Update: Problem solved. Kobo’s new iPad set-up doesn’t seem to work

[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.


Comments (35)

  1. Kobo User

    Don’t get mad at kobo. Get mad at Apple!!!

  2. kobo fan

    i dont think you need to use the adobe software – after you buy a book at kobo.com just go to your library in the kobo app on your ipad and the book will be there

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  9. Michael

    iPad users wit Kobo… if the book doesn’t automatically download to your iPad after purchase, sign out of Kobo, then sign back in. Also, with the Kobo app open in front of you, drag the whole page down a bit, and let go. This refreshes the page, and starts the new download. I found this out by accident when my new purchase didn’t download. Didn’t see this anywhere in Kobo Help!!!!!!

  10. Martin Taylor (Post author)

    @Michael, thanks for the tip. It would great if Kobo would add a publicly accessible user forum to their site so that anyone can view this sort of info and users can post problems and solutions for others to see. While Kobo are always responsive with emails, most people want the answer now, not in the next few hours (or want answers outside business hours for phone support). And most problems recur.

    I just searched their Help knowledge base again to check for new info and, even using a general search on the word “ipad”, found just a single article. This was the original press release about the Apple change and doesn’t give clear instructions for the standard case, let alone exceptions such as the one you’ve highlighted. It still doesn’t note explicitly that your ebook should download automatically after purchase.

  11. Jennie

    Despite two phone calls to Kobo’s help centre, they didn’t really provide me information on this – nor did they know why I couldn’t purchase through Safari on my iPad….they also promised (twice) to send me instructions and I’m still waiting for them….But I did use my PC to purchase a book and transferred to my iPad without Digital Editions.

    Just not sure if we can purchase books without using a PC anymore!

  12. Carmen

    Thank you Michael. You solved my problem. Probably the last Kobo book I purchase, just not worth this hassle.

  13. Figgles

    Thanks Michael. I’d worked out signing out and back in again but I’d not sussed drag down to refresh and it’s much better!

  14. Ramona

    I have a Kobo app on my ipad and noticed that my ipad won’t display more than 10 books ….and I have purchased more than that from the Kobo store…any thoughts?

  15. Jill Haldeman

    Ok, i’m a personal user of kobo – and we just found out today that we can’t read certain books on the IPAD – …. Really annoying considering these books are my mother’s study tool for an English class! We’re switching back to Kindle, this is a disaster!

  16. Peter Ferris

    I have over 55 books on my Kobo account purchased. I now can’t download to my iPad 2, my Kobo Desktop App on my iMac doesn’t show all my purchases. Not worth the hassle. Anyone want to buy my Kobos, I am switching to Nook or Kindle.

  17. CF YAU

    I lost all my 20+ books on my ipod touch when I opened kobo app when its website has “gone readin” – which is simply down, out of service!

    The ‘sign out’ option in the app has been removed – which disabled kobo’s auto sync when wifi is enabled.

    I will have to rethink carefully about using kobo as my ebook reader before I buy anymore from kobo.

  18. CF YAU


    Found sign in/out and managed to get some of my books back – but there are a at least 8 books I’ve paid for and which I’ve yet to read missing!

    I am definitely not buying anymore from kobo.

  19. Tina Anderson

    I have purchased 17 books thru Kobo and now have 6 in my iPad app. To me this is theft when I can no longer get my books! It’s like you came in my home and stole books out of my library. Either give me my money back or put my books back in my Kobo iPad app. I’m tired of talking to people who are of no help. Get off your ass and fix the problem one way or another. Don’t blame it on Apple because I don’t have this problem with Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

  20. Dee

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who’s having this problem. unfortunately my schedule doesn’t allow me to take more than an hour out of my day to call their “not-so-helpful” desk so I am now on email #7 to them, asking what is going wrong. It seems every day the number of books that no longer sync to both the kobo app on my iPad and on my computer grows. At first it was one, now I’m up to over a dozen and, as I was in the midst of reading them, is really frustrating.

    Kobo, get your stuff together or I’m switching to Kindle and saying enough of you.

  21. Chris N

    The latest Kobo update today (2011-11-30) was a disaster: I lost several of the books that I purchased, on my iPad, iPhone, and PC! I too wish Kobo got off their stupid obsession with social features and reading statistics and concentrated on the basics–getting books to readers and keeping them there so they can read them! If they don’t fix this problem right away, I am forever walking away. It’s not worth the aggravation.

  22. Laura

    Just deleted kobo. Horrible app.

  23. Teresa

    I agree it’s a terrible app- purchase shows in the Kobo website but won’t appear in the Kobo app .
    What alternative is out there ?

  24. maureen Clements

    one of my books disapeared and the other will only go from chapter to chapter so I cannot see the pages. i too will never buy for Kobo again

  25. Wenlock

    I found a simple fix, find the book in your Purchases, then bookmark it!

    It then appears in I’m Reading and will download when you open the Kobo app and refresh (pull down and release).


  26. Dmitrij

    I am shocked.
    From the beginning I downloaded a preview.
    Then I bought this book, but nothing happened, I still don’t have full book. I deleted a preview. So, I still have no book.

  27. Eric

    Lol, this app is so awful. Would be super if i could actually read the books that took me forever to buy. Usually crashes on page turn. Kobo, you owe me money.

  28. Peter

    The above comments make interesting reading and especially the leader. Having put the app on my iphone 4s and downloaded a couple of previews successfully I thought I would buy a book. I estimate its taken me about three hours to get it download! And that after three removals and downloads directly from the app store and then via a pc. Also cleared the safari caches etc. It finally downloaded after I signed out of my account and then signed in (as recorded above – wish I’d seen that earlier,) and also powered down the iphone and then switchedon again. Hey presto the book appeared. Heigh ho. Get a kindle – they work as does the kindle app!

  29. Arindana

    Wenlock, your fix worked like a charm. Thanks!

  30. Kath Trimingham

    Glad I found this I have been struggling to download a book I purchased, finally managed it thanks to the help shown. Thanks to everyone.

  31. Pauline

    Hi, just bought a Kobo Mini and the Complete Works of Charles Dickens. I want to read Bleak House, so how does one quickly skip to one particular book in a collection? I’m sure there must be some provision for this.

  32. Martin Taylor (Post author)

    Hi Pauline. The best way is via the Table of Contents (TOC). I notice that in the last software upgrade, this disappeared into an obscure location (I use a Kobo Glo but I’d guess your Mini is similar). To get to the TOC, tap the screen anywhere on the page you’re reading, menu icons will appear top and bottom. Here’s where it gets obscure: The Table of Contents is actually behind an icon on the bottom that looks like this: <-->. Tap this icon, then tap ‘Table of Contents’ and you’ll be able to get to the book, section or chapter you want.

  33. Gemma

    Can someone tell me how to get back to store front on iPad I can’t get out of library

  34. Martin Taylor (Post author)

    Hi Gemma, due to Apple policies, you can’t buy eBooks from within the Kobo app so there is no link to the store. You’ll have to access the store via the Kobo website (or via the Kobo Cloud Reader which for some reason keeps crashing on my iPad 4 these days). Once you’ve bought an ebook from the website, it will sync automatically with your Kobo app so it will appear in its library next time you open the app.

  35. Tim

    Wenlock, you’re a genius. Bookmark your purchases. Brilliant. Thanks

    Kobo’s not very impressive is it?

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