If you're looking for an eBook reader then it may be difficult to know which one to choose. Or alternately you could be under the impression that there's not much in the way of choice. Though there are countless devices floating around out there, the most popular tend to be;
- Amazon Kindle
- Barnes & Noble Nook
- Sony Reader
The majority of the market share, and the default choice, seems to be the Kindle. Like Post-It Notes, Kleenex and White-Out, the brand name has become so popular that it is now synonymous with the entire range of products. People don't look for an 'eReader', they look for a 'Kindle'.
This isn't unwarranted, however. The Kindle does seem to be one of the most versatile devices. However in Canada the acquisition of a Kindle is still a bit more troublesome. You have to order one from Amazon.COM (not Amazon.CA) and potentially pay duties on it when it arrives up to two weeks later. Meanwhile in the United States you can walk into any large retailer and pick one up.
That's why I went with the Kobo. This is manufactured by the Toronto-based Kobo Inc. which is 58% owned by Indigo Books & Music (aka - Chapters), Canada's largest book retailer. It is not as versatile as the Kindle, but it is locally more attainable and I feel better supporting the Canadian product. Still...that Kindle is looking pretty sweet....
No, sorry, back to the Kobo. It can be picked up in any Chapters/Indigo store, where you can also buy a Kobo store card, which can be used as currency on their Kobo sub-site. You can also buy eBooks from the Kobo site by way of traditional credit card, provided you have the financial sense to have one with available funds. *sigh*
It is important to remember, however, that in Canada the Kobo isn't the only game in town. Just check out the website for Future Shop for their entries under 'eReaders' – there's a variety of brands for a variety of costs. Granted some are better than others, but if cost is your handicap then it at least leaves the door open for you.
I don't have a grudge against the Kindle, nor the Kobo, but I think it's important to know that the top four eReaders are not the ONLY four eReaders. Of course the market is now seeing more affordable tablet PC's being introduced as eReaders, but that is the subject of debate to some, and perhaps another blog entry. The E Ink screen may be boring compared to a full-colour screen, but ultimately you have to think about the device's primary function – as a reader. But I digress...
So here I am, Kobo in hand, confident that I've supported the domestic economy....and I'm supporting open-source! Like most eReaders, Kobo supports the ePUB format, which is an open-source format for eBooks. Kindle, on the other hand, wants you to use their own proprietary format. The Kindle store, which deals only in US funds, will only sell eBooks in MOBI format.
So large corporations, boo! Oh Canada, yay! Never mind Amazon, I made my choice and think back upon it as I may, I'm quite happy with my Kindle.
I MEAN KOBO! I meant Kobo!