Want to do a “little” reading? Kobo has just put its Kobo Mini 5” e-ink reader on sale for 50% off until July 18th—$39.99 rather than $79.99. Light, touch-sensitive, Wi-FI capable, and 2 GB of on-board storage. It even has a built-in very basic web browser akin to the Kindle’s.

Of course, it’s tied to the Kobo store for book buying, but Kobo readers work great for unencrypted EPUB (such as everything Baen sells), as well Adobe DRM including Barnes & Noble’s. So if you’re the sort of person who keeps your e-books from everywhere in your Calibre library, and doesn’t care about Kindle Sync, this could be just the thing for you. Yes, the screen is tiny, but it’s not that much smaller than a paperback.

I mean, think about that. A $40 e-ink reader—from a major brand, not a cheap Chinese knock-off. That’s a price that almost doesn’t hurt if you leave it on the bus. Granted, that’s just a sale price, but I do honestly think we’re only a few years from having a $10 “disposable” reader.

(Found via E-Reader-info and CNet.)


  1. Gah! A great price on yet another worthy reading device. Currently I own a Kindle 3, Kindle Paperwhite, and Kobo Aura HD+ (that’s just the e-ink devices). I’d be willing to give up the two Kindles if I could transfer the ‘sent-to-Kindle’ items to my Kobo. The Send-to-Kindle really is the one compelling feature I miss with the Kobo. On LCD tablets (which I also own too many) at least apps/services like Readability can substitute.

    But for $40, I suspect I might drop by my local indie store when my special-ordered books arrive and grab one of these on principle.


  2. @Patrick Perez — Agreed. I definitely do not need one of these at all. And yet at $40, I’m so tempted, primarily because I have an odd fascination with tiny consumer electronics. I’m actually one of the few people who bought a netbook when they first reached the U.S. market; a guy I was house-sitting for in the Philippines had one, and it about blew my mind.

    Of course, I bought the absolute smallest model I could find, which in retrospect was not terribly wise. I still have it – it’s a seven-inch Eee PC, and it still works just as well as when I first powered it up. It’s just a bit too slow, though; there’s not quite enough power and memory in the thing. And a seven-inch screen is really pushing it in the usability department; I generally have to scale websites down to about 75 percent if I want to look at them without having to scroll back and forth the entire time. Then again, I can carry the thing with me in my messenger bag all day, and I can barely tell its there.

    Point is, there are always downsides to amazingly small and light CE devices, many of which you never discover until well after you’ve owned and used the device for a while. I’d be curious to hear from any Kobo Mini owners about their experiences with the reader.

    For instance, has it ended up being more trouble than its worth? Do you find yourself choosing not to take it along with you when you leave the house, even though you know you’re going to want to have something to read? Also: Is the reading experience just as annoying as reading on a smartphone, or is it really nothing like that at all?

  3. I bought a Mini for $80 when they first came out. I still love it! It is not my primary ereader. That roll is currently held by the Kobo Aura HD. The mini is my preferred device for appointments. It weighs practically nothing and is rediculously easy to carry. It fits in my pants pocket or along with anything I might be holding. I would definitly recommend this for $40 as a second reader.

  4. Dan has written a perfect description of me, in terms of the knee-jerk buy response to any kind of new gadget. I have nearly ever Kindle released through Paperwhite, and all of them work great. I’ve given one to wife, son, and daughter. But it occurs to me that i could justify buying this one for $40 as a cheap gift for a brother who is an old school paper and binding snob. He insists he cannot read from any kind of screen, period. I could easily load this up with some of the books he loves, and see if that holds out.

  5. I think I have enough devices. Kindle 1, Kindle 2, Kindle 3, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire 8.9″, iPhone, iPad, and an early eink Kobo. I’m not sure what kind. It was gotten cheap at a Borders going out of business sale and I bought one book for it, but I disliked the block style formatting, I download a few library books but all the margins were double or triple wide. It kind of put me off Kobo and I never really used it, but $40 is dirt cheap, and I might be will to give them a second shot if I didn’t already have a pile of devices.

  6. I have been looking for a kobo mini on sale. We are involved with a youth fishing derby and looking for a gender neutral prize that promotes positive behavior (reading)

    our limit is $40….but I see I have missed the deadline.

    oh well….

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