It always concerned me that Amazon had such a monopoly on ebooks. However, my customer satisfaction since purchasing my first kindle in 2009, compared with the obvious inferiority of other e-readers, has been high. The price, ease and massive catalogue of ebooks available did not make it seems so bad to have all my eggs in one basket. I was always really happy with Amazon.
All that has changed (see Amazon Fails Social Reader) and I no longer wish to be restricted in this way. It is likely this will be my last post tagged ‘kindle’ (although maybe Amazon will make changes to their policies and customer service and I will renege on this). I do have a significant family investment in their hardware and ebooks and am really disappointed it has come to this – but suspect having more flexibility will ultimately prove a better, safer option than dealing with the whims of one company.
Researching the possible options for reading electronic books (and I still use the library, bookstores and booko.com.au weekly) made me realise just how quickly the e-reader market is losing diversity. It seems that Barnes and Noble are in serious trouble and their Nook e-reader probably has a limited lifespan. The Sony Reader have been defeated by Amazon and are transitioning their customers to Kobo.
All this has led me to purchase a Kobo Aura HD and start using Calibre to manage my ebook library. My new e-reader is elegant and the vast majority of reviews have rated it as the best currently available. I especially like the high screen resolution and the enormous capacity to store ebooks as the 4 GB of built-in memory can be expanded with up to a 32 GB Micro SD card. Kobo also has the option to download an app for my devices and social reading features from either the the e-reader or iPad app.
Calibre is open source and allows you to manage ebook collections as well as to create, edit, and read ebooks. I have under-utilised it for some years on a number of my computers. It supports an incredibly wide variety of formats and synchs with e-readers easily. This software has the ability to convert the many different e-book formats to the one you desire. It works well with my new Kobo Aura HD.
Anyone who is concerned that they will not be able to access their Amazon purchases via a new e-reader, like the Kobo, or that they could lose all their books, should read this. It is possible to remove the DRM from ebooks you have purchased very easily with a plugin for Calibre.
My move away from Amazon would not be happening if their customer service was more forthcoming and platitudes were backed with action, or least some explanation why they cannot assist. Kobo does not have the same excellent social reading features that Amazon once had (that no longer work) but the Aura HD provides a superb reading experience and in combination with Calibre, provides much needed flexibility for this reader into the future.
How are you managing your electronic books?
Featured image: creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by John.M.Unsworth: http://flickr.com/photos/44937957@N05/4129561621