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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Why I Wouldn't Buy a Dedicated Ereading Device


Earlier this month, ebook retailer Kobo announced a brand new, waterproof ereading device.

It looks really cool and all, but you know, it got me thinking. In this day and age, with competition in the ebook space so fierce, I don't think I would ever buy a dedicated ereading device. You don't want to be locked into any one retailer, and effectively, that's what a dedicated ereader does because you can't easily read books on it, that you bought from other stores.

I'd much rather say, go out and buy a tablet with the biggest and highest quality screen you can afford, and install all the apps. And if waterproof is really that important to you, there are rugged tablets available, specifically for that purpose (look at Rugged SA in South Africa, for example).

Sure, dedicated ereaders often have stunning screens, specifically designed to let you read in comfort for extended periods of time. Or they can be much lighter than tablets—although I personally prefer to hold something weighty anyway.

But think of the things you give up:

I want to be able to say, for any particular book, "Hey, this book's cheaper at Kobo." And buy it on Kobo and open the Kobo app on my tablet to read it.

Or for a different book, "Hey, this book's cheaper at Amazon." And buy it on Amazon and open the Kindle app on my tablet to read it.

Or for a different book, "Hey, this book's available on Scribd." And click Save For Later on Scribd and read it on my tablet at no extra charge.

And what if you have a Kobo ereader, but the book you want is only available on Amazon, or vice versa?

Sure, you could use Calibre and similar software to download the book to your PC, convert it to a format your ereader can support, and copy it over. But if the book has DRM applied (as most traditionally published books do), you'd have to strip that off first.

That's a lot of effort for most people. It's also almost certainly against the terms of service of the store you bought it from... and is possibly downright illegal if you have to strip the DRM first.

What do you think? Am I being unreasonable? Do you shop around for ebooks, or do you just buy them from your regular store without giving it a second thought?

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