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Kindle Or Kobo in Canada?

Why is Kindle Paperwhite the perfect Kindle?

Price! It was on sale on Black Friday and is again on sale now for $115CAD. The new version has a modern flash design. It does not have physical page turn buttons but the touchscreen is perfectly capable of easy navigation. It also has a dark mode for reading at night. I personally would not have bought one if it did not have a dark mode. It also has a warm light and brightness adjuster so it is pleasant to read in various light settings.

The other feature that I really like is Kindle’s integration with gooreads, and that is to be expected because both companies are own by Amazon. I also like the X-ray feature which is a boom for someone like me who reads multiple books at the same time. Integration with a dictionary and wikipedia is also great.

The only thing I wish Kindle had was flexibility in the format of the ebooks. I do not like getting tied to one company for anything. The greater a company’s openness, the higher is my personal rating. This is the very reason, I use open source software like firefox, linux, nextcloud, libre office etc..

Disadvantage of Kindle

The other disadvantage of owning a Kindle ereader is the lack of integration with public libraries. Currently, Kindle does not support local libraries in Canada( or is is that local libraries do not support Kindle ereaders. Either way, it is a no-go).

Kobo – The more open Kindle Alternative

Kobo on the other hand does work well with local libraries. Most public libraries in Canada support Overdrive which has tight integration with Kobo. You can browse and borrow books from public libraries that support Overdrive directly from Kobo ereaders. Again, this is to be expected because Kobo and Overdrive are owned by Rakuten.

Another advantage of Kobo is that it is more open and can read ebooks from multiple sources because it uses the ePub format. This way you are not locked into one store like what Amazon does with Kindle.

My Choice?

Kindle

My choice a is a bit complicated. I subscribe to Amazon Prime, which no doubt is a great service. It includes free shipping for most orders on Amazon, Prime Video and Prime Reading, which provides you with free books that you can read without waiting for holds or having an time limits. Also, I really do love the Goodreads integration and X-ray integration.

Amazon locks you into the Kindle bookstore. Kindle also does not support overdrive in Canada, which normally would be a big knock against Kindle, however,

Kobo

I live in Brampton, and 2 years ago Brampton Library decided to remove Overdrive support. So buying a Kobo, just does not make sense for me. I am very disappointed that Brampton Library no longer supports Overdrive.

But there are other good things about Kobo, like the fact that it is more open than Kindle, and Brampton Library still does support Kobo with CloudLibrary, but there are extra steps involved, which for someone like me, reading itself is an extra step IN LIFE, is a big no no.

Kobo also supports Mozilla’s Pocket, and even though I have an account and have the plugin enabled, I never really use it, but just like reading books included with my prime membership was not read by me until I got a Kindle, who knows, I might start using Pocket more if I got a Kobo.

One more thing that pulls me towards Kobo is its Canadian roots. And because it supports overdrive, I am even thinking of paying $120/year to get non-resident access to Toronto Library – oh how I miss living in Toronto.

Final Decision?

If I am honest, I am leaning more towards Kindle. What it has going for itself is:

  • Goodreads Integration
  • Amazon Audibles integration
  • X-ray feature
  • Prime Reading
  • You can sort of, kind of, may be if you are willing to go through some hoops and charter into territory of using a software like Calibre to convert books borrowed from public libraries to read them on a Kindle ereader.

If Amazon decided to open up its doors to Overdrive, then Kindle will be a nobrainer, but until then, I still need to consider Kobo as an alternative.

I am thinking of purchasing the Kobo Libra 2 to see if I like it better than the Kindle Paperwhite.

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Never Too Late to Start Reading

It may be unfathomable to most that anyone who loves to write, not share the same sentiment towards reading. I am such a person, or rather, and might I delightedly correct myself – I was such a person. In retrospect perhaps this was a sign on my unwillingness to listening before I spoke. Being a natural introvert, I never thought that that was a problem I had. But speaking less does not equate to listening more.

Listening before you wanting to be heard is something that I have learned from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Normally, I would not be reading this or any other such book. Any book that I have read in my life was because I had to for school or for a work project. However, most of my work project reading fell under technical documentation or wikis.

The only reason, I started reading the book was because, it was free for Amazon Prime members, and since I had in the past from multiple sources, heard good things about the book. I had started reading it in May of this year. A week ago, I was not even half way through the book. Reading to me was an idea imagined to be worth pursuing, but lacking the same allure of…um.. anything but reading.

This Black Firday, I made an impulse purchase of a Kindle Paperwhite. It was heavily discounted, and I thought, “oh what the heck.” and the next think I knew was it was in my cart. A week later, I had it in my hands. I still waited 2 days before I opened it. My skepticism of my sudden urge to start reading was warranted. This was not my first kindle. I think I still have my first kindle in the deep recesses of my box, or boxes of neglected momentary passions.

This time, however, it feels different. For one, the first generation kindle has nothing on the newer kindles or any book modern ereaders for that matter. For the most part, ereaders have remained the same, but their speed and touch capabilities have increase hundredfold. Of course, they are not as snappy as smartphones or tablets, but no one needs those speeds when reading anyway. At least not until some company decides to ‘do it anyway’.

So after I finally decided to open the new kindle, the first book I decided to read was The Seven Habits…. I completed it in around a week. And not only that, I am currently reading and listening to 7 books. Opening the kindle package, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that Amazon had decided to go for a mimal packaging approach which according to Amazon: “95% of this device‚Äôs packaging is made of wood fiber-based materials from responsibly managed forests or recycled sources.” Go figure.

One obvious and important reason why I like ebooks is that ebooks are environment friendly. You are not cutting down treas to produce ebooks. Also, ebooks will not get torn, or damaged. Technically ebooks will never die. Of course, there is the possibility that vendors like Amazon or Kobo will decide to not support it in the future or do something dubious like stop supporting older version of ereaders, and this does happen in pretty much every industry now, but that is a topic of discussion for another time.

But the biggest advantage is that you can carry literally hundreds and even thousands of books on one single ereader. Not only that, if you lose your ereader, you can always purchase a new one and download all your books within minutes. Not to mention, the social aspect of reading ebooks. You can share quote and highlights from ereader.

Reading has been somewhat of a stress buster. All my worries and other nagging thoughts just fade away as I melt into a good book. One good book that I am reading is “Sold on A Monday”. Normally, I would read books like these, just the description would turn me away. Also, I do not think I have ever willingly read a fiction book, apart from The Alchemist because it is so revered the world over. But because Sold on A Monday was available for free with Kindle Unlimited and I had a free trial, I decided to download it. I am so captivated by what is happening in the book. I am about half way through the book.

The other book that I am reading is 1984 – a classic, but bares so much resemblance to over time, expect the signs are not so obvious. Big brother lurks in the shadows of the digital world.

I was clueless to the fantastic ability of authors to create characters and worlds in the minds of their readers. Perhaps, I merely forgot what it was like to read stories. I did enjoy books like Treasure Island, The Swiss Family Robinson and Making Good, as a child in Primary school. Those books were the last books I remember reading because I had no choice, but to date they bring back fondest of memories. I remember those vivid worlds more than the movies and TV shows that I have watched.

But at last I have begun my journey in reading. I hope I can continue this same level of excitement for many more books to come. I want to start with classics, the Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne books.

It is never too late to start.