A Kobo beta tester has posted a new firmware for the Aura One over on MobileRead. He reports, and I can confirm, that this firmware adds the promised support for OverDrive ebooks (as well as other features).
Alas, the firmware only works on Kobo’s two newest ereaders (this has been confirmed by a couple users).
But it does work; I installed it on my loaner Aura One, tied in my OD account, and have gone through all the steps required to borrow an ebook.
Here’s what we know so far.
- There’s no way to browse just your library’s catalog from the Aura One. All you can do is find titles which are in both the OD catalog and Kobo.
- From what I can tell the best way to find a library title is via search because it has an option to filter for titles found in OverDrive (the Kobo Store does not).
- The search results will include ebooks you can borrow, ones you can place on hold, and ebooks which your library doesn’t own.
- An ebook borrowed from the Aura One can be found through one’s account on the OverDrive website and read via OD apps (you can also push a loaned ebook to your Kindle).
- And in case you were wondering, the ebook is served from OverDrive, not Kobo; I found the same ridiculous thank-you blurb when I read this ebook on the OD website.
But since the Aura One is not listed on the Linked Devices page on the OD website, you can’t manage the Aura One from the OD site.
And that’s why borrowing an ebook involved searching, browsing a list, selecting the book, and then on the title’s listing page you have to select the three dot menu to find the borrow option.
And yes, that is a screenshot form the Aura One; the screens can’t show color but the software doesn’t know that so it continues to process color images in color.
O O O
When I first reported on the Aura One, I said that easy library ebook access could tempt me to switch from paper to digital library books. That might still happen, but as it stands Kobo isn’t there yet.
All in all, I found trying to read a library ebook on the Aura One to be a frustrating experience.
This is not even close to the “one-touch OverDrive library lending access” promised in the press release, nor is it more convenient than reading a library ebook on a Kindle.
In fact, I played around with the OverDrive site while working on this post, and I really think that it is easier to borrow an ebook from the site and push it to either a Kindle or a Kindle app.
That was easy; Kobo’s method is a hassle.
And until they streamline the process, getting library ebooks on to the Aura One will be about as pleasant as with any other ereader.
So if you don’t have an Aura One, or live outside the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia (Overdrive+Kobo integration is geographically limited), you’re not missing too much.