Kobo introduces the Forma e-reader

Kobo is releasing a new premium e-reader and I have one (excited) word to say: BUTTONS!!!!

The Kobo Forma, (Kobo’s answer to the Kindle Oasis) takes blends features of the Kobo Aura One with some of the popular features from Amazon’s high-end e-reader.

Features:

  • The new Kobo Forma features an eight inch display, which is larger than both the Aura One (7.8 inches) and the Kindle Oasis (7 inches).
  • Like the Aura One, the Forma is IPX8  rated and is immersible up to 60 minutes in 2 meters of fresh water.
  • At 197 grams, the Kobo Forma is lighter than both the Kobo Aura One and the Kindle Oasis.
  • The Kobo Forma and the Aura One both feature Kobo’s ComfortLight PRO lighting which reduces blue-light exposure for the best nighttime reading. The Kindle Oasis, on the other hand, has an adjustable light sensor, but does not reduce blue light.
  • Like the rest of Kobo’s e-reader line up, the Kobo Forma features integration with Rakuten’s Overdrive system for libraries. (**Dependent on library participation: Overdrive is available through public libraries in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.)

What’s new and exciting:

There are a couple of important features that differentiate the Kobo Forma from other devices in the Kobo lineup. The Forma has added physical page turn buttons. The back of the Forma is flat and, instead, the buttons are placed on an angled section that is slightly thicker than the rest of the device.

The new hardware also features a gyro so the device can be used either right or left handed as well as in landscape and portrait modes.

Sleep cover:

There is an interesting Kobo sleep cover for the Forma. The design is Similar to the original Origami covers Amazon offered for some of their e-readers and Fire tablets. The Forma sleep cover is priced at $49.99.

Storage, Price and Availability:

The Kobo Forma has 8 GB of storage. The 32 Gb version of the device will only initially be availabe in Japan, with other countries to follow at a later, unspecified date. Price for the Forma is $279.99, which is $50 more than the Aura One’s $229.99 price tag.

The Kobo Forma is available for pre-order now and will be released on October 23, 2018. You can find the complete specs here.

My thoughts:

Mostly, I use my Kobo Aura One for library books (some books are only available in an epub format and can’t be borrowed on the Kindle). I also buy books on sale through the Google Play store which require Adobe Digital editions to download. Since I bought my Oasis, trying to read on the Kobo Aura One has been harder for me because I really, really miss the page turn buttons. Personally, I am going to be watching the reviews on this one carefully. I am thinking that it may be a good candidate for a backup eInk reader.

What do you think?

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The NOOK 1st Edition bites the dust

Barnes and Noble notified customers by email today letting them know that as of June 29, 2018, they would not longer be supporting the NOOK 1st Edition. The e-reader had a 6″ e-ink screen and a smaller color screen which was used to navigate the device. I never used it much because I found it difficult to navigate, especially when compared with a Kindle.

When it debuted in 2009, it was originally just called the NOOK e-reader, but the name was changed to NOOK 1st Edition when Barnes and Noble released the Simple Touch e-reader.

It seems that there are several versions of this email being sent out. Nate from The Digital Reader notes that his email offered him a discount on other NOOK devices. My email did not contain such an offer.

Here’s the email I received:

Dear Valued Customer,

Over eight years ago, we launched our first NOOK® eReader, and we were thrilled to have you as one of our first customers for what has become a tradition of offering great books on demand to readers. We want to thank you for your loyalty and continued support of the NOOK 1st Edition and NOOK products.

Because of advancements in our eReader technology, we wanted to let you know that, unfortunately, we are unable to continue to support the NOOK 1st Edition.

Please note that as of June 29, 2018, you will not be able to purchase new content, register with a BN.com account, or sign in using a NOOK account on your NOOK 1st Edition. However, you will still be able to access your existing library, or download new content, by using our NOOK Reading Apps™ for iOS, Android, or Windows, on mobile and tablet devices, as well as any of our other NOOK devices.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 877-831-2393 Monday-Friday 8AM–11PM ET and Saturday-Sunday 9AM–11PM ET. Please be prepared to provide your NOOK 1st Edition serial number. If you need assistance locating your serial number, click here for instructions.

We truly appreciate your business and look forward to continuing to provide you with the great NOOK experience and to welcome you at Barnes & Noble stores.

Sincerely,
Barnes & Noble

This email snafu is not surprising. There have been several times I have received erroneous emails from customer service, if I was lucky enough to get a response at all.

I only own a few books for the NOOK. Most of them were freebies or books that were offered on sale at an bargain price. I also own a NOOK Glowlight (the original one). I mainly used my NOOKs for library books and various epubs I bought elsewhere. Since I bought the Kobo Aura ONE, I tend to use that, especially for books that require Adobe Digital Editions for DRM. So for me personally, this is no big loss.

However, as a consumer, I find this kind of behavior infuriating. Not that I would take them up on it, but if others were being offered a discount towards a new device, I should have been offered one too. After all they are rendering my device pretty much inoperable by their actions.

Compared to Amazon’s customer service, Barnes and Noble’s looks positively medieval. Look at what Amazon did when thy had a device that needed an update to connect: Amazon nagged. Amazon called. Amazon even sent me snail mail to make sure I updated so that I could keep using my device. Barnes and Noble can’t even get an email right. Is it any wonder that they are eating Amazon’s dust in the e-reader market?