Review: Sharper Image Literati

Review: Sharper Image Literati Reviews I got a Literati about a week ago, and I was 1 of 4 blogs to get it. I'm sitting here right now, watching it fail to load my personal ebooks, and I've decided that I've used enough to give my opinion.


At the very least wait for a firmware update. I have a number of complaints with the Literati, and I'll take them one by one. But first I'll give you a summary of its abilities.


  • HTG, I can't think of any


  • poor formatting
  • no annotation options
  • slow to load ebooks
  • buggy & unstable
  • page turn buttons are iffy

The Literati is a Kindle clone that doesn't bother to make use of its keyboard. It has a 7" LCD screen, Wifi, and supports the Kobo ebookstore.  The library is pretty much identical to the Kobo PC app, so I'll skip it here and jump straight to the reading abilities.

The Literati has no annotation options (not even bookmarks). This really bugs me. Why put a keyboard on a device if you don't plan to use it? You have 5 font size, 2 font choices, and you can adjust the brightness (seven settings). There is a dictionary, but you can't select a word on the screen (you have to type it in).

I also don't like the joystick, but there are so many other problems that I'll skip this one.

Page Turns

I'm covering this irritation first because even if you disagree with my other complaints, this one will give you pause. The Literati doesn't have page turn buttons. Instead it has spots on the case that are touch sensitive. I hate it. You can't tap and turn the page; only swipes work. The swipe sensor is also incredibly sensitive. I keep having trouble with it flipping forward, and then back to the page I just read. I also have trouble with it not recognizing a swipe, which irritates me to no end.

I can't load my own ebooks

I took one of my SD cards with my standard Epub library (about 600 titles) and stuck it in the Literati. It can't find the ebooks. In fact, it can't find any ebooks (not even the Kobo ones already on it). I tried a second time with a SD card that had only a dozen titles; the same thing happened.

I've never actually had an ereader fail to load ebooks before. I've sometimes had to reboot, but in the end the books were loaded. This is a pass fail for me.

Kobo formatting sucks

Until I started using the Literati, I didn't realize that Kobo ebooks had such limited formatting. I've downloaded a dozen freebies, and they are all the same. There's space between paragraphs and no indents. I hate it. If you appreciate a well designed ebook then you will hate it too. I'm also annoyed by the large margins, but that's really just a minor problem given the rest of the formatting issues.

The Kobo editions are also significantly less pretty than their counterparts. I have several commercial titles in both Kobo and another format. The Kobo edition always lacks the subtle refinements found in other editions. Heck, Kobo ebooks are actually less pretty than Kindle ebooks, and that's saying something.

And I just noticed that on a couple of ebooks, the Kobo edition doesn't even have the full TOC. WTF is Kobo doing different from everyone else? It makes no sense.

Here are a couple of photos that show the relative formatting. The same title is on both ereaders. BTW, I'm showing 2 photos because the first shows a section break that the Kobo edition doesn't have.

Review: Sharper Image Literati Reviews Review: Sharper Image Literati Reviews (click  = big)

Update: Mike Cane pointed out that it's not fair to compare the different font size. Well, those are the font sizes I find comfortable on each ereader. Yes, the font is larger on the Literati, but it's the fault of the Literati. I think the font is bigger because I hold it further away.

I just crashed the Literati again

I tried to bring up the TOC and the Literati rebooted. That's not the only bug. It also takes a long time to load an ebook every time I open it. This isn't just the first time; it's slow every time I open an ebook. The Literati isn't recognized as a USB drive. This actually isn't a big deal; I'm sure it will be fixed. But it's irritating nonetheless.


The Literati costs $159, and the K3  Wifi costs $139. I don't see any reason to get the Literati over the Kindle.

About Nate Hoffelder (9903 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

78 Comments on Review: Sharper Image Literati

  1. >>>WTF is Kobo doing different from everyone else? It makes no sense.

    They have their own system. Books reside in an SQLite database. That also accounts for the book opening/loading time (a quote is usually used to distract people from this on the Kobo Reader itself). Bit unfair, that second picture, showing a far larger face size than the K!

  2. Isn’t the point of the Literati that it is an 800x 600 colour screen? So, what’s the colour like? How’s the battery length since, I presume, this is not e-ink? Does it have landscape mode for comics or using the SD card a viewer for camera pics?

    • Yes it does have landscpe view, I personally think the color is good and the batterie length is pretty good, mine last a full day.

    • I could only read my Literati for about 3 hours, then no battery. After 1 year of use, which I enjoyed, my Literati is dead. Totally and completely dead. Battery won’t charge, and Literati won’t even turn on with the cord.

      Not to mention, Literati users are limited to Kobo books, which isn’t bad in itself — the prices are the same as Kindle books. Unfortunately, I have some Kindle books on my computer, and can’t put them on my e-reader.

      Guess I got what I paid for, since I had never had an e-reader before and was itching to try one out, but I should have paid more and got a Kindle.

      • well I think I payed too much for mine,because Kindle is cheper then the Literati it was $ 199.00 at Kohl’s and the Kindle in the store was about $ 100.00 so I am mad right now.

  3. I bought the literati. I cannot get on the the bookstore using wi-fi. I called the number on the guide it connected me to kobo books. they were no help. The literati might look good but it may be better to invest in the nook or kindle!

  4. About a week ago i received a literati as a gift. I have used it a few times since then and now all of the sudden it won’t turn on. I cannot find any help for this problem.

    • It sounds like it’s broken. Try to find a way to return it.

    • I bought a Literati at a good price PLUS a $30 rebate. I, also, used it for only a few days & it crashed on me – can’t start it up! I called the technical support & they will be sending me a new one. If I’m not pleased (after reading all the negative reviews), it will be going back! Wish me good luck!

      • I have the Literati too.. and it just died, after 8 months of having all kinds of trouble I can’t do anything now it just crashed. I called the # on the papers and it is no longer in service,then I got another # that is a mortage comp. so where would you send it back to..I got it a kohl’s for $ 199.00 I would like my money back or another one.

    • hey guys let me chime in here…I have only owned the Literatti since DEC.I bought it on ShopNBC so I could get the value pay,at first it took some some getting use too but was able to work it .I don’t read everyday so last night I go to turn it on Nothing…reset the back Nothing,it was charged for over 14 hrs.Nothing. I call ShopNBC they say nothing they can do as the 30 days has now lapsed and no returns,they check on the warranty through Litterati and get this there isn’t one. not even 3 months NONE. I am now stuck with the piece of garbage and still have 3 flexpays will not be paid off till May and its broke.terrible and I will be sure to tell anyone DON’T BUY IT.

      • Margaret Martin // 4 March, 2011 at 9:43 am // Reply

        I couldn’t agree more! I received a Literati {black model} as a gift. It worked okay for a short time, then I tried buying a book! and it failed to download!! I sent four e mails and made one lenghy phone call and I’m still waiting for a reply! Several very knowledgable frinds tried to help to no avail! nowI’m stuck with what I can only call an expensive piece of garbage!!! DON”T BUY IT !!!!

      • You simply need to call 1-866-204-4714. Press 1 for english then 2 for your literati. they WILL send you a label and you can return it. (this info was provided in the paperwork with your device.)

      • Got my Literati for Christmas worked fine until today > Called Literati up they helped me get it back up and running .. and offered to replace no questions asked if it didn’t work , happy it does … Did you call Literati up? 1-800-374-2744. These were the issues wouldn’t turn on/Fix-hold the reset button for 10 seconds then plug in the power cord. works. 2nd issue couldn’t get the USB to work on the computer/Fix- turn on go to I’m reading then plug in the USB . if not press the reset on back and do it again does work ….

    • I had that problem, happens if you over charge it, mine fixed as soon as I used the reset in the back.

    • My Literati did the same thing and after numerous calls to the company I was told to return it ( they paid) to get a new one. The battery was corrupt or something like that. You can return it to the store you bought it at, or send it back. Mine has been down for almost a month now waiting!

    • I know it sounds obvious… but try plugging in the charger and waiting for a bit then (leaving it plugged it) see if it turns on. If the battery is to low – it won’t come on at all… or some crazy lines come up and it turns off instantly (mine did). As soon as I charged it – all was well. Hope that helps.

    • It needs frequent charging

  5. Just exchanged the literati I purchased on black friday and now I will be returning the replacement. What a piece of junk!!! Will not recognize wi-fi, will not recognize it is connected to my computer! I purchased one book from kobo and my bank charged me to exchange to canadian money???? Ok I do not understand that!!! I think I shall stick to reading BOOKS!!

    • Convert to CAD? Seriously?!?

      That’s a new one.

    • I agree 100% that the Liberati is junk. I tried and 3 other people tried to connect to Wi-Fi so I called the tech or should I say not our fault techs and of course they blamed it on 3 difference Wi-Fi. You heard of receiving coal in your socking if you are bad while I received a Literati in my stocking so I must of been very bad

  6. Good Lord People, DO NOT BUY HIS PIECE OF YOUR KNOW WHAT! Kust received this today as a birthday gift and as soon as I took it out the box it began to flash. Perhaps I accidentally hit the power button but it just continues to blink nonstop with a splash screen. Manuals blow and quick start is also useless. Wow what a disappointment, the person who bought feels even worse cause they can’t get it to work either. STAY AWAY, BE WARNED PIECE OF JUNK! SHARPER IMAGE YOU SUCK, Let the real ereader builders make these thing…you just stay out of the way.

  7. Wow, I am absolutely floored by this device. It is a total waste of money. I read somewhere about a blinking issue figured it was nothing, got mine and gues what…a feaken blinking issue. I used the reset button and that does nothing. I tried holding down all kinds of buttons and letters to see if I can try that with reset btn and still nothing. My screen just continues to blink with the words literati… Its going back tomorrow to BestBuy. For those of you thinking about buying this; it may look nice and be affordable but appearance is all it has. People don’t waste your time or money, those saying otherwise must be plants by marketing to sell this item. It is full of bugs and useless to me; I’ll spend $80 more and get a Nook.

  8. If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, don’t buy the Literati. Despite what the user manual says, you CAN NOT use the Kobo desktop app to purchase books.
    Kobo told me that yesterday when I phoned Kobo support,( as i was unable to successfully download/install the Kobo desktop app, from Desktop app will be available “sometime in the future” the support tech said, but he was very kind in letting me know that the Kobo ereader, can use the Kobo desktop app.

    • Kobo desktop is already available.

    • I can’t get kobo to answer their phone. I order a book & was charge twice for it. this was due to my e-reader saying something was wrong when I as trying to download. I got a person after about one hr. just holding on. Than they said they will get some to check this out. and e-mail this has been 6 days. It seem I can only buy books from them with my the sharper Image. I guess i am stuck. JUNK

  9. It has been “processing” new content for hours now, how do I fix it? It is frozen or something?

    • When it happened to me, it was becuase the Literati wasn’t processing the the new content, and this was supposed to be fixed in an update. It sounds like they still haven’t released a firmware update yet.

  10. A peice of sh_t. Don’t but it. I could never get on te wi fi or connect by computer. Whats the usb cable for once you download the driver it just another device that wont do anything and the only thing that shows up on the screen that tells you to remove your hardware saftly by unpluging the item from the computer before removing the usb cable from th literati you can’t get into the book.

  11. Maybe all of you should try downloading the instruction manual??? Every one of your complaints on here can be solved by reading this simple and easy to understand manual.

    I got one yesterday, downloaded the manual, followed the instructions, and am reading my ebooks transfered from my laptop, the ebooks that came with it, and even some of the free ones they offer through their store. And the Kobo desktop is downloaded to my computer, which also has the safe unplug for the usb on it for your reader.

    The dictionary is fantastic. Used it to play Scrabble with the family tonight.

    Most important thing is follow the first instruction of charging at least six hours before attempting to do anything with it. Just like a cell phone, shouldn’t use it until fully charged.

    • I have to disagree with your posting. While I am happy that you are enjoying your literati, I am wondering if you work for the company……..

      because I have downloaded the manual, done everything it says to do…….

      but the darn thing crashes, won’t recognize books that don’t come from Kobo. The Kobo site is very difficult to browse. And I have yet to get a live person at customer service.

      UGH. Unless you work for the company, do not invest in this product. Literally, I have spent as much time trying to make it work as reading on it.

  12. I just got this device yesterday for Christmas, charged it fully, read all the instructions, and am quite disappointed, mostly by the fact that it is very slow to turn on and go through the menu selections in the Kobo bookstore. I also am not happy by the fact that the Kobo bookstore does not offer its customers a way of previewing the books they are buying with any user reviews or book text before they buy them like the Amazon Kindle website does. I don’t want to spend $12.00 on a book when I have no idea if I will like it. Using the free Kobo and Kindle PC apps on my netbook solves the speed problem, so I think I will return this and buy Kindle books, where I can preview the books for free before I buy them.

  13. Updated the firmware date Dec. 10th which helped but it still crashes a lot so keep a paperclip handy. Thinking I may return this to Best buy if then don’t fix the constant crashes with another update.

    • If you have constant crashes then I’d return it now. The frustration isn’t worth it.

    • I tried to fix it with a stupid safety pin, and I’m only fourteen…not the smartest person on the block 😛 and so yeah… :'( i’m scared to tell my parents, and see if they can fix it….i just am so confused because..well i was turning it on and off because it kept crashing, and does it cost anything to get it refunded and maybe fixed and where can you go besides Besy Buy??? Please Help, Thanks :’)


  14. this peice of garbage is a total waste of money. it has a 3 hour battery life , wont recognize documents , wont sync, and NO tech support except for the wifi. I gurantee the battery will go dead before you get a book older than the preloaded huck fin on it.

  15. I bought a Literati last weekend. I fully charged it, used my wifi and browsed through the book store and purchased a few books. I have read a bit of each and all have been bookarked for me. I goes right to the correct page each time. It is a bit slow but all in all, without having tried its counterparts, I like it.

    • yeah same here. myy grandpa hasn’t given me an account yet, but when i get one…i’m gonna get some books too 🙂 I love it, and it awesome, but mine already broke. I hate the Literati’s have to have a stupid paper clip ONLY!!!
      I broke mine with a safety pin, and trying to find the button…it moved the components to the screen around i guess on the inside :'( and now its glitching bad 😛 My grandpa just bbought it for me…i’m scared to tell him about it, and i just got it two days ago :'((( Help??? What should I do???

  16. I bought this device at Best Buy Miami last moth. It doesn’t connect to pc via USB (I tried in a XP and Vista laptop). I could also not access PDF files stored on an SD card.

    The manual says that I can use “drag and drop,” Adobe digital editions, or Calibre to load files onto the Literati, but none of these methods seem to work. The device doesn’t seem to recognize the existence of any files.

    I connect Kobo library via wifi. It seems the only way.

    I sent a message via Sharper Image’s web for that product 3 weeks ago and nobody answer us !

    I am very disappointed with the device and with political customer of Sharper Image.

    • You won’t here anything from Sharper Image there just letting this crap happen they know they would have to refund everyone of these out there and there just hiding there heads in the sand..I am on disability and cannot afford this kind of blatant disconcern, I am sick about this still owe 3 more months of 19.95 to ShopNBC and they just say I understand your frustration.but they won’t help me either they just want there money..

  17. Sharper Image should be ashamed at releasing this non-working totally bogus, deceptive piece of JUNK!!!!

  18. Received this as a Christmas gift. Turned it on once, only ONCE, and at the next startup it would only flash the Literati logo again and again. Screen would only cease blinking when I held in the miniscule paperclip hole in the back (reset button). Did not stop flashing even by holding in the power button. Had to wait for the battery to drain and then charged it again, but COME ON. I don’t want to have to tweak a new device endlessly before it begins to work. Customer service was no help. Will be sending it back asap for a refund.

  19. For $49 – It is a steal.

    But you have to have some tech savy folks…

    First – immediately after charging it over night – restore it to factory setting.

    Then get it on your WiFi. This requires manual entry of your WiFi security codes.

    Do the two updates, which happens automatically -if not start again with the restore to factory setting. You’ll have to reconnect to your wifi as above during this process.

    Then the thing runs just fine.

    PDF files can be landscape or portrait, an option in ‘display’ when accessing PDFs.

    Works great.

    I would rather have an iPad, but $699 or $49 to read some books and work PDFs.

    At $49 it is a steal…

    • ya, well what happens to people like me whos machine won’t even power on??? this thing is ready for the boneyard and has only been 3 MO.
      theres no putting updates on it.

  20. I purchased a Liberati from Kohl’s pre-Christmas. After sale, coupons, $30 MIRebate, and Kohl’s cash, the thing ended up costing about $39. It was a “little” buggy before the latest firmware update. I’ve downloaded a few books from Kobo including many of the freebies, AND I’ve converted a Kindle book purchased from Amazon to a format that Liberati can read (took 2 minutes) …downloaded and enjoyed reading half of the 129 page book already.

    This is my first experience with any ereader. I’m fairly technically competent. I’ve found pages flip in approx. 0.3 seconds and few crashes. I do wish we could add more bookmarks manually (and label them), but maybe that will be in a future firmware?

    Battery life has been about 5-7 hours depending on screen brightness (?) and usage (continuous vs. intermittent). The touch sensitive F/R buttons along either side work great for me.

    I don’t have anything to compare this against, but readibility seems fine. My eyes aren’t tired even after several hours of reading. For $39, I’m not complaining!!! I had to buy 2 to qualify for the rebate, so have an extra to gift to a friend.

    J. Bond 007 (N. California)

    • becareful my friend,may be on today but tomorrow will be crashed like everyone some point it will happen. Get out now if you still can or be stuck with a 139.00 device thats just dead.

  21. nothing to compare it to, $32.xx out of pocket, and I love it!

    I consider myself tech savvy, did not download a manual had 0 problems so far. I’ve had it a week, i purchased a book, with a coupon from kobo through the literati itself, the purchasing was a little annoying I will say that, and that is because I don’t care for the directional pad, it seems to stick a little, but I’m in love with it and glad I made the purchase. If you can get this for $50 or less, and haven’t played on any other ereader’s then you probably will love it just as much as me. plus it’s color! helloooo the nook color is going for $200 plus, I dont care much about the rest, I do wish there were more newspaper options, at least the NY daily news, I don’t care for the Times, and it’s very pricey.

    Don’t forget when you do buy your books to look for a coupon first! My first book went from $8.xx to $5.65 🙂 I used the code firstbook just do a google search for kobo coupons and check till you find one that works 🙂

    • wow I got this for Christmas and really liked it. It seemed to be working just fine, and then one day it just shut off and won’t turn on no matter what I do. Ive tried reset and called customer service but that didn’t help either.

    • those coupons you have Kobo books are not going to be worth the paper there written on when this device freezes up and theres no tech person to go to to fix it..The Nook $ 200.00 well all I can say is you pay for what you get.. I wish I had doles out an extra 60.00 and got a reader that a company would back unlike this one.its a mess and yours is bound to freeze too.don’t be to over confident. sorry but true.

  22. How do you hook up to the WI-FI with this thing ! Mine will not connect!

  23. Jenn Loves to Read // 19 January, 2011 at 12:16 pm // Reply

    I LOVE my Literati… It has worked perfectly I have downloaded several books via Wi-Fi from the Kobo store and have had not trouble. I have also downloaded one while USB ported to the computer. I love that I can read at night without a lamp. My boss also bought one for his wife and she likes it and he has ordered one for his elderly mother (who borrowed his wifes and loved using it). I did have trouble one day getting it to turn on but it just needed to be charged because I use it all the time. I even read in the tub now put it in a plastic zip lock bag and I’m good to go. I did use white out to mark the page turning sensors on the sides since I can’t see them at night. Other than that I have no real complaints. Thank you Sharper Image for making an ereader that is easy to use and is affordable.

    • Hah EASY..maybe for you but do some research and you will see theres alot more people having issues than just the few who at the moment… are not.
      I hope yours and your boss and whoever elses keeps working but don’t be surprised when you go to turn it on one day and its dead.and know one wants to step up to help you then you may change your tune about Sharper Image and this reader.I hope its not the case just keep an eye on it thats all.

    • This message has, “I work for the company,” written ALL over it!

  24. I’m on my 3rd Literati in less than a month. The first one wouldn’t even turn on. The 2nd one lasted 2 weeks before it stopped coming on at all. It will NOT hook up to my PC, but if I attach it to my Mac, I can load books just fine. The battery life is NOT what they say. We use it for homeschooling, books from the library, as well as pleasure reading. I’ve found it VERY irritating that I have 70 books and have to thumb through most of them to get to the book that I want.

    So I’m looking at returning my Literati and purchasing a different eReader. Leaning towards the Nook, but scared it’s going to be as difficult as this one is. Any thoughts? Would the Nook be a better option?

    • any ideas where I can return mine too as SHOPNBC won’t take it back and theres no warranty through Sharper Image? what does someone like me do?

  25. I do not get the very negative comments. I don’t have a lot of comparison material, but my Literati worked, out of the box, and the new firmware (Version 2.0, dated Jan 19, 2011) now has annotations. It’s fairly compact, manageable, and you can extend the battery life by turning off WiFi when you don’t need it. So what’s wrong with it. Since it is non-proprietary, and supports EPUB/Adobe DRM, you can later port all of your books to another device if you must.
    Some of the navigational features leave to be desired.

    • hmm lets see maybe the Neg Comments come from the fact that this ereader is a piece of junk.and that no one will step up from Sharper Image and even put a warranty on it, not even a month they obviously knew it would break fast .try having to be on a flex pay with this product that has frozen,dead .no reset will help and no dwn load of the latest firmware is going to help. will see how long yours last? keep us posted won’t you?and good luck,I think you’ll need it.

  26. Well, I purchased 2 Sharp Literati the black model from MACY*s for $40.00 this xmas for my niece & nephew and the Literati is working just fine. I wanted a eReader without any internet access, so they would have to read at least one book a month. For school age children the Sharps Literati is all they need. Now, my Literati is color, with bookmarks, store with over 125 Free Classics. But, if you are looking for an eReader that does more than just reading ‘a book’; then buy the iPad or the Samsung Galaxy. And, I’ll bet you not one child will ever read one complete in a week; let alone a month, because now they can browse the internet, listen to music, play games, watch a video or movie, and / or listen to the audio version of the book. Do
    Everything Else but read ‘A Classic’. That’s why our children today can’t read and write well. And, by the way I don’t care what you may think of my grammar…… I’ve got my degree.

    • hmm, actually I was looking for an Ereader that was just a has nothing to do with surfing the net Ect.. this product is going to Freeze its a matter of time.. at least you will be out only $49.00 unlike some of us whos out a bit more than that. and the worse part no one takes responsibilty for it.. so you tell me?

  27. I just purchased the literati a few weeks ago because I just wanted a basic ereader… nothing fancy. At first it worked great so I threw awa the box and receipt. Now the screen lighs up but nothing appears. I called the toll free number and they are sending me out a prepaid label to return it and they say they will send me another one. It worked great up until now 🙁 but. Customer service so far has been great.

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