Book Club: eReaders

I mentioned last month about the joys and disappointments of owning a Kindle, so I want to mention the other possibilities for digital reading that exist.  It won’t be an exhaustive list and won’t attempt to compare all features, but it will give some insight to those that are interested in the new way of reading.

I subscribe to the Australian newspaper, and they have been running promotions lately for the Kobo eReader, which used to be associated with the large retailer Borders in Australia.  Unfortunately for book lovers in Australia, Borders went broke and has closed its stores in Australia.  This also caused problems for Kobo, so they have been creating their own on-line stores to supply books for their readers.  Hence the promotions run by the Australian, where a number of books are offered free of charge with the promotions code in the newspaper.

I don’t have a Kobo, but it is free to download the program onto any computer or smartphone, so I did both and can now enjoy reading from both those devices.  Of course, one can do the same with Kindle as well, and I have, but I prefer to use the actual Kindle most of the time.  

The beauty with these readers is that they keep your place for you, and sync it between each device, so you can always open the book to the place you left.  The free books from Kobo are good, and they have had two promotions so far, so I am looking out for more.  I have also downloaded some other books from their website and it works very well.  Price comparisons so far have been inconclusive, but I think Kindle has the edge on most of the books I have tried, but it can vary.

Kindle is restricted to the file type exclusive to Amazon, although you can download pdf files from other sites and read them, whereas Kobo can accept a wide range of ePub files that are in the public domain, as well as pdf files.

Kobo was originally brought out to provide a cheaper option to Kindle, and it did that very well, but then Kindle reduced the price of their units as well.  Good news for the consumer until the price of books was increased and took the edge of savings somewhat.  In the USA it is possible to join Amazon Prime which gives one the ability to borrow books and also get additional free content as well as swapping books between users.  But for us poor mugs in Australia we are too unsophisticated to be allowed such benefits and we will have to wait.

So frustrations still exist with eReaders but the industry is only a few years old and I am hopeful that in time the benefits will grow and costs will come down.  In the meantime, and probably for long time to come, it is still wonderful to have a solid book in one’s hands that you can flick through, smell, and have the whole tactile experience that is one of the joys of reading.