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Kobo:Walking around with a whole library in my pocket

I always have books to hand. Mainly public library books.

I like to read.

It expands the mind.

But now that my Kobo eReader has arrived my 'mind' has been zipped. The device is smaller and lighter than I expected. After using our domestic shared iPad, these attributes of the Kobo come as something of a shock.

It's the size of a standard envelope  stuffed with a very long letter (or a couple of handkerchiefs). Reading on the Kobo is like reading a pamphlet.

So when it comes to digital reading I can tell you now that size does matter. The Kobo makes the iPad look like Godzilla and weighs as much as a small cup of tea.

"Look mum! I'm reading one handed."

Would I have preferred a bigger screen? Thus far I can say that my reading of pdf has not been a great experience even though the Kobo is supposed to be pdf  friendly. But then pdf is such a painful reading experience on any computer or device because pdf is a printer's format.

And with pdf size does matter:  with pdf you need a screen that presents the content at actual size.

PDF is a layout format. For large format pdf -- like manuals and such with illustrations -- forget the Kobo. Ditto for colour. (Comic lovers take note).

For standard pdf text documents, my response  has been to convert them with Calibre to ePub format and enjoy much more that reading experience. Conversion is one click easy and Calibre 'sends to' your device with another tap on the mouse.

But if your pdf files are DRM protected...you'll be stuck with reading pdf.

Damn  dat DRM.

How does Kobo compare to the Ipad? Well, the distractions aren't there, are they? There are no Angry Birds or  Googling to distract you from the coal face of reading.  It's for reading books (although a crude web browser is on board). The screen is kinder on the eyes. The battery life is exponentially much longer. You can put Kobo in your pocket, whereas the Ipad is like a satchel. *

Like a mobile phone it is your take anywhere device.

When I was studying in the late sixties, my fashionable vogue was to walk around campus with a Penguin paperback stuffed in my jacket pocket, ever ready for a squiz. The costuming was such a pose. The Kobo reprises such  style, except instead of one book I can walk around with a whole library in my pocket.
I could load the Kobo with all the 100 Classic Books You Must Read Before You Die plus The Complete Works of William Shakespeare  and  Karl Marx's Capital  ( or tackle Joyce's Ulysses again) without feeling the weight... or the price, as I can get almost all this suff as free download from the libraries in the clouds. If I buy online, I can limit myself to $10 a purchase and still 'fill my cart' with tens of thousands of books.Even public libararies are enlarging their ebook offerings. No wonder research confirms that with ebook readers, people read more.According to an IDC study from March 2011, sales for all e-book readers worldwide gained to 12.8 millions in 2010 but since then a Pew Internet and American Life study has found that eBook reader ownership in the United States has doubled between November 2010 and May 2011 from 6 to 12 percent. Amazon now sells more ebooks than hard copy books. For self publishing and distribution, ereadership changes the  game for writers such that now even Amazon (and many other distributors) will carry self published texts.

* I wondered whether the addition of listening to mp3 files would add to my 'reading' experience on such a portable device. Kobo doesn't do mp3.  But then I walk around hands free when I listen to mp3 files, trudging the land, and my mp3 player hangs from a cord around my neck. I can listen to any audio book that way if I want to. So why do I want to complicate matters by setting aside a means to carry an eReader-- or a tablet -- just so I can listen to stuff? Multi functional devices demand a trade off and just as I don't demand of Charles Dickens that he talk to me, I'm not in the market for a Swiss army knife eReader.


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