Kathleen Jones: I've been unfaithful

I've a confession to make.  Though I love my Kindle dearly and have been in a relationship for almost a year, I've recently been flirting with Kobo.

It's not that I'm unhappy with Kindle - 3G and all that - it's just that it's so black and white.  Kobo, on the other hand, is very flash - full luscious colour, touch screen, etc etc, very like the I-Pad.  Great for cookery books - the food looks fantastic!  And for children's books, and illustrated non-fiction.  Book covers even look like book covers. The Kobo seems designed to compete with the I-Pad - Kindle's other big rival. It's Android technology - a small tablet computer rather than just an e-reader.

My infidelity was justified because I need to be aware when I'm writing and formatting a book, how it's going to look on other platforms.  A lot of my books are illustrated and I know now that I need to have full colour, not just black and white, and a much more inviting layout.   I was also interested to see what books were available on Kobo and whether I could get the range I can on Amazon.  The answer was no.   If it's only on Amazon then you can't get it on Kobo.  The only books of mine I could access were the ones on Smash Words or those that were conventionally E-published.  That was interesting, because it made me aware of the need to avoid Amazon exclusivity clauses.  The Kobo, I-Pad, and other E-readers (I've also been taking a peek at the Sony) are a growing market.  Kobo in particular is being sold everywhere, quite competitively priced and the colour and touch screen functionality make the Kindle look a bit clunky and less attractive to buyers. 

It was an interesting experience, but for me, the touch screen didn't work - I was always turning too many pages and having to zoom back.  I prefer the mechanical click-over page mechanism of the Kindle.  And, as a fast touch typist, I didn't like the on-screen touch keyboard.   I also prefer the ink page technology of the Kindle - it's much easier on the eye - computer screens are so tiring - and I can read it outside, which is where I work in the summer. 

So, in the end, Kobo isn't for me.  But, oh, how I regret the colour.  When is Kindle colour going to reach the UK?  It can't be soon enough for me.  My beloved Kindle is safe for the moment, but it had better get its act together fast, or I might do more than just flirt with the competition!

Visit Kathleen's website and blog at www.kathleenjonesauthor.blogspot.com

Kathleen Jones is talking about her biography of Katherine Mansfield at the Suffolk Book League in Ipswich, on March 14th at 7.30pm.

Kathleen Jones' E-Books

Christina Rossetti:  Learning not to be First

A Passionate Sisterhood:  the sisters, wives and daughters of the Lake Poets
(Available also on SmashWords)

Margaret Cavendish:  A Glorious Fame

Three and Other Stories
(Also available on SmashWords)


CallyPhillips said…
Nice to see the Kobo get a mention. I have the black/white touch one which is same in price as the cheapest Kindle. I like the idea of the colour one though! I agree that touch screen can be fiddly, BUT you do get used to it. (like all these things, mouses, laptop touchpads etc) I've never used a Kindle to compare, but I really like Kobo. As for not being able to get Kindle books... there are ways, as with all things, to convert them. Yes even DRM protected ones. DRM protection ISN'T safe. But of course one shouldn't have to. It should be possible to buy books on more than one format (and not just smashwords) and this I think becomes the responsibility of the writer to realise that Amazon ain't the only player and the market will move on so exclusivity with one retailer will ultimately limit the marketplace! Finding a way to distribute outside of Amazon without it costing a fortune is surely something we should be looking into. Distribution is a key issue for us I think. Now I'm off to look at the colour Kobo cause that sounds GOOD to me!
julia jones said…
I've published the Salt-Stained Book and A Ravelled Flag in both mobi and e-pub formats to try and reach a range of reading devices. Important thing is that you give both formats separate ISBNs - just as you would a PB and an HB edition - and you register both of them with Neilson Book Data. I'm under the impression that Kobo uses e-pub format. In which case there shouldn't be a problem with exclusivity as its a different product. I really like Kindle because I can read comfortably without specs but I do sometimes yearn for some colour. Thanks for the feedback Katherine.
CallyPhillips said…
I think that's an interesting point Julia, that epub with a different ISBN is a different product. I suspect when Kindle want exclusivity it's of the title, but it might give them a run for their money to claim the epub is a different product. However, one probably has to read Kindles small print to avoid potential hot water! Speaking of epubs, I can't find yours on epub at the moment - trying to find an epub link for ARF! This happens a lot I find, that you can't find the epub through eretailers. They need to up their game.
madwippitt said…
This was interesting as I was toying with the idea (when I win the lottery) of buying a second e-reader after discovering that I can't loan e-books from the library on my Kindle. That was a grrr moment.
Avril said…
I know how you feel Kathy as I found myself very tempted recently when a friend came to stay and I got a close look at the i-pad he had with him. I was definitely envious - for all the reasons you mention. Kindle seems very grey in comparison - they do need to get their act together fast!
My nice new Android phone has a touch screen - I love it for everything but when I sometimes have occasion to read on it, (blog posts usually) I find the touch screen very fiddly and irritating. Games are brilliant though! I know it's a question of size, but I like the keys on my Kindle. A young relative got an iPad for Christmas but I wasn't very taken with it - at least not for reading on! Fine for browsing eBay etc, but it didn't seem to do much that my laptop couldn't do already, plus it was far too big to carry around comfortably in my handbag, and I wasn't sold on it,in the way that I instantly loved the sleek design of my Kindle. But I might be willing to be persuaded. I find Kindle's e-ink so easy on the eyes (as do a number of friends with dyslexia, or so they tell me) that I'd be reluctant to give it up - but agree that some colour would be nice. I definitely don't want anything bigger, though! It's already getting to the point where my bag is stuffed with Kindle, new phone, and just possibly iPod when I'm travelling! But of all of them, the iPad was the least impressive for me. At the moment!

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