Coffee Sunday: The Kobo Aura E-Reader

My Nook crashed earlier this month.

For that reason, as well as others, I’m mad at Barnes and Noble right now. Since they have been my favorite bookstore for decades, I’m hoping they can pull themselves out of this rut and restore the solid reputation they have with me. Since they’re a brick-and-mortar bookstore chain, no doubt they face challenges in the emerging and growing e-commerce economy, but since they are in the best position to challenge Amazon hegemony over bookselling, I think it’s essential not only for their success but also for a competitive book market, for Barnes and Noble to survive.

When my Nook crashed, I debated buying a new one, but I decided against it. Though it’s important for me to have more than one e-reader, I had never been as happy with the Nook as I am with my Kindle. Its software has always felt buggy to me. I found it difficult to highlight passages or to add notes. Since one of the reasons I read is to write reviews for this blog, that difficulty was a major issue. I have the Nook reading app on my iPad; I can read my Nook books on it. Though I don’t like reading long works on my tablet, it’s a convenient workaround.

Instead of buying a new Nook, I purchased the Kobo Aura Edition 2. Though not as famous as Kindle or Nook, Kobo has been around as long as them. When I was looking for my first e-reader, I considered buying a Kobo device, but I decided against it, because their bookstore, at the time, didn’t seem well-developed. Kindle had the advantage of connecting a well-designed device with a recognizable retailing brand name and a sophisticated bookstore. Buying the Kindle was the right decision for my first e-reader. Until now and the end of time–or when I die, whichever comes first–I’ll own a Kindle.

But it’s important to me to have a second e-reader for the same reason it’s important for me to have a Barnes and Noble bookstore close by, along with an Orca Bookstore downtown, a Powell’s City of Books in Portland, and an Elliott Bookstore in Seattle. I don’t want just one place to buy books! Not physical books for my home library. Not e-books for my devices. I demand choices. For me, having multiple booksellers is as important for the freedom of the press as the First Amendment. A free society can’t allow one company to dictate what we read any more than we should allow for a Government Office of Censorship.

Please understand, I trust Scott Bezos’ integrity on this matter. But he will one day die, or retire, or be forced out of Amazon’s management but some corporate takeover. Who will become Amazon’s new overlord? And what will be his or her attitude about the freedom to read?

So I purchased the Kobo.

I think they walked it across the country to deliver it to me. It took over a week to arrive. But it arrived last Monday. It took about thirty minutes to unpack and set up before I could start reading it. As my first book on it, I purchased Gabriel García Márquez Memories of My Melancholy Whores. I loved it. It fits nicely in hand and feels great to hold while reading for long periods. It’s as wide as the Kindle Paperwhite, but not as long. The screen is about the same size on both devices. The user interface works about the same. Highlighting and adding notes works better than in the Nook. A nice feature, unique to Kobo, is that you can access articles you saved in Pocket on it. I didn’t have a Pocket account, but I do now. In short, this was a great decision, and I’m looking forward to hours, days, weeks, months, and years of reading on my Kobo.

Coffee Sunday is a new feature I intend for this blog. It’s an opportunity for me to address you, my followers, not as reviewer-to-reader but as person-to-person. Dare I say friend-to-friend? I intend it to be an informal, loose, even haphazard feature. I also intend to use it as a way to tell you what to look forward to during the coming weeks.

I finished reading Melancholy Whores last week. You can anticipate its review on Wednesday. A while ago, I reviewed John Cheever’s short story “Goodbye, My Brother.” Next Saturday, I’ll review another Cheever story, “The Common Day.” I’m currently reading James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce and Michael Pye’s Taking Lives. You can look forward to reviews of those two novels, along with other reviews, in June.

To keep this blog more on topic, I decided to stop reviewing movies and television shows on it. For those of you who visit this blog for my motion picture reviews, please know that I’ll create a second blog later this year for those reviews. Meantime, you can follow Keith Allen Broyles on Facebook, where I’ll continue to post snippets about the movies I see. I’ll write more about the upcoming changes next week for Coffee Sunday.

I hope you enjoyed this post as well as the future changes I’m planning for this blog. Keep reading!

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