If you’re thinking of jumping into the eBook fray to add depth to your reading possibilities, or considering an e-reader of some kind as a Christmas or birthday gift for someone special, I’ll ask, “Kobo?” You might reply, “Kobo?”
Kobo is an e-reader, though it’s not a name that stands up and hollers when you wade into the market dominated by Kindle and NOOK. Of course you can read books on your iPad, iPod, or any kind of smartphone, on your computer or even on paper printed with ink. (What? Really?) Still, the dedicated e-reader has some advantages. It enables you to carry a shelf full of books with you on a trip; you can read in the dark as easily as in bright sunshine; you can search within the text, write notes and set bookmarks; eBooks cost less than paper; and you can change the font to the size most comfortable for you anytime. What is lost, in the minds of a lot of my friends, is worth more than all that, but for them the flaws are fatal to the idea. You lose the feel and smell of a real book. Real paper, real pages, margins you can write in if you dare, the weight of all those pages bound together in your hand. Besides, real old-fashioned books look nice on a bookshelf.
With all that, though, some people who thought they never would “go electronic” have tried it and liked it. Still, there are all those dizzying choices. Which way to go? Although A Breeze in Bulgaria is available at all of the major eBook outlets for all those various devices, it is most often purchased from Amazon, for the Amazon Kindle. They seem to dominate the market, and not just for Breeze. Barnes & Noble is next in popularity, with their NOOK brand e-reader. Apple does a pretty brisk business in books too, with their iBooks app (for iPad, iPod, iPhone and iDunno-what-else) tied to the iTunes store – there’s a lot of reading material in that corner of Apple’s huge virtual music store.
So why mention Kobo? I came across an interesting article on their brand of dedicated e-reader. The author, Jeremy Greenfield, writes about digital publishing and is somewhat of an authority on the medium. (He probably has a bookshelf full of different e-readers instead of traditional books!) His article, Taking Another Look at Ebook Upstart Kobo goes out on a limb in predicting a rosy future for the Canadian-based company. I only know one person who has a Kobo reader and she likes it pretty well. She was the reason I struck up a deal with Kobo for them to carry Breeze. Her reader was black and white, as many others are, though the Kobo tablets feature color displays. I like the color display since A Breeze in Bulgaria has photos that look better in Glorious Color.
Kobo ties in with independent bookstores too, as you can see on my Get the eBook page; Denver’s Tattered Cover Book Store, in addition to offering the “real” book on their shelves, offers the eBook through Kobo Books. Amazon, by the way, is aiming to shove their way into that market niche as well, setting Kobo in their sights as a target.
Here’s Kobo’s website, with you-know-what already pulled up for your perusal. Kobo Books. You can shop for their e-reader on the site so don’t Get the eBook until you have decided on a way to read it. (You can buy a Kobo e-reader on Amazon, surprisingly, or on eBay and a number of other sources as well as from independent brick-and-mortar bookstores. And from Kobo online.)
Oh, one more thing. If you are a patron of Douglas County (Colorado) Public Library, you can download A Breeze in Bulgaria from their online catalog. They are the first library in the country to offer it! Way to go, DougCo!