Friday, December 20, 2013

Amazon or Kobo?

I'm struggling with reviewer's block. An extremely severe case. My best efforts at writing any new reviews come down to me scribbling "Is good" in crayon over my notes, and I can barely even manage that. So I'm taking a bit of a break, playing with new toys (I just got a Kobo Glo) and buying all the books.

The arrival of the Kobo Glo sparked an idea. I've compared Kobo and Amazon's ebook prices in the past, but that was based on a random sample of ebooks and might not have been all that indicative of general usage, especially since it didn't take Kobo's discount coupons into account. Armed with the list of 78 ebooks I've purchased during the year from Kobo (excluding those not available on both platforms) I've decided to revisit that comparison.

The list of ebooks would be too long to repeat here so I'm just going to post the totals from each retailer and the total of my actual purchases using Kobo's discount coupons. Amazon charges in USD, so prices where converted to ZAR using an exchange rate of R10.41.

Amazon:R 10465.59
Kobo (retail)R 9533.17
Kobo (with coupons)R 1831.58

While Amazon offered the cheapest prices for 18 of the 78 (23%) titles purchased, they turned out to be the most expensive overall. Based on the retail prices Kobo was still 9.87% cheaper than Amazon, but the most remarkable difference come into play when you take the Kobo discount coupons into account. Over the year I've used lots of discount coupons ranging from 35% to 95% off, and the end result shows what a huge saving their cumulative effect can have. With the coupons taken into account Amazon is 571.57% more expensive than Kobo!

When deciding on which ereader to choose you have to pay attention to the hardware device itself, but a far more important consideration is the actual content store the device is tied to. In South Africa the Kindle is still the first thing people think about when they hear ereaders mentioned, but Kobo is slowly gaining ground.

Personally I prefer Kobo since they charge in Rand, their ereaders are much cheaper than Kindles and, as clearly demonstrated, their coupons offer amazing value for money. You'd be silly not to keep that in mind when you have to decide on which ereader to get.

Viva Kobo, viva! Your discount coupons play havoc with my budget and my Olympus Mons of a TBR-pile, but I love you for it!

This has been written from a South African perspective. Publishers in different regions might not allow for discount coupons to be used on their titles, so the difference the coupons make will vary according to your region and whether your favorite publishers allow them or not.


  1. One of the things about the kobo discount coupons is that it has led to me trying new authors. Sometimes I think a book *sounds* good, but the author is an unknown quantity - if I use a discount code and get their book for R30 - R50 then if it is awful i don't feel as annoyed as I would if I'd spent upwards of a hundred rand.

    1. That's very true. I'm also trying loads of new authors I heard mentioned, but would not have paid full price for. I've also bought far more ebooks than I've ever intended to buy. The coupons just rope you in to buy just one more ebook... and one more... and one final one... and a final final one...

  2. OH my gosh that is a huge freaking difference indeed! I can't even believe that. I'm going to have to show this to my friend. I already own a kindle but then hey...they have a buyback option LOL

  3. I really do love my Kindle. Another advantage that Kindle has over the other e-readers is that the e-galleys don't expire on Kindle while on other E-Readers they do from NG and EW. I hope you love your new books.

    Books of Love

  4. I just got a Kobo touch for Christmas and Im quite impressed by it. I have over 500 books on my other reader (Sony prs300), none of which I paid for!