Posts Tagged ‘kobo’

Today Sony announced that it is closing its Reader Store in the US and Canada.  It will be closing on the 20th of March 2014.

The press release indicated that existing libraries will be transferred over to Kobo.  To be honest the news doesn’t surprise me; Amazon and Kobo have long been dominant players in the market.

For those of you affected by this, it’s good to know that you won’t lose your libraries and that arrangements have been made for a handover.  My biggest fear is that one day Amazon will close its doors (very unlikely) and that I will lose my entire digital library.

Despite my rant yesterday, and despite having received no shipping notification my Kobo Aura 6 inch ereader was delivered to my door this afternoon.  I’ve played with it for a little while and here are my first impressions.

It is a gorgeous device.  I really like the industrial design that the screen is flat without a bevel.  It makes it feel very tablet like – and avoids messy crumbs being caught!  eReaders aren’t normally noted for their look, but I really love what Kobo has done with this.  From other reviews I’d seen I’d been concerned about the reflection of light on the screen, but it didn’t seem to be any more noticeable than on the Glo.

The screen is really lovely, too.  Comparing it to the Kobo Glo, it’s an incredible difference.  You can see some pictures here:

The Kobo Aura is on the left.

 IMG 0903

IMG 0905

and compared to the Kindle Paperwhite (2013 edition)

IMG 0904

The Aura’s Comfort Light is warmer to my eyes than the Glo’s and certainly much more even, and in comparison the Glo’s screen seems somewhat muddy.  Page turns are the same on both devices.  This is hardly surprising, given that they both have the same processor.  However, the Aura only does a full refresh each chapter which makes reading smoother than on the Glo which refreshes every six pages.  I didn’t notice any ghosting on the Aura at all.

With regards to the new functionality coming with the new devices, I checked out the Pocket integration.  It is fantastic.  Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been saving articles to my Pocket account and they were all there for me on my Kobo Aura when I linked my accounts.  Awesome.  That is a functionality I will certainly make use of.  The multitouch brightness control works well, too.  

However, it seems that Kobo’s Beyond the Book still has some ways to go.  I downloaded a sample of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit that I have seen used to demo Beyond the Book and did indeed see that some items were indeed underlined.  Clicking on these took me to an error page.  I think it will be some time before this feature is as fully formed as Amazon’s X-Ray, which was able to import Shelfari data (Shelfari is owned by Amazon)

All in all it’s a lovely little device and looks great.

Kobo Aura

Kobo Aura preorder issues

Posted: September 16, 2013 in e-Reader Reviews
Tags: ,

As some of you may know, I placed a new Kobo Aura on preorder, and I’m wondering if some of you are experiencing the same issues I’m having.  It took me several attempts to place the order, which I simply put down to attempting to preorder just an hour or so after it was made available.

However, that is not the only issue I’ve experienced. I have received no confirmation from Kobo at all regarding my order – I had to contact them several times just to confirm that the order had in fact been received and to find out its status.  Sadly, judging from the forums I follow, I’m not the only one experiencing these issues.

I don’t know about you, but when I place an item on preorder and the site says shipping from September 11th, I expect to receive the item on or around September 11th.  Perhaps that’s just my conditioning from Amazon and Apple.  From my latest contact with Kobo today I can expect to receive it in 10-14 days.

The Kobo website is still showing “preorder” for Kobo Auras, yet when you click on it it says “***Pre-Orders begin shipping on September 11, 2013. Your credit card will be charged upon shipment, accompanied by a confirmation email.”  We’re now September 16th which is very confusing.  I consider myself an average shopper, so I read the average amount of blurb that an average shopper would.  If Kobo explains that items will be received two weeks later, I missed it.

This is so disappointing from Kobo.  It’s a Canadian company and in my opinion, the strongest competitor to Amazon in the Canadian ereader market.  I believe they do make great devices which is why it is so sad to see it shoot itself in the foot.  If I were new to Kobo, this would give me serious reservations about placing an order and dealing with the company.

Perhaps I am the only one experiencing this and everyone else’s preorders are fine. Let me know in the comments please!

So now that Kobo has announced its new lineup, I’m pretty confident Amazon won’t be too far behind.  I have some updates I’d love to see in the new lineup.

My absolute dream device would be an eInk/LCD hybrid.  I’d love to be able to switch between a tablet and eReader.  I don’t think that’s going to happen, though.

For eInk readers, I’d love to see audio support reinstated.  I didn’t miss it when it disappeared from the Paperwhite, but at that point I wasn’t as heavily invested in Audible and audiobooks as I am now.  I would also love to see full Audible integration as we have it on the Fire, immersion reading included.  I would snap that baby up in a New York minute.  I ADORE the Audible integration on the Fire, but I do prefer reading on eInk.

In terms of the Fire, of course any improvement in specs and screen would be welcome.  Not that the current Fire isn’t excellent.  I would also welcome a better way of organising content.  The Favourites drawer isn’t nearly flexible enough.  I like Kobo’s idea of a Reading Mode where you can switch off all other distractions and optimise battery usage.  On the other hand, the Fire has something similar already – it’s called Airplane mode…

What would you like tot see in the new Kindle devices?  Let me know in the comments.

Kobo held a press event today entitled “Beyond the Book.”  in which it announced three new variations of its popular Kobo Arc tablet and a new version of its eInk Kobo Aura.  I hadn’t been expecting a refresh at this point as both their eInk readers (the Aura) and their tablet offerings (the Arc) were refreshed earlier this year.

For me, the Kobo Aura seems very interesting.  It retains the HD pixel density of the 6.7 inch Kobo Aura HD released earlier this year but reverts to the traditional 6 inch screen.  It is priced at $150 as opposed to the original’s $169.  I have placed my order – it took a while as the devices are newly up for preorder.  The Aura will be delivered on the 11th of September.

In addition to SD and HD 7 inch Kobo Arcs, the company is now offering a 10 inch tablet.  The specs are higher on the new version.  Check out http://goodereader.com/blog/ for full details.  Personally, I won’t check out the tablet – I adore my Kindle Fire HD and see no need for another.

Additionally, the company is also launching value added content with Beyond the Book, which will include links in the books to further material of interest.  I’m not certain how I feel about that.  When I’m reading, I like to get immersed in the story and I would find such links distracting.  On the other hand, it could be very interesting.

The company announced also that it is adding magazines and a special children’s bookstore to its service.

I will of course keep you updated with reviews.

Kobo Devices

Kobo Arc – Full Review

Posted: August 13, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I have now had my Kobo Arc fir several days now and this is my update to my initial impressions.  My other tablets are a Kindle Fire an iPad 3 and a Nexus 7. I find the smaller form factors of the Nexus and the Kindle Fire very comfortable to use.

As with my review of the Kindle Fire, I will discuss how the tasks I usually undertake on my iPad and now the Kindle Fire translate to the Kobo Arc. Generally I don’t use my tablets for work/production related activities.  There are many apps I use on my iPhone to check a few quick things.

Checking email

I was able to import most of my personal accounts – two Yahoo emails, Gmail and a non standard account for my evelynne@scottishbookworminquebec.com email – with minimal hassle.  I did have a problem with one of my Yahoo accounts, but I believe that to be a Yahoo problem rather than an Arc problem.I have not been able to access my work Exchange email, but i generally check that on my iPhone rather than my tablet anyway.

Surfing the web

I find surfing the web on the Kobo Arc noticeably faster than on the Kindle Fire and about par for what I have on the iPad.  I don’t have my iCloud favourites, but I was able to install 1Password for my password management with no problem.  

Checking social networking sites

I am active in Twitter, Facebook and GoodReads.  All of these have apps available on iOS and Android and are great to use and look at in both environments.

Reading magazines

Although I prefer reading novels on my Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo Glo, magazines are a delight to read on tablets.  I use Zinio for my magazine subscriptions and have a subscription to Entertainment Weekly but was not able to find that as a standalone app for Android.  Zinio magazines are great on the Kobo Arc. Despite the smaller screen size, the high  resolution of the Kobo Arc’s screen means that the text is still easily legible.  

Watching videos

This is one area in which the iPad has superiority with its larger screen.  On my iPad I watch iTunes movies and Netflix as well as use the remote app to control my Apple TV.  The Kobo Arc has access to the Google Playstore which means any movies you purchase or rent on there will be available on the Kobo Arc.  Netflix is also available for the Arc as is any movie you have on your UV account.

The TV stations such as Global TV, ABC, BBC, CTV have not yet released apps available on Android, and as the default browser doesn’t support Flash I’ve not found a way to watch streaming video from them.

Most of my non book content is in iTunes, which I have not yet managed to access on my Android devices. 

Checking on the news

I usually get my news from the BBC News app.  Again, the app is available for both iPad and Android and is gorgeous to browse.  La Presse is also available for Android on the Google Play Store.  The Google Play Store for Canada is more mature than the Amazon Canada app store, so there are likely to be more Canadian apps there.

Shopping

It has to be said, shopping for books on Kobo is rather a painful experience if you’re looking for a specific book.  It seems hit or miss if the search function will actually find it.  I prefer to go through the Chapters/Indigo website and from there through to Kobo. 

On the other hand, with the Google Play Store, you have far more access to other media than on the Kindle Fire.

Summary

Like the Kindle Fire, the Kobo Arc is a very nice budget tablet, with a focus on connecting you to content.  As well as the Kobo content, it has full access to the Google Play Store which gives you access to millions of books, songs, movies and content.  

You can’t really go wrong with this tablet, especially at the current reduced price.

Kobo Aura

I have now had my Kobo Arc for several days now and this is my update to my initial impressions.  My other tablets are a Kindle Fire an iPad 3 and a Nexus 7. I find the smaller form factors of the Nexus and the Kindle Fire very comfortable to use.

As with my review of the Kindle Fire, I will discuss how the tasks I usually undertake on my iPad and now the Kindle Fire translate to the Kobo Arc. Generally I don’t use my tablets for work/production related activities.  There are many apps I use on my iPhone to check a few quick things.

Checking email

I was able to import most of my personal accounts – two Yahoo emails, Gmail and a non standard account for my evelynne@scottishbookworminquebec.com email – with minimal hassle.  I did have a problem with one of my Yahoo accounts, but I believe that to be a Yahoo problem rather than an Arc problem.I have not been able to access my work Exchange email, but i generally check that on my iPhone rather than my tablet anyway.

Surfing the web

I find surfing the web on the Kobo Arc noticeably faster than on the Kindle Fire and about par for what I have on the iPad.  I don’t have my iCloud favourites, but I was able to install 1Password for my password management with no problem.

Checking social networking sites

I am active in Twitter, Facebook and GoodReads.  All of these have apps available on iOS and Android and are great to use and look at in both environments.

Reading magazines

Although I prefer reading novels on my Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo Glo, magazines are a delight to read on tablets.  I use Zinio for my magazine subscriptions and have a subscription to Entertainment Weekly but was not able to find that as a standalone app for Android.  Zinio magazines are great on the Kobo Arc. Despite the smaller screen size, the high  resolution of the Kobo Arc’s screen means that the text is still easily legible.

Watching videos

This is one area in which the iPad has superiority with its larger screen.  On my iPad I watch iTunes movies and Netflix as well as use the remote app to control my Apple TV.  The Kobo Arc has access to the Google Playstore which means any movies you purchase or rent on there will be available on the Kobo Arc.  Netflix is also available for the Arc as is any movie you have on your UV account.

The TV stations such as Global TV, ABC, BBC, CTV have not yet released apps available on Android, and as the default browser doesn’t support Flash I’ve not found a way to watch streaming video from them.

Most of my non book content is in iTunes, which I have not yet managed to access on my Android devices.

Checking on the news

I usually get my news from the BBC News app.  Again, the app is available for both iPad and Android and is gorgeous to browse.  La Presse is also available for Android on the Google Play Store.  The Google Play Store for Canada is more mature than the Amazon Canada app store, so there are likely to be more Canadian apps there.

Shopping

It has to be said, shopping for books on Kobo is rather a painful experience if you’re looking for a specific book.  It seems hit or miss if the search function will actually find it.  I prefer to go through the Chapters/Indigo website and from there through to Kobo.

On the other hand, with the Google Play Store, you have far more access to other media than on the Kindle Fire.

Summary

Like the Kindle Fire, the Kobo Arc is a very nice budget tablet, with a focus on connecting you to content.  As well as the Kobo content, it has full access to the Google Play Store which gives you access to millions of books, songs, movies and content.

You can’t really go wrong with this tablet, especially at the current reduced price.

Kobo Aura

I have now had my Kobo Arc for several days now and this is my update to my initial impressions.  My other tablets are a Kindle Fire an iPad 3 and a Nexus 7. I find the smaller form factors of the Nexus and the Kindle Fire very comfortable to use.

As with my review of the Kindle Fire, I will discuss how the tasks I usually undertake on my iPad and now the Kindle Fire translate to the Kobo Arc. Generally I don’t use my tablets for work/production related activities.  There are many apps I use on my iPhone to check a few quick things.

Checking email

I was able to import most of my personal accounts – two Yahoo emails, Gmail and a non standard account for my evelynne@scottishbookworminquebec.com email – with minimal hassle.  I did have a problem with one of my Yahoo accounts, but I believe that to be a Yahoo problem rather than an Arc problem.I have not been able to access my work Exchange email, but i generally check that on my iPhone rather than my tablet anyway.

Surfing the web

I find surfing the web on the Kobo Arc noticeably faster than on the Kindle Fire and about par for what I have on the iPad.  I don’t have my iCloud favourites, but I was able to install 1Password for my password management with no problem.

Checking social networking sites

I am active in Twitter, Facebook and GoodReads.  All of these have apps available on iOS and Android and are great to use and look at in both environments.

Reading magazines

Although I prefer reading novels on my Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo Glo, magazines are a delight to read on tablets.  I use Zinio for my magazine subscriptions and have a subscription to Entertainment Weekly but was not able to find that as a standalone app for Android.  Zinio magazines are great on the Kobo Arc. Despite the smaller screen size, the high  resolution of the Kobo Arc’s screen means that the text is still easily legible.

Watching videos

This is one area in which the iPad has superiority with its larger screen.  On my iPad I watch iTunes movies and Netflix as well as use the remote app to control my Apple TV.  The Kobo Arc has access to the Google Playstore which means any movies you purchase or rent on there will be available on the Kobo Arc.  Netflix is also available for the Arc as is any movie you have on your UV account.

The TV stations such as Global TV, ABC, BBC, CTV have not yet released apps available on Android, and as the default browser doesn’t support Flash I’ve not found a way to watch streaming video from them.

Most of my non book content is in iTunes, which I have not yet managed to access on my Android devices.

Checking on the news

I usually get my news from the BBC News app.  Again, the app is available for both iPad and Android and is gorgeous to browse.  La Presse is also available for Android on the Google Play Store.  The Google Play Store for Canada is more mature than the Amazon Canada app store, so there are likely to be more Canadian apps there.

Shopping

It has to be said, shopping for books on Kobo is rather a painful experience if you’re looking for a specific book.  It seems hit or miss if the search function will actually find it.  I prefer to go through the Chapters/Indigo website and from there through to Kobo.

On the other hand, with the Google Play Store, you have far more access to other media than on the Kindle Fire.

Summary

Like the Kindle Fire, the Kobo Arc is a very nice budget tablet, with a focus on connecting you to content.  As well as the Kobo content, it has full access to the Google Play Store which gives you access to millions of books, songs, movies and content.

You can’t really go wrong with this tablet, especially at the current reduced price.

Kobo Aura

Kobo is currently offering a special price on the Kobo Arc, so today I picked one up and have been playing around with it these last few hours.  Here are my first impressions.

The device seems solid and well made although it took a while to start up, because it had no battery left.  Once I charged it up, it worked well.  The setup was easy – I entered my Kobo username and password and my Google Play username and password to access the apps I’d previously bought.  My Kindle, Kobo, Audible and GoodReads apps all downloaded easily and installed with no fuss.

The Arc is a major step up from the Kobo Vox, which was underpowered, underdeveloped and underwhelming.  The newer device is based on Android Jelly Bean with a Kobo skin.  The skin is far more subtle than that on the Kindle Fire, which is unrecognisable as Android.  With the Kobo Arc you have access to Google Now, Google Playstore and all the features of Android Jelly Bean.  For me it seems a really great hybrid of ereader and fully fledged tablet.  I can see real advantages to having all the features of Android available on an ereading device.

I’m not going to repeat the specs – go to the Kobo Arc page for full details.  I did find it less responsive than the Kindle Fire, especially if you use a fancy page transition, but not unacceptably slow.

The distinguishing feature of the Kobo Arc is its “tapestries” – this is where you can gather different items – books, music, webpages, apps – all together in one place.  I made a couple and it seems a great way of organising your content.

I’ve only had it for a few hours, and these are my first impressions.  A full review will follow in due course. So far it definitely seems worth checking out, especially with the great deal Kobo is offering right now.

Kobo Aura

Ereading still causes a lot of confusion.  I thought it might be useful to put together a post of some common questions regarding ereading and to do my best to answer them.

What is eReading?
Simply put, ereading is reading a book, comic, magazine or other similar content on an electronic device rather than in hard copy.

Why should I give up my paperback and switch to ereading?
Like many things, ereading is not an either/or activity.  There is no reason why you cannot read books in both hard copy and ebook formats.  It is very much a personal choice.

Having said that, there are pros and cons to ereading.  I have listed some here to help you decide if ereading is right for you.

Pros:
Convenience
.  With ereading you can carry your entire library around with you on your eReader, smartphone or tablet.   Can you imagine carrying around all 14 hardback books in the Wheel of Time series?  With ereading that is no issue. Likewise, if you’re living in a small space, an ereader takes up much less room than forty shelves of books.

Accessibility.  Most ereaders and ereading applications allow you to adjust the font size to suit your eyesight.  This is a real lifesaver if your eyesight isn’t what it was.

Never lose your place.  Most eReaders and devices keep your place for you, and some automatically synchronise over multiple devices.  Amazon even synchronises between the Amazon Kindle ebook and the Audible audiobook.

Additional cool features.  eReading gives you lots of extra features.  These range from such inbuilt dictionaries (if you’re unsure of the meaning of a word, click or tap on it and the definition will pop up) to additional background information and references and social sharing of your reading.

24-hour bookstore.  Imagine the scenario.  You finish a real page turner of a book at 2am and you really can’t wait to see what happens next.  With eReading, a few clicks later you can be reading the sequel, often by 2.01am.  Also, if you’re anxiously waiting for that hot, new release by your favourite author, most new release books are released at 12am PST (in Canada) and delivered automatically to your device at that time if you pre-order.  Of course, if you’re trying to watch your book budget, that Buy Now button can be more of a con…

Millions of free books.  That’s correct.  Thanks to efforts like Project Gutenberg, there are millions of legally available free ebooks for your ereading pleasure.   

Free ebooks on Amazon
Free ebooks on Kobo 
Free ebooks on Sony 

Your books are backed up by the store.  If anything happens to your eReader, you can rest assured that you have not lost your entire library.  Simply log back into the store and redownload them.

Cons;
You’re renting not buying.  When you “buy” an ebook, you’re actually buying a licence to read that ebook on your devices, not an actual ebook.  This means that, in theory, it’s easier to lose access to your entire library if, say, your ebook provider goes out of business.

Read eBooks cannot be resold, donated or regifted.  Linked to the above, the licence you buy cannot be resold, donated or regifted to another person, at least not at this point.  This may be a deal breaker for some of you who like to share your reading material with others.  Amazon Kindle customers in the United States do have limited options to lend Kindle books to others, but this is highly restricted by the publishers and usually allows only one loan per ebook, and on very select titles.

DRM is a pain in the neck.  DRM – or digital rights management –  is software applied to ebooks to prevent your illegally sharing them or changing their format.  It locks the ebook to a specific format and sometimes account and device.  It means, for example, that you cannot read a Kindle book on a Kobo eReader and vice versa.  There is no way to legally convert the ebook to make this possible.  

eReaders and devices are more fragile than paperbacks.  If you drop a paperback in the bath, you’re only out $7 or so.  That cost is considerably more if you drop your eReader…

These are what I see as the pros and cons.  It is really your personal preference if any of these are deallbreakers for you.

I like to borrow my books from a library.  I can’t do that with eBooks, can I?
Certainly you can!  Let me refer you to my post on borrowing eBooks.

I need a specialised eReader, don’t I?
Not at all.  If you have a computer, smartphone or tablet you can get started on eReading.  You would need to download an application.  Many are linked to a specific eBook store.  Here are some of the most popular.

AmazonKoboSonyBarnes & NobleApple

There are other, more general applications, but if you are new to eReading, I would recommend you begin with one of the major providers.

You may also prefer to start off with a free application to see if ereading is for you before investing in a dedicated eReader.

OK, I’m interested.  How do I get started with eReading?
Excellent!  The first thing you would need to do is choose an ebook provider.  I would recommend you try some of the free ebooks from one or two providers to see which one best suits your needs and is best for you.  

Here are links to the main stores (for Canada):

AmazonKoboSony 

In each case the steps are very much the same.

  1. go to the site for your preferred ebook store
  2. register for an account if you don’t already have one (look for a sign in or register link)
  3. download the application for your computer, smartphone and/or tablet
  4. sign in to the application with the store account
  5. browse the store for a book you’d like to buy
  6. add to cart and go through the payment process.  
  7. in the ereading application look for a “sync” function to have the book downloaded to the application if it doesn’t appear there automatically

And there you have it – your first ebook.  Congratulations!

Which dedicated eReader should I go for?
This is a very personal decision.  It really depends on what you want and what is important to you.  Please check out my eReader reviews for some suggestions or please feel free to get in touch with me if you have more specific questions. 

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