An e-reader is a convenient way of consuming digital books. Unlike using a tablet or iPad, which have short battery lives, are expensive, and have displays that aren’t as easy on the eyes, e-readers are a lesser distraction and have longer battery lives.
They’re also cheaper, lighter, more compact, water-resistant, and can hold lots of books, making them a fan-favorite for voracious readers, as they can carry their book libraries on the go.
Although Amazon seems to be dominating the ebook reader market with Kindle, there are several great e-reader alternatives, notably Kobo.
This begs the question: which e-reader of the two is best to get your ebook fix?
The Kindle line of e-readers by Amazon (originally an online book retailer), has been on the market for more than a decade now and is known a lot more among ebook readers. This has given the brand much time to perfect the product over the years through users’ feedback and reviews.
Amazon has a variety of e-readers selling at different price points and for different uses, such as the Kindle (original), PaperWhite, Voyage, and Oasis e-readers.
The unique thing Kindle offers is its bookstore, that offers a mix of text and audio ebooks (through the Audible bookstore). The bookstore contains the largest selection of books.
Owned by Rakuten, Kobo is an e-ink line of e-readers that competes with Amazon’s Kindle but is mostly available to the Canadian market. Aside from that, it offers a more comfortable reading experience for the eyes and longer battery life.
Unlike Kindle, this e-reader has the ability to natively read ePub files, meaning you can upload your own books not necessarily from an online bookstore.
Kobo also offers a store and cloud-reading experience for its users and syncs ebooks across devices, across its wide selection of e-readers.
The major variances between the Kindle and Kobo e-readers come from the following factors.
What’s the Difference: Kindle vs. Kobo?
In terms of physical features, the salient differences between the Kindle and Kobo can be seen in the screen size and lighting plus pixel rules, with Kobo outweighing Kindle in this section. The Kobo e-reader also has better display quality, enabling readers to use it for long hours without much strain on the eyes.
Furthermore, Kobo offers a separate switch to adjust backlighting, which users can also do by simply swiping up, while Kindle users access this from a separate menu.
Library of Ebook Titles
Many writers prefer devices that use the ePub format, so the Kindle e-reader tends to be a bit close-ended in terms of format support and author royalties. Kobo supports authors in a non-restrictive approach, which makes it a favorite for self-publishers. This in turn increases the number of ebook titles in Kobo’s library when compared to Kindle.
Ebook formats are diverse, from the simple Doc format, to PDF, and also complex, graphic-loaded formats such as the ePub, CBR, Mobi, and others. This makes it important to have a device that sticks to an all-inclusive format.
Kobo uses the ePub format, while Amazon’s e-reader uses the Mobi format.
However, many authors and publishers find it a challenge to convert their textual formats into Mobi. For this reason they prefer to use the ePub or PDF formats, which is a plus for Kobo, as writers are encouraged to upload their work into this e-reader.
Unlike Kindle, which has a few type fonts, Kobo’s type engine offers a wide range of easily-customizable fonts, with a control feature that allows users to change length and margins of their written text.
Kobo thus allows users to change their texts as they desire, while Kindle doesn’t offer this to its users. This can also be seen when justifying text – the Kindle e-reader displays sentence mistakes while Kobo doesn’t.
Storage is a big deal for writers, publishers, and avid book readers because they’d like to carry their libraries with them wherever they go. On this front Kobo still takes the crown, as it supports external SD cards allowing users to expand storage capability and store more books in their device library.
Kindle, on the other hand, offers limited storage with no option for expanding memory using SD cards.
Pros and Cons
- Support for audiobooks
- Long battery life
- Small form factor
- Quality build
- Water-resistant option (Oasis)
- Touch sensors available on Voyage version
- Plastic screen (except Voyage and Oasis versions)
- Limited storage
- No headphone jack
- No backlight
- Some variants are dated
- No USB-C port
- Good display
- More open with support for more file formats
- Comfort-light Pro feature reduces blue light
- Good storage capabilities
- Water-resistant option (Aura)
- No audiobook support
- No USB-C port
Which Is Best: Kindle or Kobo?
Kindle and Kobo both have some quality e-readers for all kinds of budgets. Kobo takes the crown when it comes to storage, display quality, and support for different formats including Mobi, making it a versatile e-reader.
Kindle, on the other hand, offers a durable, high-quality e-reader, with an option for audiobooks but is limited in its storage capabilities and only supports the Mobi format, which is a turn-off for readers, writers, and publishers.
Depending on your need and budget, you can choose the Kindle or Kobo variant that’s the best match, because all of them perform well in day-to-day use.
Have you used the Kindle or Kobo e-reader before? What did you like or dislike about the two? Tell us in a comment below.