Indie authors account for at least one in four of the titles sold by Kobo in their major markets over the last year and the firm says this is a growing trend worldwide. It says 27% of Kobo sales in the US last year were for titles published through Kobo Writing Life, the indie figure for Canada was 25%, upwards of 30% of Kobo titles sold in Australia were from independent self-published authors, and 20% in the UK.
These new figures are revealed in Kobo’s Annual Book Report for 2019 which documents largely what readers in the firm’s home base of Canada have been reading on the platform.
Kobo counts reading time in minutes rather than pages and says users in Canada spent over 3,200 years reading in 2019. It adds that Ontario was the leading reading province with more than 735 million minutes while British Columbia and Alberta were at 270 million each.
The company says motivation and self-help topics are popular for audiobooks in Canada but fiction dominates on the list of popular ebooks.
August is the top-reading month when Canadians read the most, spending over 180 million minutes reading in peak summer, which is 18% higher than the next highest month which is May.
Kobo was set up in Canada in 2009 by the Indigo bookstore chain and was bought by Japanese conglomerate Rakuten in 2012 in a $300 million deal. The Kobo Writing Life self-publishing platform launched in 2012.
The company is reckoned to be particularly strong in Canada and linked up with Walmart in the US in 2018 to sell ebook readers and to supply the retailer’s ebook store.