#76 – Kobo vs Kindle 


The following article is comprised of comments from a discussion thread within my Computer Beer Matinée group EMCC. The debate was between the Kindle and a Kobo e-readers and occurred in 2011. EMCC is a gathering of tech specialists that has met every 6 weeks for over 20 years either online through Zoom or at the Imperial Pub at Yonge and Dundas here in Toronto.

I was very down on the Kobo for a while because of a software problem. 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 also been released.

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 but that is about the only drawback.

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 on the subway or waiting for my appointment in the Dentist’s office, etc.

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 although I can now get books out from the library with it online using Libby. I get my 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. In the Library Help files you are told how to put the book into your reading device.

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 use it on any other reader that supports the ePub format. Currently, you can also use the Send to Kindle function to get ePubs on your Kindle device.

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’, also 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. The eBook reading option has reacquainted many readers with the classics and this is not a bad thing.

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 or other DRM protected books.

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