img_0636As a preliminary to my “main event”, reviewing the Kobo Wireless Reader I bought yesterday, I’m going to spend a few paragraphs reviewing the protection plan. Actually, to call it just a plan is a misnomer, as it includes a zipper case, a screen protector, three anti-static wipes, and coupons for a free small coffee and 15% off an item at a Borders or Waldenbooks. No wonder it’s officially called the “Borders eReader Protection Plan Pack”. I got it for $20, marked down from $50, and figure I probably broke even on the deal. It was the only one they had left, so would-be bargain hunters may want to check their local store soon.

img_0638The plan itself seems to be a pretty standard protection plan, covering manufacturer defects and accidental damage for a period of two years—twice as long as the manufacturer’s warranty. I couldn’t help noticing that even though it covers accidental damage, it doesn’t cover things like negligent use or using the product for purposes other than it was intended.

Those seem like a bit of a loophole to me: if you accidentally stepped on your reader and broke the screen, were you negligent for leaving it on the floor? If you dropped it, were you negligent for having butterfingers? Hopefully, I never have to find these things out. As I mentioned yesterday, the plan is provided by a third party, so it will still apply even if Borders goes completely belly-up.

Update: Or so I thought, anyway. In a comment on another post, Becca points out that this third party hasn’t actually been paid by Borders yet. Caveat emptor.

img_0639Apart from that, the big item is the case. It seems sturdy enough, and it has plenty of flat pockets on the inside to hold stuff. And the Kobo reader fits nicely into it. The one problem I have with it is that the reader is meant to be secured with a big strip of adhesive-backed velcro. I suppose this makes sense in that the protection plan was actually a sort of generic kit meant for any e-book reader that costs $149.99 or less; they couldn’t know what reader was going to be used with enough certainty to design it to fit any other way.

Still, I far prefer cases like the cheap iPad case I reviewed, or the case that comes with the Sharper Image Literati (which I still need to get around to reviewing as well), where you tuck one end of the device into an enclosure and secure the other with loops of elastic. I really don’t like the idea of sticking something onto the back of my Kobo—not only is it more permanent than I want, but it feels like it messes up the reader’s lines, and if and when it does peel off it will leave annoying adhesive residue behind.

In keeping with the one-size-fits-all nature of the kit, the screen protector is meant to be trimmed down to fit the screen, then applied. Who’s actually going to want to put in that amount of effort? And I’m a little dubious about how well it will actually look when applied. Maybe I’ll have my Dad do it if I loan the device to him.

And, yes, I know, it’s a generic kit. But even so…anti-static wipes? Seriously? For an e-ink screen? Does an LCD screen even need anti-static wipes? I would really have preferred a single soft cloth wipe such as came with my new pair of prescription glasses. At least  that wouldn’t be used up.

As a final touch of irony, the coupons in the kit can no longer be used at the Borders where I bought it, since it’s not accepting coupons any more due to the liquidation. (I could probably still use the 15% one at the Waldenbooks in the mall, I guess.) The coupons expire on September 11, 2011—wouldn’t it be funny if they lasted longer than the store that issued them?

All things considered, I don’t know whether I really broke even on this deal. Certainly I would never have paid $50 for accessories I’ll mostly be unable or disinclined to use. At $20, it’s not so bad, though, especially if you don’t mind the idea of sticking velcro onto the back of your e-reader. And I’ll certainly be glad I invested if something goes wrong with it between 12 and 24 months from now. Update: Assuming, of course, that Borders pays the warranty company.


  1. The scratch guard is basically a larger sheet of the generic one-size-fits-all scratch guards that Walmart sells for music players. It works pretty well, but you’re going to need a stiff card (not included) to squeegee the air bubbles out as you lay it down, and maybe two or three chances to position it correctly.

    And yes I did put the extra effort in, but as anybody who knows me will tell you, I’m a bit of a freak. Not enough of a freak to put a big strip of velcro on the back of my Kobo, of course… :)

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