Kindle vs. Kobo eReader App Review

Being an avid reader, I decided to try out a couple of the eReader Apps for my iPhone; Amazon’s Kindle and Kobo.

I first started with the Kobo app and have to say I was impressed right from the start. Touting 1.8 million free eBooks, the App has so much more to offer. The interface is appealing,  easy to use and best of all, easily allows you to browse and search new books. The home screen (called I’m Reading) is set up so that you can view either in Shelf or List mode. The Discover section is excellent, allowing you to stumble upon books in various featured categories while the Browse section breaks down all the genres for you with a title count. You need a Kobo account to get books (NOT the same as a Chapters account) regardless if they’re free or not.

Reading is an enjoyable experience. You can swipe to turn pages or touch the bottom corners and tap the top-right to bookmark. Tap the middle of the page to get navigation and option controls including a slider to navigate through pages, a return button, a button to return to the I’m Reading section, a Contents button and an Options button. With the latter, you can choose your font size, adjust brightness, enable Night Reading Mode (white text on black), add or remove your bookmark and a button to go into the Settings with more options.

The Kindle App is naturally quite similar with some interface differances and added options to set it apart from Kobo. First, the Home screen simply lists your books and you don’t have the nice Shelf option. Plus, if you want to browse and/or purchase books, it switches over to Safari for you to browse the Kindle store, a feature I wasn’t too crazy about. Once you purchase a book, the web page does give you the option to continue shopping or go back to the app.

Reading in Kindle is very much the same with a few minor differences. You have more font size options but no option to change the font itself like in Kobo’s Settings page. Kindle does have the added text colour option of Sepia which is a nice touch, a search option and Book Extras.

Having tried each extensively, I’d have to give the edge to Kobo. The ability to browse and purchase books within the app makes for a better experience and the visual elements of the Bookshelf and page curls when thumbing through pages are nice, aesthetic touches that I think helps set Kobo apart from Kindle. Whatever your personal preferences in eReaders though, either of these are great and FREE!

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • dh

    The problem with Kobo is that the selection of available books is far smaller than Amazon’s. If they’ve got what you want, great – but for me, they frequently don’t.

  • Jmedora

    Amazon Kindle library >>> Kobo eBook library.
    I did a quick author search and the Kobo gave 1 book, while Amazon gave about 16 book including the most current book released last month.

    Also device wise Kindle > Kobo

  • Richardmayrand

    The Kobo app does not seem to sync across devices (iPad/iPhone) as the Kindle app, WhisperSync is an awesome feature.

  • http://twitter.com/arcangelmd Mousey I.N. Helmet

    It’s good to have both apps as the prices for books can vary wildly between the two. Often Kindle is the winner by a buck, but I’ve had instances where the Kobo book is a fraction of the Kindle price.

  • Jepeters

    I like Kobo for the simple fact that it provides me with yet another source of books for my Sony e-Reader.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dav1d.z David Zhao

    Kindle definitely wins hands down with its far larger library.

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  • Estherbudd

    I live in Canada, and my itunes library is registered here. There is no kobo app available to me in the app store unless I reside in the US and have a US credit card. Is there a workaround for this?

  • Koboisnogo

    Kobo is a nogo in my mind: I bought one in April 2010, it was very very slow and basic but ok with me. In May 2011 the device stops reading pdf files, and then freezes (looks like it is programmed to die after the guarantee expires  ).
    Resets/reboots did not change the situation, the Kobo suddenly became a useless screen. I emailed the manufacturer who mentioned they would send a replacement Kobo… which never arrived months later. Kobo sales services sound extremely unreliable.
    I have ordered a kindle a month ago and it feels awesome using it compared to a kobo.
    If you want to waste 150$, just order a Kobo: It feels like an early 90s device distributed by crooks.

  • Koboisnogo

    Kobo is a nogo in my mind: I bought one in April 2010, it was very very slow and basic but ok with me. In May 2011 the device stops reading pdf files, and then freezes (looks like it is programmed to die after the guarantee expires  ).
    Resets/reboots did not change the situation, the Kobo suddenly became a useless screen. I emailed the manufacturer who mentioned they would send a replacement Kobo… which never arrived months later. Kobo sales services sound extremely unreliable.
    I have ordered a kindle a month ago and it feels awesome using it compared to a kobo.
    If you want to waste 150$, just order a Kobo: It feels like an early 90s device distributed by crooks.

  • Alice George

    I downloaded the Kobo app, and it doesn’t have what you’re mentioning above. There is NO search/browse, anything! What is wrong with mine?