Switching from Kindle to Kobo
On the left: new Kobo – On the right: Old Kindle
My Old Kindles
After using Kindle e-readers and Goodreads for 9+ years, I decided to move away from Amazon’s e-book empire. I’ve had 2 Kindles in my life: the 6” 4th Generation (2012) and the 6” Kindle Paperwhite 1 – 5th Generation (2013). At the time I got my first Kindle, back in Brazil, there weren’t too many options available. I wanted to read books in English and Amazon was the only service I could access back then. Amazon was convenient.
At some point along the way, I heard about Rakuten Kobo, a Canadian e-reader/e-books focused company (now also owned by a Japanese group). There was also Barnes and Noble with their Nooks and even a Brazilian publisher with their locally produced e-readers. But the access to the huge Amazon’s e-books catalog was unrivaled back then. My Kindle Paperwhite worked fine throughout all those years. Sometimes it froze, true, but nothing that a soft (and long) reset couldn’t solve. I tend to use my devices (be it e-readers or mobile phones) up until they become useless due to lack of support or just stop working. There are some exceptions in which I just want a better device.
My first 2 Kindles (Left: 4th Generation 2012 | Right: Paperwhite 1 – 5th Generation 2013)
Over the years I grew leerier and leerier of Amazon’s power and influence. Not to mention the accounts of their underpaid and over-exploited employees. Since my Kindle was almost 10 years old and it started to lag more than usual, I finally made the jump out of Amazon’s grasp.
Kobo Libra H20
I got the Kobo Libra H20 and I’ve been using it for over a month now. These are the main reasons I’m enjoying it:
- Overall better device compared to my old Kindle: size, weight, screen resolution, real buttons to flip pages, text sharpness, it’s faster and I can rotate it to read in whichever position feels right at the moment.
Battered old Kindle and the new Kobo side by side
- It’s totally integrated with the public libraries in Canada through OverDrive: I can download e-books from the Ottawa Public Library directly from the device, or I can use the Libby app on the phone to do so, and it all syncs! (in Canada Kindles do not connect to the public libraries like they do in the United States)
- Synchronization: e-books synchronize both on the e-reader and on the Kobo app, so I can continue reading on my laptop or phone if I want to. Yes, that includes all the books from the public library! 🤩
- Overall reading experience: I like the asymmetric format and there are various options to configure text appearance and make adjustments on the fly. The text looks sharper and I found myself being able to read with smaller fonts (on the Kindle, I was always using huge fonts!). I like the bar at the bottom showing reading progression and how I can customize which information is shown at the top and bottom of the screen. For the Header, it can be: time remaining in chapter, pages left in chapter, percent left in chapter or none. For the footer I can choose: pages left in book, percent of book read, time remaining in book or none.
- Home Menu and Stats: The Kobo does a much better job than my old Kindle at showing the books I’m reading, the books that are on the device, and the links to borrow books from the library. There are even some reading stats with hours of reading and average speed.
I also got Kobo’s sleep cover which can be folded and act as a kickstand. I love it when I’m reading during breakfast or lunch breaks while I’m seated.
I’m getting most of my books from the Public Library now. It’s a precious resource that I have overlooked for years!
Not all the books are available at the Library, of course. For those, I’ve been exploring the Kobo store and there are really good deals. There’s a rewards points system, too, so it pays to buy there.
A few months ago the ladies from the Reading Glasses Podcast published an interview with Kobo’s CEO Michael Tamblyn and that influenced me to choose the Kobo Libra H20 over the other models. It just seemed right.
Since reading is my favorite downtime/leisure activity, having a device I truly enjoy makes my day! 😎
After I switched to Kobo, I went back to my digital Amazon library and backed up everything. I counted 316 e-books. Unfortunately, these books are all tied to Amazon’s proprietary format (.MOBI or .AZW) and they can only be read on Kindle devices. Those 316 books are locked to Amazon’s system. (There are ways to “unlock” them, but I won’t get into that here).
Unlike Amazon, Kobo makes it easy to download e-books to whatever device you own. The opposite is also true: Kobo devices accept various formats.
So, public library access + non-proprietary formats + good device = 💙
By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.