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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Update on the Kobo eReader

I am very happy to report that my wonderful wife, for our second anniversary, decided to get me my own Kobo and I thought that I would point out my experiences so far. The device is well packaged and comes with a single accessory, a USB cable (standard mini USB cable in white). The device is cradled in a combination of foam and cardboard, with a screen protecting membrane installed on the face.

I removed the device from the package, removed the USB cable and plugged the device into my wife iMac. It took a moment and the device mounted in the Finder. At that point, I discovered that the device contained a folder with both the Windows and Apple version of the Kobo Desktop software. I quickly installed the Apple version and looked over the functionality. Well, let me say, this version of the application lacks a little "polish".

After determining that I was unable to view the 100 free included books in the application, nor could I remove them, I ejected the device (which should be done with any USB data device) and looked it over. The free books were there and I took a few moments to open a few and browse, as well as to check the various features of the Kobo. At least the device itself is fantastic: easy to read screen, great format, light weight, easy to hold and with a secure feeling in hand.

I decided to install the Windows version of the application on my netbook and see if this version was a little more complete. Alas, it is the very same application. Feeling somewhat disappointed, I logged on to the Kobobooks website, created an account, and started exploring what was available. According to the site, I can add books to a personalized section labelled My Library, which would sync them to my Kobo Desktop software, which I would then use to transfer the books to my Kobo. Sounds simple enough, I thought. I looked through the free section and  discovered that they were the very same books that I already had loaded on the device I had in my hand. I wasn't up to purchasing a new book, so I decided to determine if I could add books I currently had, many of which are in PDF format. I was aware that the device supported PDF display, but I was curious to see how well it would work. Since the device was available as a data drive, I dragged over a PDF file, ejected the drive and powered up the device.

The PDF file was available within the Document section of the device, and loaded up quickly and with great resolution. Basic PDF display commands were available, including the all important resize, which worked quite well. But that is when my troubles began. I decided to remove the PDF file from the device, first by connecting the Kobo back to the computer, letting the device mount and deleting the file from the drive. Several folders were now being displayed in the Kobo, including the PDF file I had dragged over.

The Kobo supports ePub and PDF formats at the moment, although the maker has hinted at further support down the road with firmware upgrades to the device. I have been downloading ePub files left, right and center to test with the device, since finding some advice online about using another application to send books to the device, called Calibre, which has been working a lot better for me than the Kobo Desktop.

I've been enjoying the device tremendously though; who could have thought that I would be able to carry hundreds of books in such a small and convenient device. I will post more concerning my experiences with this great device as I learn more about it from regular use. I can tell you that within a couple days of receiving it, I've already re-read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Most Dangerous Game and I am quarter of the way through The Count of Monte Cristo.

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