The newest entry in the eBook Martket: Kobo, from Borders

Borders is now taking pre-orders for the Kobo e-Reader, the newest entry into the eReader market. It’s just like every eReader you’ve admired so far — except this one costs only $149.

To reach that point, Kobo has cut (or changed) a few features. Unlike the Kindle, it doesn’t have 3G Wireless. Instead, you have to transfer books via good old-fashioned (ahem) USB cable or via bluetooth. It also has less storage (1GB) than the lowest priced Kindle (2GB).

That, however, is the end of the cons. The Kobo is 7″ tall and 4″ wide, slightly larger than a standard paperback, and weighs 8 ounces.

Comparison chart:

Name Size/Weight Storage Transfer Method Price Store
Kindle 10.3 oz./8″ x 5.3″ x 0.36″ 1,500 books/2GB 3G Wireless $259 Amazon
Nook 12.1 oz./7.7″ x 4.9″ x 0.5″ 1,500 books/2GB 3G Wireless $259 Barnes & Noble
Kobo 8 oz./7.2″ x 4.7″ x 0.4″ 750 books/1GB USB/Bluetooth $149 Borders
Sony 7.76 oz./6.25″ x 4.25″ x 0.4″ 350 books/.5 GB USB $149 Various

Like its closest competitors (the Kindle, the Nook) the Kobo uses e-Ink technology to display books in black-and-white. It’s white (like the Kindle and the Nook — catch on, folks, even Apple isn’t making little white gadgets anymore) and it holds hundreds of books without blinking. It has days and days of battery life.

Unlike the Kindle and the Nook, the Kobo is an eReader and an eReader only. It doesn’t promise wifi access, games, or quick updates of blogs and newspapers. It is a portable electronic book reader. No more, no less.

I’m in favor. The additional features of the Kindle and Nook have never called to me — in part because I already have a laptop and a Smartphone, neither of which I’m looking to replace, particularly with an interface as clunky as those. What I am tempted by is the possibility of having an easy-to-read, easy-to-tote electronic reader, for less than an arm and a leg (just an arm, I guess, is my price point on this one). I know it’s strange to crave single-purpose devices, but in this case, I see the logic. Sometimes, you just want to read.

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1 Response to The newest entry in the eBook Martket: Kobo, from Borders

  1. punterjoe says:

    It’s nice to see more e-book readers hit the market, even if there’s a feeling that most of them won’t survive long. It feels very much like all the music players that tried to compete with the iPod, but never captured the hearts and minds of the buying public. Perhaps the upside is that these items will soon be available at firesale prices. Unless they are oddly proprietary, they should provide many years of service – even if they’re abandoned by their creators.
    I’m still a fan of my first e-reader crush: the Sony reader. I still can’t justify Sony’s price, but when I eventually can, it will be worth the wait… even if by that time the rest of the world has moved on to full color, cardboard-thin e-readers.
    Thanks for putting the Kobo on my radar. I look forward to checking it out.

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