I buy way too many gadgets. Far too many of my acquisitions end up unsed in the drawer. Not so with the e-reader Kobo Aura H2O that I bought this summer. I’m probably the last person to realize this, but e-readers are the the best thing since the invention of cellphones.
I took a bit of a gamble in going with Kobo instead of Amazon’s Kindle. After having verified that it was indeed the winning gamble, I present this post of seven reasons why you should consider buying something other than a Kindle as your next e-reader.
1. The best readers are not (all) Kindle
Kindle has an impressive family of reading devices covering a wide price range. In the pricier end, it’s a toss-up which is better, the Kindle Voyage and Oasis, or the best readers in for example Kobo’s range. But none of the Kindles manages to do what the Kobo H2O does, namely be completely water and dust proof. The SD-card option in Kobo is also something that no modern Kindle offers. In addition you get top of the line screen and screen lighting and wider range of typography options.
2. You have a wider variety of books
On the surface this does not make sense. Everyone knows Amazon is the 1000lbs gorilla of the e-book world and the smaller players are a distant second. But what if I told you, you can have the options in the Kindle store as well as the options available for a non-Amazon reader.
Especially if you English is not your first language, and you wish to buy e-books from local stores, a non-Kindle reader is often your only option. Many non-Amazon DRM protected books do not work on an Amazon Kindle.
There is, however, a way convert the Kindle books you buy to work on your non-Kindle device. So, a best of both worlds.
3. You cannot get locked out
Amazon is known to be strict about it’s DRM. There are known cases where people have been locked out of their libraries without any explanation or way to address the issue. Imagine having carefully curated a collection of tens, hundreds or even thousands of books only to be locked out. Because of something you supposedly did that broke the rules. Not cool.
If you buy non-DRM books or break the DRM and read the books on your non-Amazon reader, you do not need to fear getting locked out from your books.
4. You pay less for books
In my experience, Amazon is the cheapest e-book option in about 80% of the cases. But occasionally, I’ve ran into an ebook that is priced at $17 for Kindle and at maybe $8 or $9 in the Kobo store. A no-brainer decision. I regularily check both stores for all books I’m about to buy. That’s free money flowing my way.
5. You support the underdog
Supporting the underdog alone is never a good enough reason to buy something. But as an additional reason, it is valid. Amazon is too large as it is, they wield too much power over the e-book landscape, customers and authors. Having competition maintains some checks and balances on their actions.
6. Articles in your Pocket
One of the best features in the Kobo H2O is the seamless integration with the online service Pocket. It is basically a bookmarking service for articles that you want to read later. Pocket has plugins for all the most popular browsers, making saving things to your Pocket very easy. The problem with services such as Pocket is that they tend to fill up with articles you never have the time to read.
With Pocket integration in Kobo, you can have a leisurely afternoon of reading on your Kobo and catch up on that reading queue.
7. You can take your reader anywhere
Technically this is related to #1, but I just wish to highlight the benefits of a waterproof e-reader. I bring it along on all my hikes. I have something to read on the long dark autumn/winter evenings. During evenings or on breaks, I can double check articles and books on a multitude of subjects: cleaning fish, snow safety, routes I want to take, and so on. The battery is enough to last the duration of even a long hike.
A Kindle first and foremost is an integrated experience. It is also it’s largest benefit. You buy into the whole ecosystem and get a smooth experience.
Most of these benefits of the Kobo readers could probably be applied to a Kindle as well. You can probably remove the DRM and still read the book in Kindle (without it being taken away). You can also buy books from other stores and move them into a Kindle. It is just that with a Kobo, that is something that you do naturally, unlike with a Kindle.
The largest reasons for me to go with the Kobo Aura H2O instead of a Kindle were #3, #6 and #7. I wanted a waterproof reader. I did not want to have a corporation wield power over my library of books I had purchased. And because of the reports of misuse of Amazon’s powers, I wanted to support theunderdog. If none of those reasons resonate with you, then Kindle probably IS the better choice. However, with just a little bit more work, a non-Kindle reader can be the best choice for you.
I will follow up this article with another where I detail my reader setup, how I remove the Kindle DRM and transfer books to my Kobo.