I was once one of the resistors. I hate reading for any length of time on a computer screen, so why would I want to read an entire book on one? I like to hold a book in my hands! Somehow, reading on an e-reader just felt like… cheating!
Then one night I was out with some friends, and my friend Kim pulled out her new Kindle and explained how it worked. I immediately noticed something: it didn’t look like a computer screen! She showed me how to increase or decrease the font; how to change from one book to another; how easy it was to download something new to read. I was shocked to realize that I was jealous. I WANTED ONE!!!
But, this was several years ago, and Kindles were still hard to come by in Canada, and quite expensive. It wasn’t likely going to happen. Then I found out that Chapters/Indigo had come out with their own e-reader: the Kobo, and it was considerably more economical, and easier to locate here. I was absolutely thrilled when my loving in-laws gave me one for Christmas.
I’m going to say it right now: just because I got an e-reader did NOT mean that I stopped reading “real” books. I loved reading both ways. The one thing I found an e-reader extremely convenient for, though, was my commute. When I was taking the train back and forth to work every day, with a lot of time for reading, it was SO nice to be able to just put my e-reader into my bag and go. I took to reading some fairly heavy hardcover library books for a while, and it’s amazing how much they weighed, carrying them around all of the time. In contrast, my Kobo fit into my purse.
But What Kind of E-Reader Should I Get?
There are a lot of options out there now. Kindles are still the most popular overall, but Kobo is still the top-seller in Canada. The major difference between the two is the file format that they use. Kindle uses its proprietary file: the .mobi, while Kobo (as well as Sony, and most “no-name” e-readers) use .epub.
What the heck does THAT mean?
OK, in English, .epub files are much more universal, and so you can buy a book from Kobo’s online store, and still read it on a Nook (Barnes & Noble’s e-reader) or a Sony, or one of the off-brand e-readers. Kindle files (.mobi) can only be read on Kindles. Basically, Amazon is trying to make sure that once you buy their e-reader, you’ll only be buying books from them. Actually, you CAN convert .epub files to read on a Kindle and vice-versa, through programs like Calibre, but it’s kind of a pain.
The other good thing about .epub files is that most libraries now will allow you to “borrow” e-books, but – in Canada at least – they only have .epub files. So Kindle owners are out of luck in that regard.
That being said, Kindle does have a very large library of free e-books, especially through its “Kindle Select” program which allows authors to have a certain number of promotional days where they can give away copies of their book. A lot of indie authors have taken advantage of the program, and so you can discover some great books of which you might not otherwise hear. Amazon also has its “Prime” member program which allows members to borrow one book per month for free, and this can include a lot – if not all – of the bestsellers.
My one true “con” with the Kobo was that my beloved e-reader died a horrible, blurred screen death after only about 18 months. The warranty on a Kobo is for 12 months, so I was officially out of luck. After the fact, a few people told me (and this is strictly anecdotal evidence, so please don’t take it as fact) that this is a fairly common occurrence with Kobos. If this is true, it makes me very sad, because overall I was thrilled with how user-friendly my Kobo was, and I still do want another one.
In terms of the more “tablet-y” e-readers, such as the Kindle Fire or Kobo Arc, I have little experience with them. In my opinion, the reason I liked just a straight e-reader is that for someone as easily distracted as I am, it was better to have as few bells and whistles as possible, so that I had less temptation to do anything other than reading.
Still have questions about whether you’d prefer a Kobo or Kindle? Leave them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them.
PS – If this is your first time here, and you’d like to know more about my books, you can click here!