Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Packing the Heavy Stuff

When I packed to travel to San Diego at Christmas time, my suitcase was weighted down by an abundance of hard-cover library books - I'd guess that about one quarter of my suitcase (in volume and weight) was book-related!

Well, I've now packed my books for our long flight to Ethiopia and the pile looks something like this:

Yes, it's true...I am now the proud owner of a Kobo e-reader...not one that I was even considering until a few of my helpful blog readers gave me a little more information about it...causing me to do some research.

I confess that my heart is still somewhat with amazon's Kindle and, in fact, Geoff actually bought me a Kindle for Christmas (which was very moving to me, after having waited to many years to hold one of my own).  But, alas for Geoff, no sooner had he secretly ordered my kindle than I unknowingly announced to him that I thought I might purchase a Kobo in the new year!  Poor guy.

The Kobo is a simpler version of the Kindle, in my view - a little more basic in function and form.  The big draw for me is that I can order library books to read on my Kobo, which I could not have done on a Kindle.  Had I purchased a Kindle, I would have been forced to purchase every book that I wanted to read on it and, at the rate I go through books, that would have broken our budget pretty quickly!

I've had my Kobo for about two weeks now and, during that time, have managed to both purchase and borrow books to read on it.  In fact, I've spent far more time learning how to do these things than actually reading any books!  Not being technologically inclined, it took me considerable time and effort (and a few frustrated emails to both library and Kobo help desks) to figure out how the library thing works.  It's not an obvious process, from my perspective, though now that I've got it nailed down (I hope), it's quite a lot easier.  The few book purchases that I've made have been from Chapters Indigo, and I have yet to figure out how to purchase books from Borders in the U.S., which I'm supposed to be able to with my Kobo; for some reason, Borders keeps kicking me off of their site whenever I get to the point of paying for a book, and the ever-so-helpful (not) customer service people at Borders have been pretty dismal in their efforts to help me figure things out.

One thing I've noticed is that there are a lot (and I do mean a lot!) of romance novels on the various Kobo e-book sites.  When I first scrolled through the public library listings of e-books (before I knew that I could narrow my search to literature, etc), it seemed like over 95% of the books I saw were harlequin-type novels!  In my hours trying to figure out how to download the darn library books, I ended up downloading on-masse about five romance novels to my Kobo.  I thought it was funny that all of them were titled from the first letters of the alphabet, because they were the first books I was testing the system out with.  So I ended up with my first library books entitled A Bride for Tom, and Bride's Baby (that one was a real treat!), and so on. 

Of course, having finally figured out how to download something for free, I wanted to try reading from my new e-reader, so I ended up reading more romance novels (all five, I think) in that week than I have since my teen years!  I can assure you that the quality has not improved since my early years and the morals seem to have eroded even further.  lol.  You will not (alas) see these books listed in my bottom-of-the-page list of books read, or reviewed in my end-of-the-month post about my January picks!

Thankfully, at some point during my reading of the fifth romance novel, I figured out that I also had one hundred free books that came with my Kobo (almost all of them lovely classics and a number of them books that I have wanted to read for years), so I had a few more options.  Also, I purchased a few books (all for less than $10 and a couple for less than $5).  Finally, just today, having sort of mastered the library system, I downloaded about seven books - all of which I will save for the long flight over the ocean.  All in all, I think I have about twenty books now that I am eager to read, and which I will keep unread for another twelve days.

I really enjoy reading on my Kobo, too.  I know many book purists swear by the old-fashioned way of reading; after all, there's nothing like the smell or feel of a real book.  I agree.  But I have found that by tucking my e-reader into a small leather book-like folder, I do have the feel of a real book; and when I'm sitting tucked under a blanket in my little in-home library, the sight and smell of the shelved books all around me envelop my senses just beautifully, thank you very much.  And there's nothing like being able to tuck all 120 of my books into my purse when I head out the door, ready at my fingertips when I have ten minutes here or there to indulge in a quick read.

While there are definitely some rubs involved in using a Kobo, and although the downloading isn't terribly user-friendly (for this techno-dummy), now that the learning curve is done I'm thrilled with it!  I finally, after eight years of wishing for one, possess my very own library-in-a-purse...my e-reader.


  1. Congratulations! I hope you and Kobo enjoy many fullfilling years together :)

  2. I purchased myself one as well! I was actually inspired by your post debating which eReader was best and decided on looking at the kobo. I have only bought Sweetness in the Belly and plan on reading it when I am finished 'Chasing Harry Winston' by Lauren Weisberger...just a trashy novel, but after The Lost Symbol and Shake Hands with the Devil, I needed something light!
    Would love it if you shared how you can borrow from the library...I don't know how to do that! You can email me!

  3. Thanks Joy, Claire! Claire, I just sent you an email re: the kobo - hopefully you get it figured out!!

    Blessings both of you,


  4. Congratulations - and enjoy!!! I feel the same way about being able to carry all of my books on 1 device!

  5. I'm loving my KOBO too! I didn't think I would be super happy with it, it was more David's dream than mine, but I love how light it is and so easy to read. Plus I don't have to wait for the books to be shipped and I just figured out that putting it in a ziploc bag makes it easy to read it in the tub!! So good.
    There are students at my school that received e-readers. I love looking at all the different kinds. The Nook Colour is soooo beautiful but more than what I'm needing. I just need the basics.
    Can't believe how quickly you will be heading over to ET!! Very exciting, Ruth!!

  6. Congrats! It seems like the perfect item for you!