If you want to buy an e-reader in Germany, you are up for some hard decisions as the local industry has not quite jumped on the train yet. If you look for opinions on the web, you will find mostly US-based reviews. Over there, people talk—besides tablets—mostly about Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle. As Nook is not available in Germany at all and Kindle only in old versions1 and for much more money than in the US2, what to do3?
Meet Kobo Touch! Reviews place it closely to both Nook and Kindle and it can be bought for 129€ from a major German electronics chain. If you think that is expensive, keep in mind that even the cheaper Kindles (which do not have touch displays) are only cheaper because you are exposed to advertisements; Kobo is ad-free, as far as I know. So, Kobo’s technology is about as good as the main competitor’s but it is
- affordable and,
- supports EPUB and some other less-popular formats.
Especially the last item is ignored by many US reviewers, much to my surprise. It appears to me that people over there are content to bind themselves to the store their eReader connects to4; not me. You can read any e-book on a Kobo, and that is a big plus.
Besides, I have major issues with Amazon trying to establish a monopoly using DRM and a format almost no one else uses5. Once you’ve bought a Kindle and some books for it, you are pretty much stuck.
- For instance, neither Kindle Touch nor DX are available on amazon.de ↩
- At the time of this writing, the basic Kindle costs 80$ in the US but 99€ (over 125$) in Germany. ↩
- One should note that a major book chain seels the Oyo e-reader in Europe. I have tried it; it is an inferior device compared to the ones discussed above but costs more. ↩
- I call it the iTunes-effect; it has also happened to the software market for (smart)phones and tablets since. ↩
- Note that Kobo can read MOBI, if apparently not perfectly. ↩