Friday, June 17, 2011


To e-read or not to e-read...that is the question!

I never thought I'd be saying these words: I'm seriously thinking of buying an e-reader. I hasten to add, this doesn't mean I've given up on paper books which are still my preferred method of reading. It's just that a number of things have converged and this may be the time for me to dive in.

Firstly, looking ahead to my upcoming overseas trip with my choir, I realize the value of travelling with an e-reader rather than packing an unknown number of paper books -- will it be enough or too many? -- in my luggage. Secondly, I've been inundated with ads about the new Kobo Touch. So, what's a gal to do but take the plunge.

My friend who works at Chapters/Indigo assures me the Kobo has access to a wider selection of books than its main competitor, Kindle. Funny, I had heard the reverse. Not that I'd ever doubt her word but she is an excellent employee! Those are the two brands I'm zeroing in on. The IPad has great reviews but it does more than I want and is out of my price range, so no more thoughts there. Same goes for the Sony Reader.

Here's where my research has taken me so far. The Ottawa Public Library website has a very helpful section on choosing an e-reader. I've made note of the products used by my writing friends. And, I have read various blogs on the topic, although I admit, I wasn't paying close attention because at the time, I was so certain I would never buy an e-reader. Sigh.

Never say never!

So, before my final decision is made, I'm appealing to you, as a blog reader with unquestionably excellent taste in matters related to reading...which e-reader gets your vote? The Kobo or the Kindle? And why?

Please keep in mind my aging eyesight and my love of Canadian mysteries when making recommendations.

May you have a happy reading weekend, whatever type of book you're reading!

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April, 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime


  1. I am very pleased with my SONY e-reader. I got the version that has an expansion slot for an extra 2GB (so I can have a couple of thousand books if I want, or have music as well as books), use Calibre (freeware) to organize my books & download off-copyright from Project Gutenberg. It's great for both travel & waiting rooms. I prefer "real" books too, but with the restrictions on luggage weight, as well as just the weight of lugging a book if you've got an appointment, the e-reader is a great option. You can adjust font size easily, too. It uses EPUB and PDF, and Calibre will convert other forms that you buy into one of these. The brand doesn't matter all that much, just make sure whatever you get is sturdy! The screens can be fragile.

  2. Should add that Kobo may be your best bet re price + access to Canadian books, but check the durability -- you might need to spring for a protective cover or make a bubble wrap pocket to carry it around in -- the screens can be a bit fragile.
    Kobo reads both EPUB and PDF and you can use the Calibre conversions for books you buy elsewhere. Probably for commercial reasons Kindle doesn't read EPUB (this format takes up less disk space than PDF & is the international standard).
    Check out this page for other options:

  3. Thanks for asking this questions! I am interested too and will watch the comments and your final decision!

  4. I began with a Kobo which was a gift but it broke, not because I did anything or dropped it but it malfunctioned, flashed repeatedly and quit. As I was in the US for an extended period I bought a Kindle. When I returned my Kobo was replaced and now I have two. I use the Kobo for Canadian books and I don't find it as user friendly as the Kindle. It's easier to turn the pages in the Kindle, easier to buy books because you don't have to be connected to the computer and easier to sync once you have them. It also responds more quickly. I think you can download library books on both but I haven't tried this yet. The new improved Kobo may have corrected some of its earlier problems. Whatever you get it will hook you because you can read in so many different places. When you go to Europe don't forget your charger and power converter.

  5. Great suggestions & information! Thanks so much! A future blog will follow up on my decision, which hasn't been reached. Yet.

  6. I used a Kindle for a month and swapped it with my daughter's Kobo. IMHO the Kindle is far, far superior. Not only the device itself (eg faster to start up, able to bookmark, a keyboard) but the Amazon web page is much better than the Kobo. In fact, I go to Amazon to choose the books I want to buy and then reluctantly go to Kobo to get them. Disadvantage of the Kindle is that it is lacking some Canadian books, and can not be used with other formats, and can't access libraries. If you are wanting to buy books on the fly using wifi from a foreign location (not through your computer) the KObo is almost useless as it doesn't have a keyboard and what it does have is very very slow and awkward. One more thing - when I was in a Chapters recently I checked out the new touch. I found it highly unresponsive and would certainly not buy it until that's improved. I'd advise you try it out first.

  7. I'm with Vicki! I have a KIndle, and the thing I particularly like about it is the way you turn pages. It's an easy click right where your thumb naturally lands when holding the thing. Felt more like a book to me. I also like the keyboard.
    Never, never will it replace paper for me, but when you are stuck at your mother's hospital bedside for seven weeks, this is a lifesaver.

  8. Thanks to all of you for your comments. Vicki -- I did try the Kobo TOuch and agree -- not very responsive.