Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Wednesday Midday Links: New Ereading Devices

Kobo touch backs


Kobo and BN debuted new Touch devices and Kindle popped in to say that its Kindle with special offers is now available in the 3G version.

The Kobo at $129.

  • Uses infrared touch technology which means that there are infrared sensors that perceive your finger (or other object) within the sensory field (the screen) and responds.  You don’t have to press very hard because it is not pressure sensitive.
  • Pearl 6″ eink screen with 16 level greyscale.
  • Freescale processor which supposedly leads to faster page turns
  • Virtual keyboard (yeah! easier to take notes and run searches)
  • PDF Zoom and landscape. Can zoom up to 200%
  • Rotate to change from portrait to landscape and back
  • 1 GB onboard memory
  • Wifi enabled
  • 7 ounces
  • International accessibility:  “The Kobo eReader Touch will be the first eReader to be available in multiple languages: English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian, and will offer a completely local experience, including content, recommendations and the Kobo store”

Does not have an external storage slot that I can see nor does it have a web browser (see nook note below).  Per the commenters, there is a microSD slot.


  • Available for pre-order starting today at leading retailers across North America including Indigo (, Best Buy (, Walmart (, and Borders ( for MSRP of $129.99 USD and $139 CAD
  • Available for in-store purchase beginning early June
  • As of today, the first generation Kobo Wi Fi goes to a new everyday low price of $99.99 USD and $109 CAD while quantities last
  • The Kobo eReader Touch Edition will ship to retailers worldwide in July

nook touchNook at $139

  • Uses infrared touch technology which means that there are infrared sensors that perceive your finger (or other object) within the sensory field (the screen) and responds.  You don’t have to press very hard because it is not pressure sensitive.
  • Pearl 6″ eink screen with 16 level greyscale.
  • Virtual keyboard
  • Micro SD slot
  • 2 GB on board memory but only 1 GB available for books
  • Wifi enabled
  • 7.5 ounces
  • It says battery life is 2 months but apparently that is reading 1/2 hour per day for several days in one week.

It does not have pan and zoom and can only switch to landscape mode for certain ebooks (this is true for the nook Color as well).  There is also no web browser which means that getting books onto the nook can’t be done by emailing or accessing your dropbox account until or unless the hackers figure out a way around this.

The nook and kobo touch devices appear to be virtually the same. I intend to go and buy both devices for review purposes.  It may just come down to how fast the eink refreshes and which bookstore you prefer to shop in. I buy more epubs from Kobo than BN because Kobo is almost always having coupon sales.  Plus, the Kobo App allows me to read epubs not bought at the Kobo store (such as ePubs purchased at All Romance eBooks).  BN is more closed.  On the App, you cannot read anything but an ePub purchased from BN.  The devices such as the new nook touch and the Nook Color are more open and allow for sideloading books, even DRM’ed ones.

Finally, Amazon announced the Kindle 3G with special offers.  This is a device where the screensaver shows advertisements.  The advertisements are targeted and from what I hear offer pretty sweet deals such as getting a $20 GC to Amazon for $10 or any album in the Amazon store for $1.  The Kindle 3G with special offers is $169.  (This is an affiliate link).


Woot is offering the Samsung Galaxy Tab, contract free, for $265.  This device is an android tablet and given that it has both 3G and wifi capability, it is a better deal than the nook color at $249.  There are Kindle, Kobo, Aldiko, and Nook Android apps.


MobyLives suggests that Google has walked away from the Google eBookstore.  Frankly I don’t know if Google was ever “there.”  Google makes money off of searching, not book sales.


I’m not sure what to make of Ed Champions summaries of the BEA panels he is attending (and aspersions cast upon those he isn’t) but I am reading them. To sum up? Publishers aren’t talking to their customers and they probably need to.

But when a woman approached the mike and declared herself a “frustrated customer,” explaining quite pasionately to Schnittman, “I don’t think that you’re respecting the consumer at all,” it became clear that the panel didn’t want to discuss the real issue: the customer is always right. “Do you have a question?” sneered Turvey from the podium. “Why don’t you think more about the consumer?” said the woman, not missing a beat.


Remember what I said on Sunday about DRM and control and how publishers are loving that?  Yeah, well, Evan Schnittman at BEA talked about how digital books present an opportunity to refine territorial publishing.  While the world of readers want books without barriers and publishers are trying to buy those rights up (even if they aren’t exploiting them), Schnittman pointed out that digital platforms could foster micro territories or territories within territories.  How is this done? By DRM of course.  I am hoping this is just theoretical thinking and nothing that is put in actual practice.  I can’t think of anything worse than to use DRM to further divide up territories of readers who get to buy and readers who don’t get to buy.  Hello, piracy.

Oh and by the way, I am no fan of DRM and the article on Sunday wasn’t my argument for DRM, but my explanation of why it wasn’t going away.



Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Shiloh Walker
    May 25, 2011 @ 11:17:58

    Oh, that price on the Samsung tablet makes me wanna cry. I’ve got one and paid $500-it was well worth it, because I love it, but why couldn’t I have waited a couple of months?

  2. Jorrie Spencer
    May 25, 2011 @ 11:24:30

    I’m going to grumble that with the Canadian dollar at par I don’t see why Kobo (a Canadian company—unless I’ve got that wrong) is charging Canadians more than Americans.

    But thanks for the rundown! I admit I’m eyeing the Kobo, though I’m so slow at making a decision on this.

  3. Chris
    May 25, 2011 @ 11:29:12

    Re: external storage on the Kobo touch:
    “Up to 30,000 eBooks with a 32 GB SD Memory Card”

  4. Lynnd
    May 25, 2011 @ 11:34:58

    @Jorrie Spencer: I’m with you on this one! Kobo is a Canadian company with headquarters in Toronto.

  5. Suzanna Medeiros
    May 25, 2011 @ 11:51:22

    I have the Kobo WiFi and will probably be upgrading to the Touch. I agree that their coupon offers are great. I’ve only run into a couple of books that I couldn’t use them on. The Nook isn’t an option for me since I’m in Canada.

    As for storage on the Kobo Touch – according to the specs at their site you can add up to 32GB of storage via SD card. From the video I watched yesterday (was it Endgadgets?) it looks like that would be a micro SD card.

  6. HeatherU
    May 25, 2011 @ 12:33:49

    How do you get the coupons through Kobo? Email? On their website? Other websites?

  7. Suzanna Medeiros
    May 25, 2011 @ 12:46:03

    Kobo coupons come both through email and their website. I like to check the Kobo coupon thread on the Mobileread forums. They usually edit the first post to list the latest coupons.

  8. SAO
    May 25, 2011 @ 13:02:04

    Since people move around a lot, DRM-enabled micro-territories will be a huge nuisance to a lot of readers.

    The sad thing is that the publishers are so out of touch, they’ll probably think it’s a great revenue-enhancing scheme and that reduced literacy is the cause of any lower sales after they make every reader who is not a homebody or a pirate tear their hair out at frequent intervals.

  9. Mike Cane
    May 25, 2011 @ 13:19:27

    >>> Rotate to change from portrait to landscape and back
    >>> Does not have an external storage slot that I can

    Rotate is manual, not with an accelerometer. And as someone else pointed out, there is a storage slot.

    One thing I did not see until today on the new Nook — it came via an eBookNewser demo vid — is that when you see your shelf of books, you can flick up or down to scroll through them! I have no idea why I didn’t see that in any other video. Not getting all the information at once frustrates me, but not enough to make me want to attend any of these product intros myself.

  10. becca
    May 25, 2011 @ 13:49:38

    The new Nook touch doesn’t support .pdb books, only pdf and epub – sounds like B&N is pretty much abandoning pdb, so unless you break DRM and convert, you’ve lost your pdb library.

  11. Brian
    May 25, 2011 @ 14:13:58

    Schnittman pointed out that digital platforms could foster micro territories or territories within territories.

    Please no. Worst idea ever…

    Just a note that while B&N quotes the new Nook’s internal capacity as 2GB, only 1GB is available for content just like on the Kobo.

  12. Ridley
    May 25, 2011 @ 16:48:46

    I’m really tempted to replace my Sony Touch 600 with the Kobo Touch. It sounds nice and light, it has the touchscreen for mah cripple hands, has the crisp new screen and is $100 less than the Sony Touch 650.

    I’ll wait to see what Sony comes up with this year or if they drop the price on the 650. Nice as the Kobo looks, I’d miss my collections folders on the Sony. It looks like the Kobo only sorts by author name, book title and “favorites.” That gets unwieldy after a few hundred books.

  13. DS
    May 25, 2011 @ 16:52:24

    Just for info:

    the Entourage Edge (tablet on one side, e-ink on the other) has been sent to the graveyard of ereaders. I still like mine and it looks like there may be a community of people interested in creating custom ROMs. .

  14. Cara
    May 25, 2011 @ 18:41:41

    At this point, I really think format is a non-issue. It’s called Calibre. It’s free. It’s pretty, shiny, and organizes everything and hey! also converts whatever ebook format you have into whatever is compatible with the device plugged into your computer.

    That said, I’m more interested in the speed of the two readers. I heard there was quite a bit of responsiveness lag going on with the kobo demo, but they have time to iron it out before release. It’s also just sexier-looking than the nook.

  15. sarah mayberry
    May 25, 2011 @ 19:18:39

    Microterritories? Seriously? They don’t get that the territories they already have are driving readers (that’s consumers or customers to you, publishers) crazy? I cannot tell you how mad-making it is for me to see a book available to US readers in eformat but not be able to purchase it from Australia. It doesn’t make me go out and find a pirated copy, but it makes me want to grab publishers and slap them around a bit. I has money, publishers. I want to give it to you. Hello? Anybody listening? It’s hard to say this without sounding as though I am giving my own publisher a plug, but one thing I love about Harlequin is that they buy the world rights to ebooks and when I go to their site I can buy ANYTHING I WANT. What a sweet, blessed relief that is.

  16. Chris
    May 25, 2011 @ 19:31:48

    @sarah mayberry: Harlequin are pretty bad about making their ebooks available to Australians who have Kindles though. For example (not entirely at random :-) Harlequin have about 15 of your books available as ebooks on their site, but only 8 in the Kindle store.

  17. Jane
    May 25, 2011 @ 19:48:35

    @HeatherU – I think that you can sign up for their newsletter? I think that is how I did it. scroll down to sign up for the newsletter list.

  18. Niveau
    May 25, 2011 @ 20:12:55

    @Jorrie Spencer: I’m grumbling about that, too – in fact, it’s what’s holding me back from buying one. I will not pay more for a product that’s being released now, when the dollar’s been at or above par for quite some time, and by a Canadian company to boot.

  19. MaryK
    May 25, 2011 @ 22:22:28

    @DS: I bought my dad a pocket Edge off Woot for his birthday. It’s pretty cool. He likes it a lot but isn’t sure he’ll be able to upgrade beyond Android 2.0. Last I heard, he was still trying to get the Netflix app on it.

  20. sarah mayberry
    May 25, 2011 @ 23:17:26

    @Chris. I did not know this. But I have a Sony e-reader, not a Kindle. I shall have to ask about the Kindle situation. Interesting…

  21. Cara
    May 26, 2011 @ 00:31:38

    So I did some scouring around re: B&N’s definition of battery life. They’re apparently being a little more specific than just “1/2 an hour a day a few days a week.”

    While reading at one page a minute, the All-New NOOK battery lasts for 150 hours where the Kindle battery, using the same page-turn rate, lasts for only 56 hours (both with Wi-Fi off). We’ve also done a continuous page turn test and at one page turn per second, the All-New NOOK offers more than 25,000 continuous page turns on a single charge.

    The Kobo’s battery offers 10,000 page-turns, or 10 days.

    It should also be noted, since you’re mentioning the Kobo’s supposedly faster page turns, that one of B&N’s big selling points on the new nook was an 80% decrease in “flashing” in page turns, which I think is supposed to translate to speed as well.

    You know, just FYI.

  22. lucy
    May 26, 2011 @ 00:37:10

    Almost everything is more expensive in Canada. That’s one of the reasons that ebook prices don’t bother me that much because books are more expensive here.

  23. DS
    May 26, 2011 @ 07:06:29

    @MaryK: Have him check the Edge forum on mobile reads if he hasn’t already. There is a thread about a new forum created called Edge Hackers. It’s very new so there isn’t much there yet but it’s probably the place to try to get help right now.

    I upgraded to the Ermine beta earlier also but haven’t tried Netflix..

  24. Cara
    May 26, 2011 @ 10:22:09

    SO, wait – does the Kobo *have* a web browser and the nook doesn’t? Sorry to keep posting, but I’m just trying to get some clarity about the two products so I can accurately compare them.

  25. Jane
    May 26, 2011 @ 10:29:01

    @Cara – I don’t believe either have a web browser. I’ve sent a request in for more information. The nook Touch does not have audio capability. That made a difference to a reader on Twitter

  26. Jane
    May 26, 2011 @ 10:44:02

    @Cara – no music capabilities on the Kobo Touch. Checking on the browser thing.

  27. Jane
    May 26, 2011 @ 10:55:12

    okay, update on the Kobo Touch

    Yes, you can browse books, buy and download directly to the Touch Edition eReader straight from the device. Kobo’s library has over 2.3 million titles and over a million free books. Plus, the Touch Edition eReader allows you to read multiple formats, meaning that you can also easily read library eBooks.

    and for the browser:

    No, no web browser on the Touch Edition eReader. The Reading Life access happens directly on the device. It’s very book-like and feels like a paperback.

  28. Cara
    May 26, 2011 @ 16:13:36

    Thanks, Jane! It’s looking more and more like they’re very, very similar devices, with the exception of sexiness, battery life, and *maybe* the page-turn speed. Hmmm.

  29. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Lead on, linkity, lead on
    May 27, 2011 @ 07:53:54

    […] Both Kobo and Barnes & Noble announced new touch ereaders, available soon. […]

  30. FiaQ
    May 27, 2011 @ 08:02:17

    Those Kobo cover thingies look like mattresses. Or is it just me?

  31. Industry News-May 28 | RWA-WF
    May 28, 2011 @ 17:08:28

    […] And speaking of pirating issues and giving things away for free, Cecelia Tan of Circlet Publishing discusses why pirating just might be good for writers and good for sales. While Jane Friedman lists 5 Free Books Every Writer Needs and, in honor of BookExpoAmerica, provides a list of 3 Publishing Trends Writers Must Stay On Top Of. And on the tech side, Dear Author’s Jane has a preview of the new, $129 Kobo and $139 Nook e-readers. […]

  32. orannia
    May 30, 2011 @ 01:26:28

    I’m very excited about the touch screen options. I have RSI, so the touch screen is definitely better for my wrists. Now the question is whether they will be available overseas anytime soon…

    I look forward to your reviews Jane. Thank you in advance :)

%d bloggers like this: