I have been on the lookout for a dedicated color ebook device all year. When I came across the Literati on Overstock, I thought my search could be over. They only had the black model available, which I thought looked much better than the white Literati. I paid $149.99 and only one dollar for shipping.
The device arrived in a very large box, much larger than was needed. This theme carried through to the retail package, which was the size of a family Bible. Inside the reader was sealed in an almost-impossible-to-open blister pack. After fighting to get the reader and other contents out I wished I had saved my time. Aesthetically the reader is rather homely looking. It is too long and narrow with the keyboard taking up at least 25 per cent of the space. In spite of the size the screen seems really small. I was also disappointed by the plastic casing. It felt really cheap and I doubt if it could withstand a good drop. The back of the reader was really scuffed, probably due to the way it was packed. The included cover had better protective packing than the reader. A quick start guide was included with the Literati. In order to get a full user manual I had to download it online.
Before I get into the problems I experienced, I want to at least say something nice about the Literati. The screen was nice and bright, almost reminiscent of my REB1200. That’s it.
My home network has a numeric password so input was a pain on the Literati. In order to type numbers you have to hold down (and keep holding) the Alt key. The keyboard number placement makes it difficult to tell if the key to the right or the left was correct. After a few tries, I finally got my password in correctly. According to the quick start guide I should have gotten a message to update the firmware once I connected to WiFi. That didn’t happen.
Moments later I discovered that the page turn “buttons” would not work. That’s when I called the tech support number. I expected to get Merchsource (the company who licensed the Sharper Image brand), but I got Kobobooks. The guy knew no more than I did. Why is Kobo providing tech support for a device that they don’t make?
Fed up, I decided that this reader had to go back to the store. In preparation I reset the device back to factory default. When I checked to make sure that the reset had worked, the page buttons started working. I got my hopes up and reconnected to my network and this time the update notice popped up. I got more excited thinking that maybe there was some hope for this reader.
All hopes died once I started reading. I found that there were only two font choices, and not much better choice in font size. The already small screen loses valuable real estate because the margins are just too big. There is no option to change it.
Following the instructions in the manual I added my epub books onto my SD card. I could not get one to open. I also loaded books via Calibre and while that did go smoothly, the Literati would not open any of the files.
I went to Literati’s Facebook page and posted my issues, and got the following response a day or so later:
“Ellen, we are releasing two firmware updates within the next couple of days. The updates will automatically be pushed to your Literati when you connect to a wireless network. If you still experience a problem, please contact support at 1-866-204-4714.”
Nice to get a response, but it didn’t really answer my question. So quickly I boxed my Literati up and sent it back to Overstock. On my way home I stopped by Kohl’s and noticed that they carry the reader in white. The white model looks and feels much more solid than my black one. I also noticed on the demo that the margins looked better, but not enough to tempt me to ever buy this reader again.
So my search for a dedicated color reader continues.