Very long just after the rest of my spouse and children is in bed, I tear by New England seashore romance novels about folks with names like Pastime or Money, who get their hearts damaged, consume truffle breadsticks, and dry their whale shorts on clotheslines. The good thing is, these publications are free—I’ve been downloading a single every single couple of days from my nearby library on the Kobo Nia, a new e book reader.

Kobo, which is owned by the Japanese corporation Rakuten, wants to exist. Competitiveness pushes innovation ahead. Arguably, features like waterproofing on Amazon’s Kindles would not exist if the Kobo failed to incorporate it to start with. It’s also the most practical e book reader if you examine totally free books. It supports a broader assortment of file formats and is built-in with OverDrive, the digital platform that works with most libraries and schools close to the planet.

That in by itself would not make the Nia a fantastic invest in. As a competitor to the entry-level Kindle, it doesn’t aid Bluetooth or audiobooks, and it is really slightly additional high-priced. But if you vote with your pounds, it truly is possibly worth a minimal more to escape Amazon’s stranglehold on media. I most likely saved additional than $10 on library books this 7 days alone.

No cost Time

Photograph: Kobo

The rationale you get a Kobo is to go through totally free ebooks. Rakuten purchased OverDrive in 2015 and then offered it in 2019, but it’s however perfectly built-in into the Kobo platform.

It is not hard to download a e book on a Kindle: I log into my library, decide on the format, go to Amazon’s website, ship it to the Kindle, and discover the book there. But as straightforward as that is, obtaining publications on OverDrive is so considerably less difficult. When I lookup for textbooks on the Nia, I pick OverDrive, and then faucet Borrow. Which is it. And due to the fact there is ample storage on the Nia for 6,000 books, I can go through a e-book a working day … or a great deal much more.

It’s unclear how considerably for a longer time this will be the case—a large amount faster if men and women halt buying Kobos!—but for the minute, my library system in Portland, Oregon, delivers several far more guides in OverDrive than in Kindle, specifically seaside reads. I took edge of briefly obtaining a Kobo to download a lot of them.

PDFs on the Kobo are also a breeze to access. Just plug the Kobo into a notebook, then drag and fall downloaded PDFs into the Kobo folder. It is substantially more simple to use than Amazon’s Ship to Kindle feature. (Whilst it is value noting that you can drag and drop files with a plugged-in Kindle as effectively. Deliver to Kindle is just horrible).

In addition, the display is also better-resolution than the entry-amount Kindle, at 212 pixels per inch instead of 167. A sharper display is nicer on the eyes. And the recessed, 6-inch grayscale E-Ink Carta screen has an adjustable front light-weight that operates very well as I examine as a result of the useless of evening.

The Gradual Zone

The Kobo Nia appears to be like a whole lot like the entry-level Kindle. There are only marginal differences in size and bodyweight. Like the Kindle, it is also straightforward to maintain and flip via internet pages with 1 hand.

It isn’t going to have a especially quick processor, and actually, I wasn’t anticipating that to be a problem. Flipping by means of digital webpages is not just a elaborate procedure. But typing on the Nia’s touchscreen and waiting around for it to contact up books is noticeably slower and clunkier than on the Kindle.

Almost nothing makes you feel like extra of a diva than to be pushed to the ragged edge of insanity by the duration of time it requires to log into an e-reader. When I checked my watch afterward, it experienced taken fewer than 15 minutes. And you do only have to do it when. However, it truly is well worth noting that you might invest some time patiently waiting for each letter to present up in the lookup bar immediately after you tap at the display, and then a handful of additional minutes muttering, “No, N! Not M!” to you.

Photograph: Kobo

Kobo does warn that you have to make the gadget go to snooze to conserve battery everyday living. If you do not use a SleepCover—which is also quite sweet, tender, and brightly colored—you have to click the button at the bottom of the Nia to make it go to snooze. Even with this precaution, battery lifetime is only so-so. I can go weeks devoid of recharging the entry-degree Kindle, but immediately after looking at all-around 2 hrs a working day in my late-night time binges, the Nia interrupted me and said it was time to recharge.

Free of charge to Be You and Me

Comparing merchandise is just not as easy as environment just one set of specs versus a further. The Nia does expense slightly a lot more than the entry-degree Kindle. But the encounter is just a tiny bit even worse. And you get much less functions, which could make a difference if you pay attention to audiobooks on your e-reader as a substitute of on your smartphone, like a ordinary human being.

But we don’t store in a vacuum. $100 isn’t an exorbitant selling price, and the additional price would be more than justified if your neighborhood library procedure employs OverDrive, as it almost certainly does. And as WIRED senior editor Michael Calore has pointed out, OverDrive is not the only way you can get cost-free ebooks. You can also score PDFs of older textbooks from Venture Gutenberg.

If you were waiting around for an entry-amount Kobo, this is it. It is really not poor, and you also get the skill to adhere it to Amazon. If you want a lot more attributes, like waterproofing and for a longer period battery lifetime, and you nevertheless will not want a Kindle, seem to the relaxation of Kobo’s lineup, which also goes on sale routinely.



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