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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Kobo begins monthly audiobook subscription program

Kobo is launching their own monthly audiobook subscription service. The service is $9.99 per month in the US and the monthly cost varies by country.

Key elements of the program are:

The program offers a 30 day free trial. Your first audiobook is free.and yours to keep, even if you cancel.

Each month you get a credit for $9.99 monthly credit. One credit equals one audiobook. Credits are added to your account once a month on your recurring billing date.

For Super Points rewards program members, you can earn Kobo Super Points with each purchase.

Books can be listened to on or off line. There are, however, a couple of limitations. You can listen to audiobooks on the Android app (system 4.4 and above) and the iOS app (9.0 or higher). You cannot listen on the following devices:

  • on kobo.com
  • in Kobo Desktop
  • in the Kobo App for Windows or BlackBerry
  • on Kobo eReaders
  • on Kobo Arc 7, 7HD or 10HD tablets

If you use the Kobo app for iOS, there is an additional complication: You can’t purchase anything through the Kobo app for IOS; you can only play items you have purchased. According to the FAQ:

Due to an agreement between Kobo and Apple, the Kobo App for iOS doesn’t include our store. If you use an iOS smartphone or tablet, you’ll need to purchase (or exchange a credit for) your audiobook on kobo.com. Once your transaction is complete, your audiobook will then appear in your Kobo App for iOS.

Once purchased, the books are yours to keep, even if you cancel your subscription. Audiobook credits are non-refundable and a credit card is required for signup.

Kobo is starting its program with only one subscription plan, one credit for $9.99. According to the company, future plans include plans with two credits a month, and annual subscriptions with 12 or 24 instant credits all at once.

The service will be available to Kobo customers living in Canada ($12.99 CA), the United States ($9.99 USD), the United Kingdom (£6.99), Australia ($13.99 AU), and New Zealand ($13.99 NZD).

Kobo is obviously trying to compete with Audible. Audible charges $14.95 per month, plus 30% off additional purchases.

The service will be live on September 12, 2017. Make sure you have updated to the latest version of the Kobo app for your device.

Are you trying the service? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

So I finally bought a Kobo e-reader…

I finally bit the bullet and bought a Kobo Aura One. (Yes, I know I am not exactly new to the party, LOL!)  I had been thinking about this purchase for quite a while. I really, really love my Kindle Paperwhite but the Aura One had several features that sounded really attractive, including a larger screen, and more choice in font sizes, weights and styles. As I have been reading a lot of library books, the feature that sounded the most interesting was the integration with Overdrive for library books. I also wanted a device that would work with books purchased from the Google Play bookstore that I can’t read on my Kindle.

First, a few unboxing pictures:

The Kobo Aura One has a really nice box within a sleeve:

Sleeve

Box Front

Box Rear

The Kobo is nicely packaged inside the box:

 

The cable and inserts are underneath a tab in the box:

I like third-party covers that I can affordably swap out when I am in the mood. Rather than the Kobo branded cover, I bought the HUASIRU Ultra Slim Case from (ironically) Amazon.

The cover fits well and has a sleep-wake feature.Here’s a picture of the cover alongside the e-reader.I found the setup of the WiFi and the Overdrive to be a little tedious, but that is probably because Amazon makes set up really easier on their devices.

While I am still putting the device through its paces, here are a few early thoughts:

First, the WiFI on this device is just wonky. Maybe its my setup, but even after several updates, the WiFi is still a problem. It can’t seem to find the connection and doesn’t remember the network passwords unless reboot my router. That makes downloading content inconvenient to say the least. This is probably my biggest frustration with this e-reader.

I had also hoped for more out of the Overdrive integration. Unfortunately, the Overdrive feature only allows you to have one library account connected. Since I have accounts with three different libraries, this doesn’t offer the seamless experience that I had hoped for. The first update to the device changed the search the library catalog feature and has made it harder to use. If I have also sent a book to my Paperwhite or Kindle app, then I can no longer return the book from the Kobo.

In my opinion, I also found that the promise of better font weights did not live up to the hype I’d heard in the way I had hoped. While you can do some customization of fonts and sizes, the overall darkness of of Kobo Aura One fonts left a lot to be desired for me.

Both the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kobo Aura One have 300 ppi screens. The Paperwhite screen seems clearer to me, possibly because of the font weights.

Here is a picture comparing the screens on the KIndle Paperwhite (left) to the Kobo Aura one (right). The book is Thin Air from the Shetland mysteries series by Ann Cleeves. Both device are set to maximum brightness. The Kindle font is Helvetica and the Kobo font is set to Avenir Next. There is a decided difference in the lighting between the two devices.The font on the Kobo appears lighter than that of the Paperwhite, even though the Kobo font is set at almost the maximum weight.I am enjoying the larger screen size a lot. The larger size works really well on a stand so that I can use it without having to hold it. Since I am vision impaired and use a fairly large font, I also like having more text on the screen before a page turn.

I am still getting used to the interface on the device and have yet to try out some of the other features like the orange light and the waterproofing.

While I have been a bit disappointed in some of the extra features of the device, the actual reading experience has not been bad. I will get more of a feel for the device after I have read a couple of books on it.

So, what do you think?

Kobo announces Kobo Aura One and revamped Aura Edition 2

Kobo_aura_oneA couple of weeks ago, we got the confirmation that Kobo planned to be releasing a new e-reader in mid-August. Today, Kobo announce not only one, but two new e-readers for their line up.

The big news is the announcement of the Kobo Aura One. The device has a 300 ppi 7.8″ Carta E Ink screen with 8GB of memory. It has an enhanced IPX8 rating making it waterproof for up to 60 minutes in two meters of water. It also features a lighting system called ComfortLight PRO which allows for adjustment of the front-lighting and includes an orange nighttime reading light to cut down on blue light emissions which can interfere with sleep.

One of the most interesting features promised for the new device is the direct integration of OverDrive library software with the Kobo store. OverDrive is owned by Rakuten, Kobo’s parent company and will be available for use in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. The simplification of of library borrowing is a big, big plus in favor of this device.

There are already a few early reviews on the tech sites:

The Kobo Aura One will be available for pre-order on August 30, 2016 for $229.99. It will be available in the US on September 6, 2016.Specs and more info on the product page here.

Also announced today was the Kobo Aura Edition 2  The device has a 212 ppi 6″ Carta E Ink screen and seems to be a newer version of the Aura HD. You can see the specs here. The Aura Edition 2 will retail for $119.99 and will also be available for pre-order on August 30, 2016.

Anybody else excited to see how the OverDrive integration works and if it is coming to the other Kobo devices? That’s the feature I’m the most interested in. How about you?

Daily Links: Rakuten buys Overdrive

daily linksDigital Life:

Are Message Boards on the Way Out? (Teleread)

 30 times the novel has been declared dead since 1902 (Vox)

New App Blocks Profanity From Being Displayed On eBooks (Galley Cat)

Pushkin Press Announces New Crime Imprint: Pushkin Vertigo (Publishing Perspectives)

ICANN, Copyright Infringement and the Public Interest (Wahsington Post)

Rakuten Buys OverDrive; What’s it Mean for Kindle Library Books? (The Ebook Reader)

Telephone and Broadband:

LG’s ridiculously cute AKA gets a wider release (Android Central)

Gaming and Streaming:

Watch Thousands of Free Movies at Documentary Heaven (Lifehacker)

How Many People Want to Pay for ESPN? The Web Will Tell Us. (Recode)

Discovery Channel Founder Starts Nonfiction Streaming Video Service Recode)

 Chromecast update allows some users to control it with a TV remote (Android Central)

PlayStation Vue launches live-TV service in three cities, starts at $49/mo (Ars Technica)

Apple Reportedly Gearing Up for Online Television Service (Gear Diary)

Classic FPS Descent to be rebooted by Star Citizen alums

Tips, Tricks and How-to:

How to use FaceTime on iPad (Tab Times)

How to Access Dropbox on Chrome OS (Google Chromecast)

Finds and Deals:

Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deals for today feature romance, biography and science fiction, including Walter Tevis’ classic, The Man Who Fell to Earth (the basis for the amazing 1976 film  staring David Bowie).

The NOOK Find of the Day is The Rise (The Originals Series #1) by Julie Plec for $2.99. This is a tie-in to the TV series.

The Kobo Daily Deal is The Lions of Lucerne – The Scot Harvath Series (Book #1) by Brad Thor for $1.99.

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

 

Daily Links: Kobo e-readers on sale

picture of Kobo ereader and coverKobo e-book readers on sale  (Ebook Reader)

Are e-book gift card sales on the rise or in decline? (Digital Reader)

Are you a subscriber? (Dear Author)

CIA Torture report to be released in print and digital (Publishers Weekly)

What devices are you reading on? (Teleread)

~

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other links of interest on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Links: Wattpad goes Freemium

I found a lot of goodies today!

Several interesting articles from the Digital Reader:wattpad

From Fortune: More on the Apple e-books litigation.

A couple fun links from Teleread:

And look at this: The Yotaphone 2 is a dual screen phone with epaper and amoled screens, from The Ebook Reader.

From Publishers Weekly, In libraries, digital audiobook lending is finding its groove.

In Today’s Deals,  Amazon is offering a interesting bundle: Rosetta Stone software with the Kindle Fire HD 7. The language software is offered in eight different languages.

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news.