Saturday, January 12, 2013

The pros and cons of Kobo

I have been reading books via a Kindle app on my smartphone for some months, but because my phone is quite small, the reading experience has not been a particularly comfortable one - I have found it to be great when I'm doing short journeys, on the bus to work, for example. However, for serious reading sessions, the print has been too small, and I have to be forever turning the pages. When I decided at long last that I would succumb and buy an eReader, my daughter beat me to it and gave me a Kobo eReader for Christmas.

What I like about my Kobo
I am really enjoying my Kobo Glo. It's light to carry and easy to use. The pages turn with a light tap. There are a number of functions such as spell check and annotation, if you want to little more interactivity.

There is a back light which is meant to facilitate reading at night, but I have it on all the time. I am not sure how this will impact on battery time, but I am happy to accept a shorter battery life. The battery is supposed to last for a month, but I am not too sure about this. I haven't had it long enough to assess, but it looks to me that this is a little optimistic.

It did take me a little while to work out how to sync the reader with my Kobo desktop. Unfortunately, the instructions on the website were not as clear as they could be, but I got there in the end.

I have read various complaints on the internet about Kobo, saying that it crashes a lot, but I haven't found that to be a problem - the reader itself works like a dream. But.....

What drives me mad about Kobo
The thing that has put me right off Kobo is the website and experience of buying a book. I have lost count of the number of computers I have used, and Internet browsers, but I seem to come up across the same problems and issues.
  • Getting messages that say - "Sorry, we do not have any items at the time"
I don't know if the web site crashes at times of extreme use, or what happens. Sometimes, the message clears when I clear my browsing history. The problem one session on the website, I might have to clear my browsing history at least half a dozen times, which is really annoying.
  • Having the currency appear in New Zealand dollars, and not Australian dollars.
This has come about because I originally set up my account when I was in New Zealand at Christmas. But now I am back in Australia, the currency has not changed in response to my change in IP. To be fair, the Kobo team are trying to fix this, but it is taking forever to come right, and is irritating to say the least.

The other things about the web site that are irritating are:
  • Having to sign into my account every time I buy a book , even in the same browsing session.
  • Having to buy each book individually instead of being able to put it in a shopping basket and buy all in one go.
  • Having no way to save to a wish list.
Comparing Kobo to Amazon

The book prices do not appear to be much different, and whilst Amazon probably has a greater range of books than Kobo, I have always been able to find the books I want on Kobo.

I do not have a Kindle eReader, but as I have said before, I do use a Kindle app on my smartphone. Whilst I love my Kobo eReader, the experience of the Kobo website is very poor compared to Amazon. I have never had any problems shopping, buying or  downloading books from Amazon.

The other thing that gives Kindle the edge over Kobo is I am able to download hundreds of free books in the genre I read....historical romance. I even belong to an Amazon email group that constantly updates readers when new freebies are released. Kobo does have some free books that you can download, but no where to the extent that Amazon does.

My recommendation
I don't think I can recommond one reader over another because I haven't used a Kindle. I am certainly loving my Kobo. But my very frustrating experiences of the Kobo website has put Amazon and Kindle way ahead of Kobo. So if you're thinking of buying an eReader, it is worth taking these things into account.

Do you have a Kobo eReader? What experiences have you had? What would you recommend?


Merrolee said...

I don't have a Kobo reader, but I do have a tablet on which I loaded the Kobo app- I don't have any trouble loading books I've purchased but I don't do it very often. I don't think I've had to logon each time either? I use Kobo on my computer to purchase and then when I turn my tablet on the book downloads straight away (via wireless)...

Have to admit I haven't gone looking for many free books as don't have time to read a lot at the moment :-)

Rachel Reed said...

My preference is iBook (on my iPad mini). Much easier interface eg. you can create 'collections' rather than having all your books in one place like Kindle. You can also put pdf books or documents into your collections with ebooks. Easy to use. I get frustrated with kindle both mobile and desktop versions. I haven't tried Kobo but don't feel the need as happy with iBook. :)

Sarah Stewart said...

@Merrolee I have worked out that the problem is with my actual account, for some reason. Hopefully the Kobo help people will sort it out for me.

@Rachel I did think about getting an ipad but was worried about the screen on a sunny day. How do you find reading in a bright light - is it easy to see the screen?