[Dec 2013 – EDITORIAL NOTE/UPDATE: With recent updates made to the Kobo website in most English language territories around the world, the method to link directly to Kobo eBooks has changed. The “=ISBN” link now returns a search result with the ISBN specified as the first search result – requiring a reader to click on that item to go to the book’s detailed item page — along with a host of other similar/related/linked titles based on systematic algorithms. The best manner for linking to an item in the new web store is a title-based link]
Example: The “old format of “ISBN=” link to “Write. Publish. Repeat” by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant (with David Wright), would be . . .
The link above is derived from entering the ISBN for the item (in this case the dummy ISBN assigned by Kobo when the author published the book) into Kobo’s search box.
However, this method returns Write. Publish. Repeat as the first book on a search result page which also includes similar wonderful books for writers: David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible, The Naked Truth about Self-Publishing (by The Indie Voice – 10 New York Times Bestselling authors, including Tina Folsom, Colleen Gleason and Debra Holland) and How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn. The list also currently returns individual books by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt and David Wright, as well as Hugh Howey’s Wool and a Neil Gaiman novel. This is most likely because enough customers who bought Write. Publish. Repeat. likely also bought some of the other titles. (Please also note that this is the search result for Canada in late December 2013 – the similar title result does change over time and may reflect different titles in different global territories)
While this does work, it requires a customer to make one more click before getting to the detailed item page for a book. And, you want to, anywhere possible, reduce the number of clicks between seeing a title and deciding to buy it.
The DIRECT link to the title now appears with the title embedded in the URL. (Each word is separated with a dash)
If there is more than one instance of a title (as some titles, particular in the thriller, mystery and romance genres, are often repeated), the system automatically assigns a numeric value to the end. This makes determining the direct link a little bit more challenging, and which is why the KWL developers are going to embed the new direct link directly into the KWL dashboard in early 2014 to make finding the proper link easier for authors.
The good news about this new linking method is that it will ALWAYS link to the most recent version of the ePub file that is published to the Kobo webstore. (As per the note in the original post below, you no longer have to worry that a new URL is being generated for your title whenever you upload a new ePub file)
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It is always useful to provide links to your books on various different retail sites. And linking to your books on Kobo via your website, your blog, on Twitter, etc. helps your fans who prefer Kobo to easily find and purchase it.
With that in mind, please note the following:
The best way to link to your eBook on Kobo is to use the following formula:
(replace “eISBN” with the 13 digit ISBN of your eBook)
You might notice that, if you enter this exact URL into your web browser, it will automatically redirect to a much longer less human-readable URL. This is because Kobo is automatically redirecting to the most recent version of the ePub file you have loaded. If you link directly to the long URL and then you update your ePub file (ie, the content of the eBook itself), a fresh new URL will be generated and the old URL will be deactivated.
This ensures that customers can’t purchase the old version of your text (however, Kobo needs to ensure that customers who already have the old version in their libraries still have access to that version — yes, they can refresh and update from the old to the new, but we can’t do that automatically for them because it would negatively affect their bookmarks and any other annotations, notes, etc they might have added to the originally purchased version)