3 free kindle books, Kobo WiFi eReader announced

First, the three free kindle books (two of which were free in August 2009, thanks to Happy Reader Joyce for the update) -

  1. Elvis and the Dearly Departed by Peggy Webb. Rated 4 stars on 9 reviews.

    They say you can’t get to Heaven without passing through the Eternal Rest Funeral Home.

    And no one gets into Eternal Rest without passing muster with Elvis-the basset hound who’s convinced he’s the reincarnation of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Brewing up a big ol’ pitcher of Mississippi mystery, Peggy Webb’s delightful new series is as intoxicating as the Delta breeze.

  2. According to Jane by Marilyn Brant. 4 stars on 60 reviews. 

    In Marilyn Brant’s smart, wildly inventive debut, one woman in search of herself receives advice from the ultimate expert in matters of the heart. . .

    It begins one day in sophomore English class, just as Ellie Barnett’s teacher is assigning Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. From nowhere comes a quiet “tsk” of displeasure. The target: Sam Blaine, the cute bad boy who’s teasing Ellie mercilessly, just as he has since kindergarten. Entirely unbidden, as Jane might say, the author’s ghost has taken up residence in Ellie’s mind, and seems determined to stay there.

  3. Raising Jake by Charlie Carillo. 4.5 stars on 80 reviews.

    Sammy Sullivan, a crusty old rewrite man at a New York City tabloid, and his teenage son embark on a weekend of male bonding in Carillo’s witty, insightful second novel. After rough-edged Sammy is fired and his son, Jake, gets expelled from his elite private school, father and son, who’ve grown apart, decide to spend the weekend revisiting places that hold the key to Sammy’s past and may shed light on Jake’s future.

    Along the way, Sammy confronts painful memories of his religiously obsessive mother and introduces Jake to the boy’s long-estranged grandfather while both try to figure out what’s next.

All 3 of these are very highly rated books with some solid reviews.

Let’s turn to the news of a new Kobo Reader.

Kobo WiFi attempts to take on Kindle WiFi

The arrival of Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi completely destroyed Kobo’s chances in the eReader market. Thankfully, it’s countered with the Kobo 2. Will leave the Kindle WiFi vs Kobo 2 comparison for a later post. The following is just a general discussion of the Kobo’s strengths and weaknesses.

The strengths of the Kobo 2 -

  1. It has WiFi now.  
  2. A choice of 3 colors – black, porcelain with a silver back, porcelain with a lavender back. 
  3. The firmware supposedly works well now. Engadget thinks so and mentions that Kobo 2 has a faster processor. Engadget also includes some photos and the Press Release. 
  4. It’s just 0.4″ thick and weighs just 7.8 grams. That might be a mistake because 7.8 grams is 0.275 ounces. So it’s probably 7.8 ounces.
  5. Priced at $139.
  6. ePub support and hence support for Library books.
  7. SD Card slot.
  8. If you’re a Borders Rewards member you get bonus points or something.
  9. Kobo is making an effort and has an eReader Bill of Rights. Here are a few snippets -

    If the company you’re buying ebooks from got hit by a meteorite tomorrow, what would happen to your library?

    If the device you read on was eaten, burned or broken, can you get your purchased books back?

If either Amazon or B&N gets hit by a meteorite our ebooks would be the least of our concerns.

The drawbacks of the Kobo 2 -

  1. Doesn’t arrive until November 1st.
  2. Kobo Store isn’t as good as Kindle Store.
  3. No physical keyboard. 
  4. The porcelain versions still look awkward with that big blue button.  The black version looks pretty good.
  5. It might not have eInk Pearl. Not sure why Borders hasn’t mentioned eInk Pearl if it’s present - If it isn’t present why release a model without the latest screen technology. 

At this stage a lot of information is missing – What exactly is the extent of PDF support? Is there text to speech? What other features do we have? Will there be a browser?

Overall, it’s a nice attempt by Borders and Kobo to claw their way back into the eReader race but announcing a month early and without revealing details seems a bit weak. It suggests they were doing really badly and were forced to prepone the announcement of the Kobo 2. Also, it gives Amazon and B&N a month to add-on more features and increase the gap between Kindle/Nook and Kobo 2.

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