We have two eBook readers in our house. My husband was given a Kobo when he left his last job and he in turn bought me a Kindle Touch for my birthday. This led us to discuss the relative merits of each without coming up with a clear winner. Therefore I was interested to see this article on the Money Saving Expert blog which compared the two – http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/team-blog/2012/03/06/kindle-vs-kobo-battle-of-the-e-readers/. The main points seem to be that the Kobo is cheaper and is more ‘open’ as it can read a variety of formats, whereas a Kindle is more expensive and limited to proprietary texts (although limited is perhaps too strong a word given the huge catalogue of Kindle editions available on Amazon). The Kindle is more lightweight but only by a small amount and I personally really like the back of the Kobo which is rubber and therefore comfortable and easy to hold. The blog also noted that the Kindle page turn buttons were clunky, but this has been addressed in the Kindle Touch (currently only available in the US).
The battle of the eBook readers is ongoing, and there are other options out there, but the Kobo and the Kindle seem to be the frontrunners. Amazon reports that eBook sales have now overtaken print books in sales on their website and eBook readers are proving a popular choice as a gift (as I can attest). I am curious what effect this will have on library collections – it isn’t currently possible to download any of our eBooks from our eLibrary onto an eBook reader but it seems that some libraries do allow this, and this might be where the Kobo has the edge for students. As the eBook market for fiction and general reading gets more established it will be interesting to see what effect this has on the scholarly eBook market as students are demanding more texts online and the ability to download them to their eReaders.
By Catherine Robertson