I thought it might be an idea to talk about the Kobo Glo now that I’ve been using it for a couple of months. I’ve read approximately 5 books on it so far, so I suppose you can call it a success, but in my previous post I was inevitably positive and hadn’t really used it yet.
Now I have, and I have to say that despite the fact I’ve since updated the software, it is still very slow. I believe opening books may have become quicker, however that could just be the psychological effect of assuming an update ought to have fixed issues.
A note on this update is required. Originally I hadn’t planned to update the device but was forced to a few weeks ago after signing out of my account caused the device to reset itself. This doesn’t appear to be a bug, rather it’s Kobo’s method of enabling multiple users. But it’s downright shoddy to force the user to set up the device from scratch on sign out.
One of the reasons I got the Glo was the advertised ability to read PDFs. I say ‘advertised’ because reading the format is a pain. Because you can’t resize text for PDFs, many files are impossible to use – who wants to spend their reading time squinting at minuscule text? It’s not Kobo’s fault per se, it’s the publishers who continue to use a format that was never meant for small screens, but Kobo should make it obvious that being able to use PDFs is not the same as being able to read them when it comes to their ereader. Yes, you can zoom in and switch to landscape view, but that makes reading an incredible chore. (The photo shows the contents page of a PDF, which is contrasted with the page count font size. For source reasons I ought to say the book is The Underground Witch.)
Epubs work well but bottom margins can be awful. You’ll often have a single short paragraph and then the rest of the screen will be blank. I realise this might sometimes be a case of writers using gaps to signal a scene change but when I’ve smelt a rat and checked the file on a desktop application, the text runs on smoothly. Kobo created their own format, kepub, which seems to be one of the culprits, but most of my experiences have been with proper epubs.
All said, the reading experience is okay as long as your file works. I don’t use annotations, partly because of the snail pace, but pages turn quickly enough, the device is light weight with plenty of space to hold it comfortably without covering the screen, and the light is useful for gloomy British summers. You can’t turn off the page count at the bottom which is a pity, though the good thing about the count is that it tends to provide you with the page number according to the book itself (the print edition I assume), rather than the count according to how your settings affect the text. And of course you have the percentage read on shut down (which balances out the page counting options). You can also see how much you’ve read in percentage form by opening up the book menu (via tapping the centre of the screen – the top bar shows the time followed by the percentage read).
Due to the kepub debate – I’m unconvinced Kobo isn’t still changing books they’ve received from the publishers – I wouldn’t recommend buying ebooks from them.
To summarise, the Kobo Glo is good, and certainly I like it, but it has many flaws. I would recommend it in general – especially considering it takes books from a range of sellers – but with the information that it can be frustrating at times.
Would you try the Glo? Or, if you already have one, do you like it?
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June 26, 2013, 1:58 pm
I was interested in the Kobo because of the glow button which my Kindle doesn’t have. But overall I’m happy to stick with my Kindle. It is quick and easy to use. Although like you I also have problems reading PDFs depending on the font size.
June 26, 2013, 2:55 pm
I use the Kindle Paperwhite, which glows in low light, and I love it beyond all reason. I should have a write up about my experiences with it soon – I want to wait at least one more month.
June 26, 2013, 9:25 pm
I’m not sure I would use anything other than my Kindle – I’m really happy with how that works.
June 27, 2013, 5:17 am
bummer! I adore my Sony Reader and am sad it’s so low on market share — am slavishly devoted to the e-ink reader. PDFs are problematic on it, too — had an ARC with ‘proof’ emblazoned on each page, and it crashed my reader twice. so annoying!
June 27, 2013, 7:21 am
I have the simplest kindle and I’m very happy with it. It is a little bit slow when I connect the wifi and try to download the books instead of using the USB, but I like it very much and I read very often on it.
It would be wonderful to read pdfs on an ereader, but well, this is a format only for tablets and computers, and I only use my kindle for reading books.
Anyway, I’m very happy your have told us your first impression of you kobo, because this is an ereader I didn’t know that much.
June 27, 2013, 6:40 pm
I feel so inexperienced when it comes to ereaders but I’ve been curious what the Kobo was all about. I currently have a very very basic model Kindle and just this week purchased a Nook on sale (get it Friday). Both were absolutely whimsy buys with no research on my part (Kindle from coworker, Nook because it was on sale and I wanted something touch screen and with a backlight). It sounds like if you want to read regular stuff on Kobo it’s a good device but nothing spectacular? I haven’t ventured into egalleys so haven’t experienced the pdf/epub issues you note here. Will be interesting to see if that changes with the Nook. Kindle seems fairly universal.
June 28, 2013, 5:01 pm
I use a Kindle, and in general it’s pretty easy to use and doesn’t have the problems you mention, but I hate being tied in to Amazon all the time. Plus the reading experience is intangibly different from real books. A paper book feels like a real treat, but reading on the Kindle is just OK.