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Ninc Newsletter

July 2013   •  Vol. 24, No. 7   •  Download pdf version

The Kobo Writing Life:
A Contract Review


Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of three articles examining the publishing contracts of the Kobo, Nook Press, and Amazon Kindle digital publishing programs. The series was prompted by NINC member requests for clarification of certain contract provisions and is offered for educational purposes.

Bob Stein

At the request of Novelists, Inc. I have read the Kobo Writing Life Independent Publishers Program Terms & Conditions — last updated August 2, 2012 (the “Kobo Contract”) — which appears online at, as well as the Kobo Content Policy, Privacy Policy, and Terms of Use.

In this article I will express my personal opinions as to what I consider to be the most important provisions of the Kobo Contract, and as to how the Kobo Contract differs from the form contracts used by traditional large New York print publishers. I will also touch lightly on the other documents mentioned above. Note: this is not intended to be an exhaustive review of each and every sentence in the various documents… just those provisions I consider most significant to most authors.

For the same reason, if you are thinking of publishing your book(s) via Kobo, you should of course read the Kobo Contract and its attachments, rather than relying solely on this article.

Table of Contents

President’s Voice: “The Author’s World”
     Includes a Beach
NINC 2013 Conference:
     Is Your Business a Family Business?
     Literary Legal Counsel at NINC 2013 Conference
Kindle Worlds = Worlds Burning?
When Bad Meditation Inspires Better Writing
Forensic Files: Murder by Transfusion Reaction
Writing Is Taxing:
     Could Forming an S Corp Save You Money?
Not Your Usual Writing Advice:
     A Sometimes Unwelcome Guide
The Mad Scribbler: Oz


First, I should state the obvious: the Kobo Contract is designed to permit publication of an author’s work in ebook form only — and only for reading on the Kobo eReader device and on computers and other devices using Kobo software. The Kobo contract does not provide for any print publication.

“Publisher” versus “Author”

The Kobo Contract refers to the person providing the work for publication by Kobo as the “Publisher” of the work, rather than as the “Author.” Kobo considers the author to be the publisher, using the Kobo platform to publish the author’s work.      Continued on page 6


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