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Kobo Books and eReaders

February 12, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Kobo BooksOver the last year or so, I have been experimenting with eReaders and eBooks on my BlackBerry.  While at first it definitely took some getting used to, I feel quite comfortable reading on my device now.  I will admit that on a cloudy day at home, nothing is better than real book in your hands.  However, the convenience of having my book in my pocket all day is something else.  I can even read on my lunch break at work without having to carry a book around with me all day (I’m already carrying my phone so it’s no extra baggage).

Initially, I downloaded the BlackBerry app from eReader.com, primarily because it was the first eReader app I found for BlackBerry.  I definitely liked their app and their online selection was great.  No complaints whatsoever.  My only drawback is that eReader.com is owned and operated by Barnes & Noble.  Barnes & Noble is a great company, but they’re not Canadian.  Another eReader option that everyone is familiar with is Kindle (Amazon’s handheld device).  Now, Amazon has definitely brought eBooks into the mainstream, so we can thank them for that.  And they have released an app for the iPhone so Apple lovers can partake in the fun.  However, Amazon has not released an app for BlackBerry, or any other device for that matter, yet.  And also, not Canadian.

But just this past November (2009), without much fanfare, Kobo Books was launched, backed by Indigo Books & Music.  Now, I have always been a fan of Chapters and Indigo.  Especially because they are a Canadian company in a time when US companies seem to be swallowing up every successful Canadian company.  That, and who can complain about having a fresh Starbucks with you while you peruse the store.  And when purchasing online, I’m always slightly more comfortable when I know it’s with a reputable Canadian company.

Kobo has a good, and always expanding, collection of eBooks available online.  And according to their website, part of their mission is “assembling the world’s best catalogue of eBooks, no matter which device [their] customers use.”  Fantastic!  Additionally, their eBooks are also available without any digital rights management.  Meaning that you can download these books to any device you choose.  They provide apps for PC and Mac, BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile devices, Symbian (Nokia), and other devices.  And you can even download your purchased eBooks to a Kindle Reader or a Sony Reader if you happen to have spent your money on one already.

One of the other reasons I like Kobo, as opposed to eReader.com, is that they have a lot more Canadian-published eBooks available.  And for most books, you can preview the first chapter or two before you buy – just like being in the store.  They also have a decent selection of free classics that you can download to test things out before shelling out any cash.

I only found out about Kobo earlier this week, so I installed it on my PC and BlackBerry and have been trying it out for the lost couple of days.  So far, I love it.  Both the BlackBerry app and the PC application (Adobe Digital Editions) are free and work exactly as expected.  I will post an update once I’ve had a little bit longer to get accustomed and put some more mileage on it.

To download the BlackBerry app in App World, click HERE or you can find it on the Kobo website HERE.

Update Feb 18: Today Amazon released Kindle for BlackBerry; however, only to people who live in the US (i.e. still not available to Canadians).  So, I guess Amazon is almost there as well.  But, I am more than pleased with how Kobo is working, so Amazon is a bit too late on that one.

Update Jun 1: Still use it.  Still love it.  A lot of mobile apps have a tendency to fade out of usefulness.  Thought I’d keep the records straight here.

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