5 Advantages of Reading E-Books on a Kobo Reader

I’ve always been a casual reader, but some years ago I was gifted the Kobo Clara HD e-reader, which has made a big impact on my reading habits.

While a good old fashioned paperback can never be beat, reading on the Kobo is great for a bunch of reasons.

Read in the Dark

Have you ever tried reading in the dark? It’s mildly challenging without night vision goggles.

In all seriousness, I can read in bed without a lamp because the Kobo has a backlight. Same goes when I’m in the passenger’s seat on a long night drive, or even during the dusky hours of the day, before I turn the lights on at home.

In addition, the Kobo’s backlight is far less intense than a phone. It’s designed so the light doesn’t cause eye strain, but it’s powerful enough to enhance daytime reading, too.

E-Ink Looks Amazing

E-Ink, the technology used to display images and text on e-readers and other devices, is just super cool. It’s like actually like looking at a book – there is physical text on a silicon page instead of colored beams of LCD light beaming directly into your retina.

It will be a lot of fun watching this technology mature from e-readers to more general applications. Have you noticed E-Ink displays popping up across retail stores to display prices in real time?

Built-in Dictionary

E-readers are great for building vocabulary, because they have dictionaries coded into the book. English is my mother tongue, but in any book there are dozens of words – if not more – that I don’t quite grasp fully. A long press on the Kobo brings up the word’s definitions in an instant. I often use it more for familiar words just to get a deeper sense of their meaning.

Eliminate Clutter

About a decade ago, I read Marie Kondo’s famous work, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“. Since then, I’ve tried to limit the number of physical books I have lying around the house, including hers. Having electronic copies all in one place lets me get rid of a lot of dust-collecting novels and self-help tomes. It also means I can brag to my friends about what a minimalist I am (yeah, I know it’s out of style).

Free Books

With apps like Overdrive and its successor Libby, it’s easy to download books for free from your local library. Here’s a hot tip, though – when you’re a library member, it usually means you can access other libraries’ collections if they’re in the same network. For instance, if you’re a member of Boston’s Public Library, then you can also rent books from the Sails Library Network, CLAMS, CW MARS, Merrimack Valley Library Consortium, Minuteman, Noble, and Old Colony! That’s a vast collection of books, which helps ensure you’ll find a copy of what you want to read

If you have trouble adding multiple libraries to your e-reader, check out this classic blog post by Ted Brakob.

Bonus: Geeking Out

Kobo’s software is based on Linux, so I can plug my e-reader into my Macbook and explore its file structure. There’s a SQLite database on the little machine which can be fun to hack around with.

One more PROTIP: When I connected to my Macbook Air M1, I had to ensure I connected while the Kobo was completely shut off – if I instead connected while is was in a sleep-mode or on, then the connection suddenly broke off. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to load PDFs or EPUBs using Adobe Digital Editions.