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Chris Walters, a respected tech commenter, and the guy who sat in for me while I took my cross-country motorcycle trip last year, has gotten so fed up with the bloating in the new Kobo app that he just doesn’t use it any more.  Here is a part of his post from his Booksprung blog:

I no longer enjoy launching the Kobo app on my iPhone or iPad. I stopped looking forward to interacting with it a few updates ago, and now I actually avoid it.

This has been building for a while. A year ago, I praised Kobo for being ahead of the curve when it came to adding entertaining new features to its iPad app (the features were later extended to other platforms). “Best app,” I wrote then, and I meant it. But over the past six months—well, ever since Apple crippled all the competing ebook retailers’ apps for strategic reasons in the summer of 2011—Kobo has been adding new features to make its app more and more “social” and “networked” and “fun”, with the consequence that the app has started to become less and less enjoyable to use. The latest upgrade (version 5.3) has simply made it not worth bothering with anymore.

Find out the details in his post.


  1. Oh, my God! I had not opened the Kobo app for awhile but do have books on it. I’ve been letting it update along with other iPad apps. When I opened the most recent version, it literally took me about five minutes to claw my way to one of my books. I had to keep closing screens along the way. When you try to go to your library, the first line of books it shows are recommendations, the 2nd line your own books, and below that best sellers. In my library I only want to see my own books. Then when I was finally allowed to click on a book, it popped up a final screen asking me if I wanted to see what people were saying about this page! How about just letting me read my book without all these annoyances? This is, without a doubt, the most obnoxious interface I have ever run into and will not encourage me to buy any more Kobo books. Since my original Kobo device is dead, this is the only way I have to read them, and I surely do not want to buy another Kobo from a company more concerned with my social interaction than with books. My Kindles will suffice.

  2. Hear hear. WTF, I have stopped buying their books because their site isn’t iPhone optimized like Amazon. Second, trying to use their app is nothing short of disasterous. Thirdly, unlike Amazon who got everything right right from the beginning: let’s you know which books you’ve bought & you can easily send them to your device(s), Kobo does none of these things. Like you, I’ve stopped using their site, etc. (unfortunately, i’ve purchased too many books from them to totally walk away). Kobo, bring back Shortcovers and optimize that website for iPhones or risk losing me as a customer. I’m already gone.

  3. @Mary; I believe you can run the KOBO for PC app to download the Kobo books in generic ADEPT form. At that point you can read them in any ADE-compliant app on PC, Mac, iOS, or Android. (No shortage of good ones.) Or you can DeDRM them and convert to Mobi format and read on Kindle.

    This kind of sledgehammer marketing does more to offend customers than any extra sales might be worth. If enough people tell them so they may react. Or if they don’t, well, you *can* take your books and walk away.

  4. I buy most of my books from Kobo, but don’t use their app. I have looked at using the app a couple of times but each time there have been additional features that I didn’t like. I continually come across their recommendations on their website and absolutely hate that feature – not only do they keep recommending the same books again and again when I have already indicated that I am ‘not interested’, they also keep recommending books that I have already purchased from them. Similarly, other recommendations Kobo makes baffle me as to why Kobo would think I would even be interested in them! They need to add a recommendations option to everyone’s profiles so I can select NO!

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