Thursday, 30 August 2012

Someone Else's Kobo

Neil's small 'Book Mill' e-publishing imprint, is about to start publishing on Kobo, which needs a different format to the Kindle (e-pub rather than mobi - for the technically minded!).  So, we thought we ought to buy one to see how the books look on it and what kind of functions we need to put into them.  There's no standardisation in e-publishing - a cover that's the right size for Kindle will leak over onto another page on a Kobo, but be too small for an I-pad.  Hyperlinks that work on the Kindle, won't on Kobo.   An e-publisher needs to know what they're dealing with.

To it was off to WH Smith to buy a Kobo.  Neil took the dummy box off the rack and took it to the counter - the assistant went upstairs and came down with the same box, though this time filled with a Kobo, put it through the till and into a bag.  But when Neil got home and took the Kobo out, it was covered with fingerprints, the sticky plastic on the screen was crumpled as if it had been taken off and put on again and it had obviously been used.  Back to the shop.  The assistant apologised, popped upstairs, came down half an hour later with the same box but - we were assured - a new Kobo inside. 

Home again and unpacked the Kobo from its box and discovered that the sticky plastic over the screen wasn't smooth and the handbook with it had been well-thumbed.  Suspicious we turned the device on according to the instructions and the set-up menu failed to appear as it was supposed to do.  When we finally got into the settings we discovered that that was because it had already been set up by someone else and their email address and details were on the Kobo, dated almost a year ago, so presumably the device had been returned to the shop by its owner.

Back to WH Smith again (a round trip of nearly 80 miles!) to ask for a new Kobo please, not another second hand one.  This time it was the manager we saw, who told us that - whoops! - they didn't have any new Kobos in stock.   Deeply apologetic.  Money back time. The staff couldn't have been nicer, and - since we were bent on buying a Kobo somewhere, somehow  - we were given a cover at a very reduced price to offset our fuel costs for the 2 return visits.


What made it so disquieting for us what that daughter M had bought a Kobo in London last year for her job and exactly the same thing had happened to her - someone else's details were already logged in and she had to take the device back to the shop.

We now have a Kobo, bought in Staples - it came in a sealed box and was absolutely pristine.  New, definitely!  And we love it.  The touch colour Vox has a vibrant screen to show off illustrations and all the apps, bells and whistles you get on a top of the range smart phone or tablet computer. It's a little short on battery life (7 hours), rather like a laptop,  but the books look amazing.  You can vary the fonts for publishing (you can't on Kindle) and have a much more elegant book.  Newspapers and magazines look exactly the same on screen as they do in your hand - and, in full colour, cookery books are luscious. In fact, reading on Kobo is a fantastic experience.   Wish we could recommend WH Smith in the same way. 

5 comments:

  1. Makes me glad I got mine online! But very interested to hear that Kobo Vox IS good because I know you were worried as to whether the colour would impact upon the reading quality etc - I think WHEN I upgrade I'll go on your recommendation and GET a Vox (though again online and SEALED!) The other piece of good news (pass if appropriate to Neil) is that Sigil is (once learned) very easy to use to get epubs up and running and in fact now I'm using it for Kindle then converting via Calibre. It's taken a lot of time off my workload and given me years of my life back and less grey hair! The next step will be getting CUSTOMERS buying epub format - when will people move on from Amazon? When something else is a decent alternative I suggest. Sounds like the hardware is there - my Kobo Touch is fine but COLOUR would be nice.

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    1. Thanks Cally - yes, make sure if you upgrade that you get a sealed box - Staples or online. The colour is great.
      Neil is using Sigil, but finding a problem with page breaks which the document converts to e-pub. Expect this will solve eventually. Think we will need to have master html file to put into Sigil for e-pub and into Calibre for Kindle. Thanks for the tip.

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  2. I use Kindle and Kobo to test ebook files plus the various computer programs and find there is a slight difference for image files. Haven’t had any problem with links in either.

    I had troubles with the Kobos I bought at Best Buy. Returned twice. Third time a charm.

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    1. Welcome to the blog James! Interesting that you had the same experience with Best Buy. Would tell everyone to make sure they have a sealed box before they leave the shop!
      Interesting you also find a difference for image files. We're finding Kobo deals with page breaks differently and also references and end-notes. These link automatically on Kindle, but not on Kobo. It's a long learning curve!

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  3. Great post. A fascinating dialogue Kathy, on this process. - or these processes! I wish I had a publishing mate with whom I explore this. I am just on top of Kindle which I think is so significant to the empowerment process. Yours is clearly a next step. But every hour at this is an hour less writing. The search for balance is all... Wxxx

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