What’s a Kobo?

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!

10 thoughts on “What’s a Kobo?

  1. The e-book- an amazing world. I have an ipad with the nook and the kindle app (there is always an app for that!!). and of course the iBooks – when I travel it seems I now take the laptop, iPhone and ipad along with a book-but no magazines.
    I do not seem to read as much as I used to on an e reader, and still have a stack of paper books to read. I like when my friends and family hand me a book to read. Sharing does not seem encouraged in the e world – except as Bruce noted, from the library.
    I know the future is ebooks -lots of books, magazines, newspapers in one spot, light weight, no glasses required.
    The questions remains how do they survive suntan lotion?

    A Breeze in Bulgaria is a great book for an e-reader- it is a book to read slowly, a book that makes you think about lots of things- most of all how wonderful it is to live in the USA .

    • Good question about suntan lotion. On the beach or by the pool, though, I would be the limiting factor without it, so sunscreen resistance would be a must for any book I go outside with, paper or electronic. Thanks for the nice compliment about Breeze being a book that makes you think. I love knowing you think so.

  2. Well done, Bruce. I enjoyed reading your article. When I went new on my phone, I had NOOK, already. But now I am reminded to get your wonderful book in my reader. I’m almost finished reading my first book. Yours will make a great addition to my “library”.

  3. France’s biggest bookstore chain, FNAC, chose to link up with Kobo for its eBook offerings and it private-brands Kobo to sell in its stores and on its website. As soon as you look beyond Amazon’s Kindle-based proprietary file formats, just about all other eReaders (e.g. Nook, Kobo) use a uniform ePub file format.

    • Vive la France! I knew Breeze was sold in France through amazon.fr but I didn’t know about FNAC. I looked for it on the FNAC website and was glad to see it listed, mais certainement through Kobo. Kobo has a wider reach than I knew.

  4. I read “Breeze”, on my Nook app for my phone. But got very upset, when I couldn’t see much of the beautiful pictures…So the app came off the phone. But I still have a Nook, my text is bigger, then “normal”, so my finger gets tired from “turning” the pages more often……Such a sad state of affairs! So, to me e-books will always be my choice, “when traveling”. But I have so many regular ones, that are sitting on the lovely book shelves, those will get read first. Great to hear that “Breeze” is offered so many different places.

    • Ah, such a life we lead! Tired finger from turning electronic pages. I can relate. I’ve had that, no kidding! First world problems. As for seeing the Breeze pictures in color, I tried to accommodate that as well. You may have seen it already, but here, especially for when you’re on a full-screen computer… Glorious Color. And as always, thank you for reading my blog and being in touch.

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