#76 – Kobo vs Kindle   

eReaders


The following article is comprised of comments from a discussion thread from my Computer person Beer Matinée group EMCC. The debate was between the Kindle and a Kobo e-readers and occured in 2011.

I was very down on the Kobo for a while but that was a software problem and they have since updated their operating system and it is now quite snazzy. I bought the wireless Kobo and this is a desirable option. The touchscreen version is has been released also.

Both the Kindle and the Kobo are devices both to read and to sell books. Technically, they are close to identical. Given that many e-books are half the retail price for paper copies, this can be a good thing and people are reading more because of it. The Kobo is a little slower to load but at this time but that is about the only drawback.

You need a light source to read both as on lower-priced models there is no backlight, but that is the beauty of them - your eyes do not get tired as they do when reading a computer monitor.

Easy to transport, you can take your eReader to Doctor's appointments, on public transit etc. Having both eReaders, I use the Kindle at home and the Kobo when traveling about or sitting waiting for the Dentist.

I played with the Kindle, and even though it was slightly better (at the time) than the Kobo, the import fees and the fact you are locked to buying books from amazon.com turned me off. The Kindle doesn't support ePub, so you can't buy from other retailers or get books out from the library with it. I get some ePub books from the Toronto Public Library where all I needed to log on were my Library card number and the last 4 digits of my phone number.

On the Toronto Central Library site, using you card # as ID, you can search for books and, if available, download them. They only have so many digital licenses. If a book is popular these licenses may be used up. You are notified by email when your book is available and you are allowed 21 days to read your copy of the book.

Library borrowing works over the net via Adobe Digital Editions (free download) which supplements the Kobo software on your laptop/desktop. You can go online, pick the book you want and, when available, you can download it. You get the book to read for 21 days (the DRM on the ebook controls the time.) I have not figured out how to check out books via the WiFi on the Kobo, as they seem to need the Adobe Digital Editions software to work. Note: On the Adobe site and in the Library Help files you are told how to put the book into your reading device.

You can buy books via WiFi to your hearts content from the Kobo site. Plus, if you follow their blog on Facebook, they have 10%, 20%, or $1 off coupons almost every weekend.

You can also load the tons of free eBooks from sites like Project Gutenberg etc. The cool thing about the ePub format that Kobo uses means you can take it to any other reader that supports ePub – except the Kindle, as they don't support EPub.

A USB to Wall Charger available from most tech outlets or on eBay works just fine with Kobo charging cable, in case you don't want to charge it from your computer.

There are hundreds of free e-books from Baen Library.

From the Kobo site. Just search under 'Free' but 100 books are included with purchase of a Kobo. I am currently reading Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and find it very calming.

A side note here: I use a program called Calibre to process my e-books. It is free to download with contributions optional. With it I can convert ePub books to the Kindle's mobi format, etc. This does not work for Library books.

As this is written (July 2011) the procedure is bring up the Calibre program. Plug your Kobo or Kindle into your computer. Wait for Calibre to recognize it – an device icon will appear at the top. Highlight the epub books you want to import to your device. Click on the device image above to cross the files over to the Kobo or the Kindle. If the files are not in the Kindle .mobi format, Calibre will ask if you want to convert the file to the correct format before you import it.

The eBook surge has reacquainted many readers with the classics and this is not a bad thing.

Take your pick. Both the Kobo and the Kindle are excellent eReaders.