Amazon’s E Ink Kindles won’t give you all-text bold, a little detail for most people but a big deal for some elderly booklovers, K-12 kids and others with contrast-sensitivity issues. Keep speaking up! Beyond that, you can thumb your nose at Amazon’s ageists and can buy a rival Kobo E Ink machine with a font-weight adjuster. In fact, the Kobo Glob HD model with front-lighting and a 300 pixels-per-inch screen is on sale through Valentine’s Day for $110 with free shipping—$20 off.
The catch is that Kobo devices can’t read DRMed Amazon books, and U.S. laws bans the stripping of DRM in most cases. No small problem. Amazon’s bookstore offers more choices and lower prices than Kobo’s. Not to mention the issue of enjoying your existing books.
But the Kobo might be just right for you if you stick to nonDRMed titles such as public domain classics and many offerings from self-publishers and small presses. The fit might also be good if you live in a place where it isn’t illegal to strip DRM, or if you’re in the U.S. but think you could still get away with circumventing DRM for accessibility reasons. In the latter case, please check with a lawyer and keep your expectations very low.
Going by the specs for the Glo, it can read not only ePub, among other formats, but also Mobi, used with many Amazon books. What’s more, the Glo HD works with OverDrive library books and perhaps those from other vendors.
Here’s the Glo HD’s page at the Kobo store. According to Good e-Reader—I haven’t tested this—people in the U.S. can actually save still more money by ordering the Glo instead from one of the Indigo stores in Canada to take advantage of currency exchange rates. True? Shipping charges to U.S.? To locate a store, go here and just type in the name of a Canadian city. I chose Toronto and found an ample supply in stock.
Meanwhile, just so Kindle owners know what they’re missing, here’s a shot of the Glo’s typographical menu (it’s from Kobo, which added the top shading—not present in real life). Why can’t the brains at Amazon give us something similar for the Paperwhite and Voyage machines? Is a font-weight adjuster too high tech for Jeff Bezo’s crew? Oh, and you might also care to know that the Kobo offers 48 font sizes, many more than the limited options available on Kindle machines.