Is the Kobo cool?

My household acquired the new Border’s e-reader, Kobo, on the weekend. The Kobo was released on Wednesday and with the dollar crashing to below 80c at one point on Friday I figured it might be now or never.

There’s no particular connection to Melbourne or to urbanism in this article but as this is the first time I’ve ever been a real early-adopter, I thought I’d share my experience. Perhaps my rationale can be that I’ve always had a page on this blog titled My Reading.

This’ll be a brief review because I haven’t really had much time to look at it, but based on my (limited) experience over the weekend and my wife’s slightly more extended experience, here are the pros and cons of the Kobo (which BTW I take to be an anagram of “book”?). Bear in mind that we only intend to use the Kobo for reading fiction.

On the pro side:

First, it’s very cheap – just A$199. It was released on Wednesday so I don’t know if there’re any left. Its closest rival, the Kindle, is US$249 and you have to wait for delivery.

Second, you can buy it over the counter. I got this one at Borders Carlton on Friday night. I’m a big user of e-commerce but having bricks and mortar to deal with is always preferable.

Third, it really is like reading paper. The screen isn’t lit by light like an LCD but uses a technology like the Etch A Sketch. It’s very easy on the eyes compared to a computer screen or an iPhone. There is a choice of two fonts and five type sizes – I expect the range will increase as the software is revised. Read the rest of this entry »