THE KOBO EREADER

Every eReader we’ve seen has some advantage over the last one we tried. The new Kobo eReader, for example, comes with 100 books in its memory and is small enough to fit in a jacket pocket or purse. It’s white and looks a lot like a small Kindle, a classier look than the similar Aluratek we reviewed recently. At $140 at barnesandnoble.com, (previously Borders.com), it’s the same price as the WiFi-only version of the Kindle, but the 100 free books are a nice benefit. The books are a liberal education for anyone who has yet to be introduced to the world’s great literature.

Kobo E-Reader

The Kobo’s battery life is great: You can turn and churn through 10,000 pages before needing a recharge. It has the easy-on-your eyes “e-ink” technology, unlike the new Barnes and Noble Nook. Add a four gigabyte memory card to store 400 more books past the initial 100. You can also check out library books in the “epub” or PDF format. Read all about it (as they used to say) at Kobo.com.

The only major downside we saw was the absence of a physical keyboard. We prefer the Kindle’s tiny buttons for each letter of the alphabet; this makes it easier to search for new titles. But you can always use your computer to search and then transfer them by cable.

You don’t have to buy the Kobo reader to use its free software. There’s a Kobo app for reading ebooks on a computer, smartphone or tablet. Five free classics are included with the app. The Kobo app for iPad or iPhone syncs with the “Instapaper” app to let you start reading an article online and finish it offline as a virtual Kobo book. The Kobo app also includes “My Reading Life,” an app that makes it easy to share book passages on Facebook, win badges for reading, keep track of how much you’ve read and so on.

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