

Lefebvre lives in Waterloo, Ontario and is a college graduate and author who first published in 1992. He has extensive experience in the Canadian book world, as evidenced by his having been President of the Canadian Booksellers Association. He has worked for Kobo and organized their online service, Kobo Writing Life—among other things.[1] For those new to international book sales, it is significant that Canadians read more and buy more books per capita than U.S. residents. This makes Lefebrvre’s background and experience interesting.

Lefebvre writes in fifteen chapters:

  1. Introduction
  2. My Path to Kobo
  3. Kobo 101
  4. Navigating the Basics of Kobo Writing Life
  5. Optimizing Pre-Order Sales
  6. The Humans Behind Kobo and Kobo Writing Life
  7. Kobo’s Global Sales and Bestelling Categories
  8. Price Optimization
  9. Taking Full Advantage of the ‘No CAP” on 70% Royalties
  10. The Power of Free
  11. Catching a Kobo Merchandiser’s Eye
  12. The Kobo Writing Life Promotional Tool
  13. Additional Revenue Opportunities via Kobo
  14. Other Details and Hacks
  15. Conclusions

Prior to the chapters is a disclaimer; after are resource and readings for more details.


Book marketing guides often make interesting reading for their little details and special insights because Indie publishers often need to make business decisions without a lot of guidance.  Advice is often hard to come by in a straightforward way because of the fast pace of changes in online book publishing, marketing, and distribution. Consequently, it is helpful to read case studies of how informed market players approach decisions.

For example, Lefebvre talks about setting ebook prices. He suggests considering three elements: 1. An average among competing titles, 2. Consider the price of your paperback or competing paperbacks, and 3. Consider issues relating to your author brand (120-125). Given these three considerations, a price can be chosen.

My ebooks are all $4.95, a kind of Goldilocks price having heard guidance from Amazon. While Lefebvre suggests that my price is in the right ballpark for the U.S. market, Canadian and Australians might find my prices cheap because paperback books are mostly imported and cost a lot more in those markets. Rounding to the nearest 99 in local currencies makes sense in most markets, but in Europe the nearest 49 or 99 EUR are equally accepted (132-34).


Mark Leslie Lefebvre’s Killing It on Kobo is a helpful and readable guide to working with Kobo. It is interesting primarily to authors and publishers wanting to publish in the world market outside of Amazon.


[1] http://markleslie.ca/about/

Lefebvre Explains Kobo

Also see:

Books, Films, and Ministry

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com


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