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Kobo Glo HD: First Impressions
June 15, 2015 | 3:27 pm

kobo glo hdMy shiny new Kobo Glo HD arrived last Thursday (seriously, Kobo, you wanted a delivery signature?), and I've been using it as my sole ereader ever since. (Well, ever since I sorted out a few issues. More on those in a minute.) While I've decided I like it, and may even like it a bit more than my Paperwhite, we had a rough beginning. If you've owned a Kobo in the past, or own one now, you've gotten past these rough patches. For those of you who might be thinking about a Kobo Glo HD (or other flavor of Kobo) as...

Does anyone even want cross-platform e-book interoperability?
June 6, 2015 | 6:06 am

padlockProprietary e-book formats have been around for quite some time. Most major commercial vendors use proprietary formats to one extent or another, be they Amazon’s Kindle format or the proprietary DRM that Barnes & Noble and others put on top of EPUB. Given that they help to chill competition and keep Amazon firmly on the top of the e-book hill, they are generally not accounted to be a good thing by publishing industry activists. But I ran across a provocative post at Digital Book World suggesting that they might actually be a good thing after all. Joshua Tallent says...

Kobo, American Booksellers Association launch ‘eRead Local’ promotion to boost bookstore e-book sales
May 27, 2015 | 4:12 pm

Kobo is launching a new program in conjunction with the American Booksellers Association to promote the sale of e-books in independent bookstores, reports Publishers Weekly. “eRead Local” will run for 100 days, and provide $5 to participating ABA members for each new customer they deliver, as well as give those customers $5 off their first Kobo e-book order. (ABA members also get commissions on e-books their customers order.) ABA members who manage to deliver 50 or 100 members will enter drawings for free Kobo e-readers for in-store use or an in-store event with a yet-to-be-named bestselling author. Publishers Weekly...

Exactly how waterproof is the Kobo H2O e-reader? Find out before you hit the beach
May 24, 2015 | 8:02 pm

AuraH2O_lifestyle_largeSeveral decades ago Arthur C. Clarke reminded a friend and me that e-book devices might develop amnesia if dropped in the bathtub. Well, time passes. I myself own a dandy waterpoof case for my Kindle Paperwhite. And I keep up with the Kobo world through a waterproof Aura H20. But wait! Exactly how waterproof is the H2O itself? The issue isn’t as simple as giving the H2O a quick dunk. How long will it be underwater? At what depth? I’ll leave such questions to braver souls in regard to the $180 Kobo. I was fine with dropping a $90...

Kobo steps in with Tesco for Blinkbox Books
January 30, 2015 | 4:25 pm

IMG_20150128_085403 After the lamentable news that UK supermarket chain Tesco was about to simply shutter its Blinkbox Books ebook platform, with no buyer or alternative operator in sight, Kobo has stepped up to take over the Blinbox titles, and customers. According to the reports, Kobo did not offer any money to Tesco for the service, but the two companies are working together on a transition nonetheless, with a Kobo app for the Tesco Hudl tablet in the offing that will allow existing Blinkbox Books customers to transfer their libraries easily. Those with unused Blinkbox credit, however, are apparently not having this transferred...

Want read-aloud in Kindles and other readers? Use FCC’s easy online form by Jan. 9
January 3, 2015 | 2:52 pm

Amazon CEO Jeff BezosUpdate: See the most recent version of the LibraryCity post with mention of an unofficial Jan. 9 deadline and a link to the FCC's easy comment form. You need to submit formally. Please e-mail the FCC ASAP. The agency deals with accessibility matters and will soon make an important accessibility decision affecting Kindles along with other e-readers. Don’t delay! For years, I’ve been publicly begging Amazon to stop muting its E Ink machines and restore text to speech in the future. I may even have been the first commentator to break the news about the Paperwhite’s lack of TTS. This isn’t mere rhetoric. I sold my...

Why we need an e-book DRM DMCA exemption
October 30, 2014 | 8:54 pm

It’s that time again. Ars Technica reports that the Copyright Office is accepting petitions on activities to exempt from the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions, making it legal to crack DRM for certain restricted purposes. We’ve reported on this procedure a few times over the last few years. The way it goes is that various people or organizations make proposals and the copyright office considers whether to grant them for the next three years. The exemptions then have to be requested again at the next session if they are to continue. Public Knowledge will be submitting requests to legalize...

Why NOT self-publish exclusively through Amazon?
September 19, 2014 | 7:50 pm

I first saw a post by Hugh Howey discussing the potential cost versus befits of going exclusive with Amazon a few days ago. I was thinking of saying something about it, but it kind of takes on added significance with the news about Barnes & Noble removing the “Download” button from its e-book library. Howey’s post is worth reading, but lends itself to easy summarizing. Essentially, Amazon provides a number of added benefits and incentives to writers who publish exclusively via Amazon either temporarily or continually: free giveaway days, or inclusion in e-book subscription services such as the...

Kobo appoints Tamblyn President, Chief Content Officer
April 8, 2014 | 12:25 pm

michale_tamblyn.jpgKobo, now probably Amazon's biggest rival in the ereader ecosystem realm, with Barnes & Noble wavering over the Nook and an also-ran outside the U.S., has just announced that Michael Tamblyn, hitherto its Chief Content Officer, has now had his position upgraded to the status of President and CCO. Seen here in an earlier video on TeleRead, Tamblyn is a founding member of Kobo's team, according to the company, and has "led the expansion of Kobo’s publisher relationships, content catalogue, and merchandising operations" since 2009. His new role will expand the content acquisition and business relationships development he is currently engaged...

Kobo dominance in Canada: good luck or good business?
March 9, 2014 | 2:32 pm

Kobo Dominance in CanadaI've long chalked up Kobo's success in Canada at least partly to good business: they're aces at local content, have a huge presence in Canadian retail thanks to their origins as a subsidiary of our major bookstore chain, Indigo, and recently they were acquired by the deep pockets at Rakuten, a leader in the Asian market. Two recent articles, however, suggest that Kobo's successes to date have been more a result of good timing than anything else. Nate at The Digital Reader wrote a great summary of Kobo's recent wranglings with the Canadian Competition Bureau. A day later, Michael at GoodeReader...

Serbinis to be Replaced at Kobo
February 5, 2014 | 9:15 am

koboAs reported in today's Morning Links, numerous sources are reporting that Michael Serbinis, who has been with Kobo since the beginning, is being replaced by a Rakuten veteran named Takahito Aiki, who was recently head of a Telecom and will be relocating to Canada to assume the post. Serbinis will remain on board as vice-chairman and founder. I think this could be good news. I have met Mr. Serbinis a handful of times and liked him, and I like Kobo's local partnerships and content strategies. But their customer service needs work, and I have always felt they were unconscionably slow at...

Why is the Kobo App Still So Annoying?
January 14, 2014 | 4:30 pm

kobo appI got an email yesterday from my esteemed editor Juli, wondering if I might be interested in commenting on the updated Kobo app, seeing as I am in Canada, aka The Country Where Kindle is Actually Not the Number One Brand. My initial response was 'ugh, do I have to?' I remembered the Kobo app as being clunky, crash-prone and difficult to navigate. But...maybe it had changed? Maybe it wasn't quite so bad anymore, several 'updates' since I last checked it out? Alas, no such luck. Kobo is still a frustrating and annoying app to use. I am not sure what...

Kobo Glo: A Port After the Storm
December 24, 2013 | 10:15 am

Kobo GloI'm sitting in a coffee shop right now, typing this on my phone (which is sharing a power bar with six other phones) and enjoying my first hot drink since Saturday. We have had no power since then and this toasted s'mores hot chocolate is the first thing I have eaten that's not a peanut butter sandwich. I don't know why the coffee shop has power and we, a few blocks away, don't. But this little store has been a lifeline today for people in the area---hot food and drink, the sharing of news and gossip about the storm we had...

Kobo Kissing the Blarney Stone with Eason Partnership in Ireland
October 31, 2013 | 12:26 pm

I'm not going to draw too many self-serving connections between the announcement that Kobo, fresh from its "finest hour," is about to enter the Irish market, and the news that the Republic may be about to abolish its Censorship of Publications board. (Less fear of being burned in Eire now, after all.) So anyway, Kobo has announced a partnership with leading Irish bookstore chain Eason & Son Ltd., "largest and oldest standing book retailer in Ireland ... with more than 60 outlets through Ireland and Northern Ireland." Under the deal, Kobo devices, including the Kobo Aura, Kobo Glo, and Kobo Arc...

“Kobo’s Finest Hour”? Really?
October 28, 2013 | 12:19 pm

KoboIt's rare to see a kneejerk panic reaction to populist scaremongering hailed as " a courageous stance," but then the whole debacle of Kobogate and the WHSmith ebook sales shutdown has been rich in cheap prudish posturing and unwitting self-condemnation, and I don't expect this to be the last shameful instance. Now we have Michael Tamblyn, Chief Content Officer at Kobo, going on record via "A Kobo Writing Life Update" to give his official post facto version of events. And we have John McKnight, "a comic novelist as well as the author of the notorious self-help manual "a comic novelist...

Thoughts on the Whole Kobo/WH Smith Situation
October 15, 2013 | 11:25 am

Kobo Nate from The Digital Reader took me to task last night in his comment on my post about Kobo's letter explaining why books had been removed from the store. I think he was right to do so, and I realized this morning that I had reacted as many had yesterday, without sitting down and thinking things through. I read many articles yesterday, and I spent a couple of hours browsing KBoards and Mobile Read, absorbing the reactions. There was solid information being shared, and some that might have been misinformation. I read a couple of articles that said Kobo and WH...

Kobo Has Sent Email to Authors/Partners on Writing Life
October 14, 2013 | 7:24 pm

Kobo Writing Life As a self-published author on Kobo, I just received this email: To our Kobo Writing Life and self-publishing partners: As you may be aware, there has been a significant amount of negative media attention in the UK regarding offensive material that became available across a number of eBook platforms. Kobo was included in the reports from media and we are taking immediate action to resolve an issue that is the direct result of a select few authors and publishers violating Kobo’s content policies. In order to address the situation Kobo is taking the following steps: 1.       We are removing titles in question from the...

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