At this year’s Willylit festival, Chris Flynn made a convincing sales pitch for eBook readers. Not only are eBook readers ‘libraries-in-hand’, they’re also tree-savers, since only a small part of a book printed in the US is made from recycled paper.
I was reluctant to rush out and buy a Kindle however, since it would limit me to DRM material from Amazon, and I hate monopoly, especially in the publishing industry where it affects both authors and consumers. There’s a few other low-end eBook readers out there, such as the Kobo, but I thought I’d give the Kogan a go. Kogan is an online store, and there was no opportunity to play rough on a demo device, so I ruminated before clicking the ‘shopping cart’ icon. I bought it in the end because the Kogan supported an amazing range of eBook formats as well as being Adobe DRM-friendly.
My Kogan eBook Reader arrived on Monday. It’s teeny-weeny bit smaller than a DVD cover, and the screen is six-inches, same as a Kobo. The buttons feel a bit plasticky and unresponsive (think of the old Nokia 3210s), but the e-ink screen is easy on the eyes. Size of the font was not an issue for Kogan’s preloaded material, but my uploaded Adobe books sported newspaper-print, which can be a problem for the visually impaired. One can zoom in and reformat pages of course, but then one ends up with widow text.
One major flaw with the Kogan is that it doesn’t have a ‘last page’ function. On one occasion, my Kogan switched off after being idle for too long. I forgot to bookmark my page, so on my return, I had to trawl through half of the book to find my spot again.
With a potential storage capacity of 34G (using a 32G SDHC card to shore up the built-in 2G memory), the Kogan can store images and music as well. I’m not sure why anyone would want to look at images in greyscale, but an eBook reader that also works as a basic MP3 device would be muchos useful for travellers. One less gadget to fit into your hand luggage.
In regards to Mac/PC compatibility, Kogans seem to be Mac-unfriendly. I got around this hiccup by uploading books onto my SD card, but this is frustrating, especially when I know my Kogan can sync with Adobe Digital Editions.
Nevertheless, I’m pleased with my purchase. When it comes to buying books, bookshelf space has always been a limiting factor for me, and it’s nice to have a home for closet publications (i.e. trashy fantasy). I know this is very ‘Stuff White People Like’**, but, hey, you’ve got to agree with me that fantasy books take up a lot of space. Stephanie Meyer*, anyone?
*Note: I was so ashamed of my Stephanie Meyer collection, that I donated the whole lot to the Borders Bushfire Appeal. I really should borrow books first before buying them.
**Second Note: I suppose that makes me a wannabe white person? Okay, let’s not go there…