Kobo is by no means my favorite ebook retailer, but the recent troubles with the Nook Store has given me a greater appreciation.
A few days ago I reported on the sad state of the B&N’s ebook operation now that they’ve upgraded their website. The ebook pages were inaccessible (and now I can’t even log in).
The general nonfunctional state of the Nook section of the B&N website is making us wonder whether B&N really cares about ebooks any more, and that inspired one reader to ask me for a recommendation for an alternate ebookstore.
Other than the negative recommendation that you not rely on the Nook Store, I couldn’t give one at the time. Most of the ebooks I buy are DRM-free, and the few DRMed ebooks I have bought over the past year have been limited to ones I would not mind losing (mostly).
For the longest time now I’ve had trouble stripping Kindle and Adobe DRM from ebooks, so I’ve simply been avoiding them and thus can’t recommend one bookstore over another.
Edit: Actually, I can rescue my Kindle ebooks. A reader prodded me into trying. The process is working for me again. I can’t tell you why it stopped working or started again; DRM is like that. Thanks, Mike!
Since I can’t rescue my ebooks, I think all the major ebookstores are equally bad, but it occurred to me today that I had overlooked a good reason to like Kobo.
Kobo uses Adobe DRM on the ebooks they let you download and transfer elsewhere, but they also use their own DRM internally. The ebooks inside Kobo’s apps and ereaders use Kobo’s DRM, not Adobe’s.
That DRM has been broken, and there is a calibre plugin that will automatically retrieve any ebooks in Kobo’s PC app, strip the DRM, and convert the ebooks to Epub or Kindle formats.
I just tested it this afternoon, and the plugin works, which is great news for readers.
DRM may be a grey cloud hanging over readers, but thanks to Kobo’s understandable interest in cutting cost, we have a silver lining in the form of an easy to use way to sidestep the DRM.
And for that reason, I can now recommend Kobo as my preferred ebook retailer.
Kobo’s prices have generally averaged higher for me, but that is a price I am willing to pay for to be secure in the knowledge that I can easily remove the DRM.
How much is it worth to you?