[Updated 26 July, 9:42am. I've just received an email from Kobo about the changes to its service. Included in the email is the note that, "Any books you buy on Kobo.com are automatically updated on your iPhone or iPad Kobo app." So, my problem was that I didn't actually have to download it via the Adobe Digital Editions button. This info was missing from Kobo's blog post (still missing as I write this) and from any mention in the store so hopefully the communication will be tidied up. Thanks also to @kobo fan below who pointed this out.]
Here’s a problem. When I try to download an ebook from the Kobo store using the Safari web browser on my iPad — this is the new procedure users must follow now that Kobo’s in-app store has been cut off from the iPhone and iPad — the ebooks won’t open in the Kobo reading app.
Instead, what I was offered to open my Kobo ebook was a choice of Bluefire or OverDrive, two Adobe DRM-compliant reading apps installed on my iPad. (Kobo uses Adobe’s digital rights management (DRM) to copy-protect most of its commercial ebooks.)
What’s going on?
As usual, there’s a dearth of useful support information on Kobo’s website. There’s nothing spelling out exactly what users have to do under this new system so I suspect its customers will struggle. The poor online help and lack of accessible support forums is typical for Kobo but now that the stakes are so much higher, it needs to get its support and usability act together quickly.
As far as I can see, Kobo has nothing like Amazon’s system where, with a single click, you can initiate a wireless download of your purchased ebook to any of your registered devices from right inside your Amazon.com website account.
I hope Kobo pulls its developers off its peripheral social reading applications and quickly focuses its resources on improving the web-based purchase and download experience where it really matters.
If anyone is having a similar problem, or can point out what I’m doing wrong, feel free to put a note in the comments.
Martin Taylor (@nztaylor) has been involved in the publishing, technology and internet fields for more than 20 years. He operates a digital publishing consultancy and founded the Digital Publishing Forum, an initiative to accelerate the development of digital publishing in New Zealand. In a former life, he published technology and business magazines.