02 Mar 2012

Kobo E-reader Product Review

Touch, tap, read

I’ve been flirting with the idea of buying an e-reader for about two years now, and this year got one for Christmas. I’ll outline some positives, some negatives, my final word, and what to look for when buying.

First: I first got interested after hauling three hardcover novels on a long trans-Atlantic flight two years ago. I’m a real reader and running out of reading material is not a risk I’m willing take. My dad bought a Kindle at about this time and raved about the convenience of a simple, lightweight solution when traveling.

Second big positive: I LOVE new books and the idea of an instant download is truly awesome. Plus, e-books tend to cost less — so feeding my . . . uh . . . habit is getting easier. Even without an e-reader, you can purchase and download from online bookstores (and your local library! be sure to check that out!) for immediate viewing on your computer or laptop. Plus, the Kobo e-reader comes with 100+ free books already downloaded. Quicker, cheaper — what’s not to love?

Well. Turns out the finger-activate pageturn on the mid-range Kobo “touch” model is not that sensitive to my little digits. A few times I’ve had to sit like an idiot stroking the screen again and again to advance to the next page. Bummer.

Also, I’ve got say it, I’m of the generation that prefers things the “old” way (meaning, I’ve over, say, 29(!)). I miss having a real book in my hands! I want to go back 20 pages to this really neat dialogue, then I want to check the name of the author and where they live, then I’m double-checking copyright date to figure out why the characters aren’t using facebook/linkedin to get in touch. I can’t easily do any of that with the Kobo touch ereader.

I also miss the colorful book cover and seeing it sit happily on my coffeetable waiting for me (okay, maybe I should get out a bit more). And I can’t see at a glance how far I’ve read into the book, so I can estimate if this is the final scene coming up or I’m just half-way through. I care about these things!

Between trying to navigate pages, wanting to always run back to the table of contents/author/bio/copyright/previous chapter, I’m at a point where I feel like the e-book is work, not play.

On the plus side, the TV ads are right: readability is super-easy in any light, not at all like a computer screen.  It’s very slim, light and downright pretty (yes, I care about that too), and has some nice share-your-reading social apps that might appeal to people who like to track/display their reading record. Plus there are thousands and thousands of e-books  available for free all over the net, so you’ll never be without something to look at.

I especially like the Kobo because it allows downloads from ANY online bookstore. With the Kindle e-reader, you can’t buy from anyone except Amazon. Unsportsmanlike, don’t you think?

The Kobo ereader was selected as 2012 Editor’s Pick for the best e-reader by Wired magazine. With the Kobo Touch, the mid-price of the three models, you can download from your computer internet, but Kobo Vox e-reader has wireless capability, which allows direct downloads. The Kobo Vox model, which is why I would make that choice if I were buying. Cute, portable, great for traveling.

Bottom line: If you’re in the ereader market, definitely consider the Kobo e-reader, especially the Kobo VOX, which at $199.99 is $60 higher than the black-and-white (and slightly smaller) Kobo touch — definitely worth it in my mind for the effect of a colorful book cover.
>Also, if you travel and read, and you don’t carry a laptop computer, you definitely need to consider the e-reader option: small, light, chic and perfect for carrying.

And check out the sociability factor: they‘ve got lots of neat little reading “awards” and options to track and post your fave reads. If that describes you, it might be a great fit.

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29 Feb 2012

The Hunger Games: Read THIS if you read nothing else


It took me eight weeks to pick this up, and the only reason I did is because I promised my sister I would at Christmas, and then two days later someone else gave me a gift copy. It is a terrifying, brutal story written for “young” people, but like most great literature, The Hunger Games Series works for any age. Absolutely excellent. FIVE STARS. More here about the book. Is Hunger Games Dangerous for kids?

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28 Feb 2012


Last month I picked up a copy of Generation Extra Large: Rescuing Our Children from the Epidemic of Obesity — so many kids growing up so obese. So sad! They provided some examples of positive programs to address this terrible epidemic, but I left with a pretty bad feeling about it all. Certainly I have about 15 extra pounds that just loves me so much, and wants nothing more than to come up and cuddle close, really close — but that started in my 20′s, not as a baby! How are these kids going to cope? Imagine dying in your 30′s of heart disease, or type II diabetes!

Later: Interestingly, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and comes to the same conclusion, which is that policy intervention is the only way to effectively address this problem. Also see “Eat to Live” for some great ideas on how to address this in your own household.

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