Free ebooks platform Obooko has just undergone a (much delayed) revamp, with a much cleaner look and some improvements to the way you can browse/filter titles. My experience with Obooko has been good in terms of the upload process etc, but less so in terms of downloads (click here for more details, including tips on how to create different types of ebook files for uploading to Obooko). I've been on there since 2013 but my downloads remain stuck in the low hundreds - although others have done quite well on there (the more successful books had downloads in four figures). It'll be interesting to see if the revamp makes any difference.
Although the revamp is very welcome, I think they've missed a trick in the way they present their titles. A longstanding complaint about Obooko - which they acknowledged in a recent blog post - was that it only displayed titles in the order they were published on the site. As a result, there was an inbuilt bias towards books which had been on the site longer. It has now gone for a default view of "Latest" titles (although I am slightly sceptical about this because I am pretty sure some of the titles which appear on the first page have been on there a while). You can re-sort by "earliest books first" but oddly, you can't sort by ratings or number of downloads - two options which are available on Smashwords.
Anyway, I'm just not sure that defaulting to latest books first is likely to make much difference. I think Obooko would've been better off adopting an approach that I saw on a now defunct site called Bibliotastic, where their front page presented you with a variety of different views e.g. there was one row of latest books, another row of most popular books and another row of most highly rated books. For the sake of fairness, I think there ought to be a fourth row of books which don't meet the criteria for the other 3 rows, so you just rotate your way through the rest of your inventory on a daily/weekly basis. That way, everyone would stand a chance of making the front page at some point.
Also, the ratings functionality looks a bit suss to me - I clicked on the rating one of my books by mistake and managed to rate it without being logged in. Tempting as it was to just keep clicking away on 5 stars, I manfully restrained myself. That's definitely a bug that needs fixing.
Having said all that, it's good to see a free ebook platform putting some time and money into a revamp (Feedbooks - are you listening?) - and I hope that Obooko avoids the fate of Bibliotastic, where the site owners couldn't afford to upgrade to new software. Unlike Bibliotastic, Obooko features advertising so hopefully there will be sufficient funds to keep it going.
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Posted by Paul Samael. Posted In : Self-publishing