Kobo Clara 2E Ereader

As part of DeAmazoning I am now the proud owner of a new Kobo Clara 2E and have embarked on an adventure to get the most out of this device.

General Thoughts

I like the Kobo. The form factor and software are sleeker than my old Kindle Paperwhite. The device is a bit bulkier with the Sleepsync cover, which is taking some getting used to, but the cover is solid and looks good and I feel confident the reader won't get broken if I toss it in a bag or suitcase. (I always halfway expected the Kindle to get crushed while traveling.) The Kobo Clara is actually waterproof and will survive falling into the shallow end of the pool and staying there until you fish it out, whereas I think the Kindle was only mildly water resistant.

"Eco-friendly" plastic is a major selling point of this device. It wasn't a deciding factor for me, more like an interesting bonus, but the device is sturdy and well-made and demonstrates you can create a perfectly serviceable device with recycled and ocean-bound plastic. The book collection display is nice and I greatly prefer Kobo's percentage-read over Kindle's progress bar. Kobo has the ability to create custom collections, and while this feature certainly isn't unique to Kobo ereaders I prefer the aesthetics and display options here. Software wise, the Kobo store browser and Overdrive integration is an improvement over the Kindle's glitchy and barebones interface, but it's still more efficient to research books at my PC or or through the Libby app.

All in all, it's a nice reader with some cool options. It's a definite upgrade to my admittedly cheap Kindle Paperwhite.

Pocket Integration

Kobo has Pocket integration, and I had a hmmm moment because I remembered the Pocket being on Prism-Break's naughty list and I had it disabled on Firefox. Mozilla owns Pocket and apparently they do data-sharing, which is the chief objection people have. I think you have to be a little practical about your personal use-case. I'd like to get back into the habit of reading longer articles. Usually, I bookmark or put them aside and forget about them, so I think the ability to sync Pocket to Kobo will help.

Kobo Plus

The Kobo plus subscription service isn't available in the US yet, but I look forward to seeing how it develops.

Overdrive & Libraries

Connecting to Overdrive or one library card is easy, but connecting multiple library cards was unintutive and not fully supported. I have cards with my local library and the Brooklyn Public Library. Both are valuable to me, as the local library usually has shorter waits for popular books but BPL has a much larger catalog. At this stage, I've got sync set up for both cards but I can only browse and view holds for BPL. I think searching Overdrive on the Kobo is just annoying enough to keep me from being overreliant on it so that aspect isn't as important to me.

Problems with Adobe DRM

I had a run-in with Adobe's DRM (hooray) on a library book. I checked out a book and it did not auto-deliver and sync to the Kobo as usual, so I attempted to manually download the Adobe ID and sync through Adobe Digital Editions. Each time resulted in black thumbnails and the dreaded error:

Your eReader is not authorized to open this book. Because you previously deauthorized your eReader, you need to reimport the book using ADE.

The only thing I could figure is I previously checked the book out using my Kindle and that was interefering with Kobo's ability to sync. Fortunately, I have only had the issue with one book so far. If library books don't sync correctly in the future, I'll have to either resolve this error or use my Kindle.

Possible solutions at Adobe Support. It may be an issue with ADE 4.5.11, as some users report being able to get through this rigamarole with ADE 3.0. Obligatory note that Adobe is trash, and Adobe DRM is trash, and I'm never surprised when Adobe persists in sucking. The goal of Adobe DRM is to sell Adobe DRM, not to actually do anything useful.

Update: Thanks to this thread I was able to download ADE 3.0. I deauthorized my computer, shut down ADE, restarted, reauthed my computer, and did the same for the Kobo. After that, I was finally able to manually send the library book to my Kobo through ADE.

Reading Kindle ebooks on Kobo

Kindle ebooks are in the proprietary .azw format and DRM must be removed so the file can be converted to a proper epub file. I thought this would be difficult but Apprentice Alf's plugin makes the process painless.

Series in Kobo - Unresolved

My first trouble area with Kobo has been series metadata. Books I bought on the Kobo store did not have the series metadata properly populated and books I imported didn't either. Kobo Utilities Plugin allowed me to update the imported books on the device, but I had trouble using it to update native kepub books. I need to go back and reread the documentation and I haven't made the time, it's slightly annoying but I don't own many ebooks and it's not that big a deal.

Note to future self, check out Nickel Series at some point.

Reading Comics and Manga

I was curious about this, if only because my old Kindle paperwhite often shit the bed trying to read Kindle-formatted manga. Kobo Clara 2E does support reading comics and you can sideload books in the .cbz and .cbr format. I've had no issues with a few manga I checked out on Overdrive, though I've yet to sideload my own books.

For me, the issue always goes back to ereaders just not being a great display for images. 6" screens are always a tight fit for manga. Kobo does have the ability to zoom the page, but it's a little clunky IMO. Some people swear by the larger Kobo readers (Libra and Sage) and I can see the potential, but it's hard to beat an Android tablet with full color display and compatability with Tachiyomi, Libby, browser-based readers like MediaDo, and any number of comic subscription sites (see my digital comics infodump).

Some Things For Consideration