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August 30, 2012 8:28 AM   Subscribe

Canadians who own Kindle or Kobo, opinions please

Trying to decide whether to get Kindle or Kobo e-ink reader, what are the pros & cons of each for use in Canada specifically ?
Would like to get Kindle as is more popular but from what I understand the Kindle for Canada has a lot of restrictions compared to the US version (eg, can't get New Yorker, fewer ebook titles than US, no wireless transfer).
Am also interested in trying other things beside the ereader, such as web browsing, send to kindle, etc, does this work in Canada?
Some source say the Kobo actually has more titles available in Canada?
Any Canadians that got a US version kindle?
posted by canoehead to Technology (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Here are the pros for a Kobo E-Ink reader in Canada:

- in my experience, they are more likely to have the rights to a book in Canada than other ebook providers other than Amazon (I don't like to buy device-specific formats)

- they support epub, so I can buy epubs directly from publishers and read them on my Kobo

- they support other publishers' DRM'd books (like Google Books); I don't like DRM, but if I have to live with it, I want a device that plays well with other providers, so that I don't have any provider lock-in - I will comparison shop for ebooks for my Kobo

- Kobo itself has good prices on ebooks

- they are well supported with accessories like covers, etc, in Canada

- they are Canadian-designed and supported (okay, I'm a nationalist, and I like it when people in my country get good jobs)

- the more recent models (wireless, Kobo Touch) have wireless, so you can send books wirelessly from your desktop/laptop to your ereader over a home-network

- it plays nicely with Calibre (which also does my wireless sharing)

- it will flip pages from right to left, which is great when reading manga (okay, that's maybe a bit specific and I haven't even used it yet, but I could)

Cons - compared to a Kindle in the US (don't know about Canadian Kindles since no one I know has one, and I know a lot of ereader fans - we all went for Kobos to avoid the Amazon lock-in)

- no cellular internet access

- the web browser is slow and not very useful (sounds like the Kindle and Kobo are the same here), so I just use the wireless to transfer books when I can't be bothered pulling out my USB cable
posted by jb at 8:54 AM on August 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

I have a Kindle that thinks it's American. I'm very pleased with this arrangement. I detailed quickly how to do it in this comment.

But the short version is that I just set my account to be 'American', added a USA mailing address (of a maildrop), and my Kindle is a happy American including all access to magazines/bookstore/apps.
posted by smitt at 9:00 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a Kobo Vox and my wife has a Kobo Touch. I buy books on Amazon on the regular, then use Calibre to convert them for use on my Kobo. Last trip I made to Victoria, I brought my Vox and used it for all my internet needs, including maps and anything else. No cell modem though, just wireless. Never had a problem. It's basically an Android tablet, is my understanding.

The main issue I have with the Vox is that for some stupid reason, when I lock it/put it to sleep, it periodically decides to unsleep for a minute or so, which means the battery kills itself pretty rapidly. I turn it off when I'm not using it, but it has a stupid long startup time. To use a somewhat gross metric, if I sit down to poop and turn the Vox on as soon as I am seated, I am done pooping before it actually boots. I've also laid down in bed to read, turned the Vox on, rested it on my chest to wait for boot, then awoken after a nap realizing that I fell asleep before it started up.
posted by Sternmeyer at 9:05 AM on August 30, 2012

Just want to second everything jb said. I love my Kobo (it's the first model, with the button on the front to turn pages. Not sure if they've switched entirely to the Kobo touch, but I can't speak to the functionality of that one) :)
posted by torisaur at 9:29 AM on August 30, 2012

jb said everything I wanted to, except that I also appreciate that when something goes wrong with my kobo (so far it has been entirely human error) I can just take it back to an Indigo rather than having to wait for Amazon.

It's also important to think about how much you care about the health of the industry. Linking to the Amazon US site and buying from there means that the US publisher gets the money (rather than the CDN one). Especially in our current political climate, Canadian culture industries need all the help they can get. Plus, buying Kindle's locked down format (mobi) is very bad for the health of the acceptable, non-specific format (epub).

As for title availability, I have only ever once seen a book I wanted that was in the Kindle Canada store and not the Kobo store. At that point I went to the publisher's website and bought it there (since kobo can read the standard format).
posted by AmandaA at 9:36 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

To add on model differences: My SO has the original button-model (Kobo 1) and a new Touch (Kobo 3); I also have a Touch. We've had no complaints about our Touch models whatsoever. The button model is moderately more convenient in the bath, because you can use any waterproof case you like (including a ziplock bag), but I prefer the touch because I don't like having to press as hard to switch pages. It still works in the waterproof case, but you have to make sure that the case stands away from the screen (so that the infra-red touch detection isn't activated until you want it to be).

Other than that, there are no serious differences between the current Kobo Wireless (Kobo 2 aka button, but with a new screen, wireless, and newer firmware) and the Kobo Touch. I didn't see the button-model for sale at Indigo, but it was online (for $80); the Touch has been recently lowered in price (to $100) because a new model (with a backlight/sidelight) will be coming out for Christmas at the old Touch Price (about $140). The only thing is that they are probably fazing out the button-models, and already Indigo is only carrying cases sized for the Touch (which is a bit smaller). You can get larger or dual-sized cases elsewhere, like Best Buy.

Like I mentioned in my comment: part of my love of the Kobo is political - it's a great e-ink device, but it's also Canadian and (perhaps more importantly) not Amazon-based. I realize that it never was a fully-independent company (first owned by our home-grown mega-store, Indigo, now sold to a large Japanese company), but it's still more open than the Kindle and allows me to choose where I purchase my books. Competition is good.
posted by jb at 10:13 AM on August 30, 2012

I have a kobotouch. I opted for the touch over the kindle despite the fact that I thought the kindle was prettier! But as you mentioned , you are restricted to some book because you have the kindle, but otherwise might be able to get through kobo-chapters. Also, you can't d/l public library stuff books with the kindle in canada, but you can with kobo!

posted by pytar gucchy at 11:19 AM on August 30, 2012

I have used both devices and much prefer the Kindle. The interface for highlighting and dictionary lookup is faster, cleaner and much easier to use. I have never had issues with book selection. You can synchronize across all your devices even for books you didn't buy fromt hem (Kobo will only sync books you buy from them) and there are a lot more freebies and sale books than Kobo. The only con is a lack of epub support, and that's only an issue if you plan to sign out library books.
posted by JoannaC at 11:25 AM on August 30, 2012

It's so easy to convert books between epub and kindle/mobi that for all intents and purposes, buying either is equivalent. (Note: DRM-stripping is not legal in Canada, I believe; format-shifting and making a personal backup is.) I find that books on Amazon are almost always cheaper than books on Kobo. Library books in Canada are epub only right now.
posted by jeather at 11:39 AM on August 30, 2012

I've got a kindle in Canada, but don't do anything too special with it. The browser works fine, though - and if I buy a book on Amazon, it appears on my device over wireless.

Just popping in to say that new Kindles are probably going to be announced next week, so you may want to hold off on an immediate purchase.
posted by backwards guitar at 12:21 PM on August 30, 2012

Response by poster: All the replies are excellent, unfortunately they are not making the decision any easier!

I selected a book at random that I have been wanting to get & looked into availability thru each service:
Kobo- available at CDN $17.99
Amazon Canada - not available
Amazon US -avail at US $9.99

>I buy books on Amazon on the regular, then use Calibre to convert them for use on my Kobo.
Sternmeyer, you must have to remove the DRM somhow before you can do this?
posted by canoehead at 3:12 PM on August 30, 2012

There are add-ons for Calibre that might be of interest to you, canoehead.
posted by jeather at 3:27 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I did a bit more price checking and it looks like the book above was an anomaly and there is actually not much price difference between kobo and amazon. so I got the kobo and will see how it works out.
posted by canoehead at 7:47 AM on September 4, 2012

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