Switching from Kindle to Kobo

I got my first e-reader 10 years ago almost on the date. The Kindle Keyboard. Back then Amazon was the best available and Kindle store had the most ebook options. I wasn’t completely sold on the e-reader and after a couple of months, I was back almost full to hardcopy books.

Then in 2017, I came upon the Kindle Paperwhite in a physical store and it was discounted for no apparent reason. I spontaneously bought it. The Paperwhite is much more to my liking and I started reading a lot more digitally. Mostly book genres from indie book publishers that are hard to find in the Netherlands. The Paperwhite is sturdy and I use it without cover, I can just throw it in my bag, it fits in my winter coat pocket. Never had any issues with scratches on the screen or moisture when carrying it in my coat in rainy weather.

The Kindle Paperwhite does what it has to do, with no fuss.

The Kindle Paperwhite does what it has to do, with no fuss.

Last year it started bugging me to keep spending money on Amazon, even tho writers themselves expressed no issue with you buying their books on Amazon. But I always prefer buying from indie bookshops, which is what I do with all my hardcopy books. Another problem is that Amazon has a very strict DRM on their ebooks making it impossible to read them outside the Kindle ecosystem. The available methods to read them elsewhere did not work for me. So I don’t actually own my Kindle ebooks.

For a whole year, I went back and forth between buying a PocketBook e-reader or a Kobo e-reader. But even tho Amazon has a very strict DRM, they do have every book in their Kindle store, the Amazon website just works for me. The algorithm gets my reading taste and it also shows me new books it thinks I might like. And it’s usually correct.

The Kindle is also very easy to put books on, I can get a sample or buy the book via the e-reader, or through the website. And it all automatically loads on the e-reader. Everything I read and highlight is synced across devices. In my case, the Kindle e-reader, my phone and my MacBook. Amazon really gets how to make the best digital reading experience.

The Deciding Factors

After all that back and forth I finally decided to make the switch to Kobo. For a couple of reasons:

I chose Kobo Libra 2 instead of PocketBook Touch Lux 5 because I wasn’t reassured by the number of customers’ reviews complaining about how easily the PocketBook screen can break. And I didn’t want to find out if it was true or not. Someone also showed me their Kobo and assured me it doesn’t break easily. Besides, none of the PocketBooks has physical page flip buttons.

Photo of Kindle Paperwhite next to Kobo Libra 2 with both sreeens on
Kindle Paperwhite (2017) – Kobo Libra 2

As for all the Kindle books I already have. I can just use the Paperwhite or the Kindle app on my phone if I want to re-read them.

A whole new e-reader experience

The Kobo is a whole other ecosystem than the Kindle. The menu is easier with fewer levels. Being a newer e-reader it feels snappier than the 6 year old Paperwhite. But finding and buying books in English is another matter.

Being in the Netherlands, the Kobo website refuses to show me English books. It will focus on Dutch books and English books are relegated to a secondary display. Indie bookshop websites don’t use algorithms so I have to manually search for books. The “Dutch Amazon”, Bol.com also focuses on Dutch books even tho I never bought a Dutch e-book from them.

Linking my Bol.com with my Kobo account didn’t go flawlessly either. When you buy an ebook on Bol.com it is supposed to automatically sync to your Kobo. But I kept getting an error that it can’t download the book. Meanwhile, I had read several books I bought elsewhere. I had a reading stat and highlights already.

To fix the Bol.com syncing problem I had to log out of my Kobo.com account on the e-reader and log back in. Which erases all your stats, highlights and where you last left off on the book you are reading. Which to me is the most stupid thing ever. Unlike the Kindle which keeps all that data stored on a server and loads it back on.

All books I buy elsewhere I need to physically load on the Kobo while it’s connected to my MacBook. For example, if I finish a book preview at 21:00 at night. And I want to keep reading, I will need to buy it. So I have to get up and go on my MacBook, check an indie bookshop or Bol.com (because I have a gift card I’m still using up). Hit buy and make sure it syncs to my Kobo. Or if I buy it from an indie bookshop I need to download it, load it in Adobe Digital Editions and then transfer it to my Kobo.

With the Kindle when I reached the end of the preview I could just hit ‘Buy’ and 30 seconds later keep reading.

I have given up ease and comfort for less strict DRM and indie bookshop support.

Kobo mods

The good thing about the Kobo in contrast to the Kindle is it’s easy to mod the software. For example, Kobo has Dropbox support, but it’s disabled. To enable it I installed NickelMenu and activated Dropbox. With NickelMenu you can customise several things like fonts, display when in sleep mode and a few more things. But for me Dropbox support is enough for now. Now I don’t have to connect the Kobo to my MacBook anymore to load books. I just save them in Dropbox and load them from my Kobo. Worked flawlessly.

From what I read in Reddit e-reader subreddit you can do a lot more if you have the time and patience.


I’m happy with the Kobo Libra 2. I would buy it again. it’s a good e-reader and the software is intuitive. Although it took me a while and doh moment how to bookmark a page.

I am less pleased with the struggle to buy English books. There is this assumption that because the Netherlands’ mother language is Dutch, everyone reads Dutch. While I do read Dutch books, I mostly read English books.

I’m happy with the Kobo Libra 2. I would buy it again. I am less pleased with the struggle to buy English ebooks in the Netherlands.

It sucks that large websites like Bol.com or Kobo.com don’t allow you to set your main language preference for books. Their ebook processing is also subpar to Amazons. While I understand Amazon is a billion-dollar company, it does not take a billion-dollar company to create an easy and most importantly, useful experience browsing and buying ebooks.

I feel like if websites selling ebooks and DRM methods were more intuitive and usable. It would compete better with Amazon. Because Amazon isn’t cheaper, the prices are about the same. But Amazon does easy really well and everyone wants easy. I don’t like to jump hoops to get my ebook on my e-reader. Don’t make me think and do.

For now, I have made peace with taking my time looking for something new to read. I rely more on Bookstagram. I save the posts about books that interested me. Then I will look them up on the bookshops websites and add them to my wishlist. Next time I want to read something new I just check the wishlist and buy something that appeals to me at the moment. Open them in Adobe Digital Editions and then save them in Dropbox.

I don’t have the Kobo that long. It’s possible I’m doing things “wrong” and there is an easier way or not. This is what I figured out so far.

And hardcopy?

The plan is to read mostly ebooks now. My bookcases are almost at full capacity. I loathe to get rid of books. Although I will need to sacrifice some in the near future to make space. Only books I really like, will possibly re-read again or special editions will be bought.

Photo of two stacks of books next to each other that I have yet to read.
My to-read pile of books

Comments are closed.