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Not sure what it was, but this year in the wider family, three of us—including me—got eReaders. Specially, various of us gave the other’s Kobos, based on the recommendation of the one person in the family who already had an eReader.

Kobo eReader

Now, I already have an Android tablet, which I had already been using to read ebooks. (Or, ebook, really, since I’ve read only one on it so far, with two more on deck.) I wondered if it would tire out my eyes to read on the tablet, but didn’t find that to be the case. Still, I was interested in the plain, eInk eReader because:

  • It’s not backlit (bad for sleep, so they say), but does have a built-in book light, making it better for reading in bed.
  • It can be read in the sun, which tablets can’t.
  • It’s quite a bit smaller and lighter than my tablet—which makes it (to me) not nearly as suitable for magazine and newspaper layouts—but much better to hold for reading a book.
  • The battery life is dramatically longer than a tablet’s. (It also seemed to charge very quickly in the first place.)

In my few days of experimentation, I found that while it doesn’t come with any books, you can wirelessly connect to the Kobo store and buy some. What I had more trouble wrapping my mind around was how you could do anything else with it—like add ebooks from other sources. (I mean legal ones, like from Google Play.)

I’m just so used to the tablet, you see, which is truly a standalone device (at least, Android ones are). I can load pretty much anything I want to right onto my tablet; no need to tether it to a PC and drag things on there. Whereas with the browser-less Kobo, I eventually figured out, you really have to connect it to a computer to do anything other than buy from the Kobo store. In fact, I actually have three desktop apps installed for this thing now: the Kobo one, Adobe Digital Editions—required for at least some of the books from Google Play, and in case I want to borrow ebooks from the library—and one called Calibre, which helps with finding and loading legal unlocked ebooks.

But enough about the technical stuff. How is it for reading?

Maidenhead coverMy sister had downloaded two books within an hour of charging her Kobo. I, on the other hand, took about a day to decide what to buy first. Since they say Shades of Grey is partly responsible for the rise of eReader popularity, I got—no, not that book, since I don’t want to read badly written erotica inspired by freakin’ Twilight—but Maidenhead by Tamara Faith Berger, which is often touted as a better-written alternative to the Grey trilogy.

And due to our trip home taking much longer than expected (I won’t get into why), I have already read the whole thing. So I can confirm the Kobo Glo worked quite well. I had to read mostly in the dark, and the built-in book light was effective. I did not have to futz around with font sizes and zooming; it just worked. Navigating through the pages was simple, and I appreciated that it always gave me an idea where I was up to in the book (which my tablet doesn’t, at least not as visibly).

As for the book itself, it was incredibly engaging. I would warn that it is an erotic novel involving a teenage girl obsessed with a Rastafarian man twice her age who has a somewhat violent girlfriend, so it’s likely not everyone’s cup of tea. But it is very well-written, stimulating to both mind and other body parts. And Jean liked it, too, so it’s not just a woman thing.

Only bummer is, having given Maidenhead a good rating, what do you think Kobo’s big recommendation for me is now? Hint: It rhymes with Braids of Day…

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