The WHSmith ebook store has seen some unexpected excitement today, as both Kobo and Andy McNab emailed WHSmith ebook customers to inform them of changes, and push people towards their respective services.
You'll excuse the excitement of the headline (and subsequent narrative we spin out of it), as emails arrived in our inbox from both sides of the ebook customer battle.
Andy McNab, famed author, SAS veteran and consultant on all things military to just about everybody, is also co-founder of Mobcast, an ebook service that runs a behind a number of familiar services, like those from Orange or Vodafone, and until recently, WHSmith.
We've perhaps taken his name in vain here, but the email does open with "I’m Andy McNab and I’m here to tell you about a change to your WHSmith ebooks platform", before suggesting that you, essentially, transfer your details over to Uncuva.
When you arrive on uncuva.com, the suggested alternative, you'll be greeted with a message that reads "WHSmith no longer supports this shop", as WHSmith has moved over to an alliance with Kobo. Hence the tussle for customers.
Within an hour of the Mobcast email arriving, a more official looking email arrived from WHSmith, suggesting that you move your content over to Kobo, their new partner.
Of the two, Kobo is probably the brand you recognise more, as they not only have a run of hardware devices - sold through WHSmith - but also a range of apps on just about every platform. The Kobo service is actually pretty good now, offering Kindle-rivalling "last read" position syncing and so on.
Mobcast, on the other hand, is lesser known but do also have a run of apps across platforms. Strangely these emails arrived from different accounts we have with WHSmith, so we're not sure exactly how the customer list has been carved up and who will received which suggested transfer alternative.
Essentially, who ever you choose to go with, as these are EPUB titles that you already own the rights to, you'll be able to load them onto any Adobe DRM authorised device.
However, we went with Kobo and the process was slick and easy. It's great to have those rogue titles back under one umbrella and universally accessible, so it's worth taking the time to sort them out.
The irony wasn't lost on us that one of the titles we transferred to Kobo, was Andy McNab's Last Night Another Soldier.