Kobo vs Kindle: Which e-reader to buy?

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When buying an e-reader, most people consider a Kobo or a Kindle.

Here are some factors I looked at before deciding which one to buy.

Library Size

There is no point in buying an e-reader if you don't have a decently sized collection of books to choose from.

Both e-readers have access to an online store with lots of e-books. However, The number of books available in the Kindle store is slightly larger than the Kobo store.

One of the significant differences is that the Kindles are locked to the Amazon store and only support the AZW format. In contrast, the Kobo natively supports multiple file formats, including PDFs. It is possible to convert and transfer other document formats onto Kindle using Calibre, a third-party software, but it's time-consuming.

Kobo integrates with OverDrive, which allows you to borrow e-books from public libraries. You can borrow books from the e-reader itself. However, this seems to be hit-and-miss for me. The borrowed books automatically get downloaded to Kobo.

Kindle has integration with Overdrive, but it's only available if you are in the USA. Since I am not in the USA, I am unsure how well the integration works.

Kobo also integrates with pocket service, so you can easily read web articles on the e-reader. However, you cannot highlight or add notes to these articles inside the e-reader.

Built-in Light

I like having an inbuilt light on the e-reader as I prefer to read before going to sleep.

Kobos have an adjustable backlight on almost all of their models.

Kindle has edge lighting on some of its models.

Exporting Highlights and Notes

I tend to highlight passages in the books I read and eventually turn them into summaries published at Discoveries in Bookland.

Both Kobo and Kindle allow readers to highlight passages and export notes.

Since highlights made on a Kindle are synced to the cloud, it's pretty easy to export your highlights and notes. There is also integration with other 3rd party services like ReadWise, which makes this process painless.

Although it's easy to highlight and take notes on the Kobo, it's not as easy to export them. I previously wrote about how you can enable a hidden option to export them as a plain text file on Kobo. But you still have to manually download them by connecting the Kobo to a computer.


So which is better? There is no correct answer. I have had both in the past. Choosing the suitable device depends on how you enjoy your books. The Kobo came out on top for me because I am not in the USA and because of the integration with Overdrive and the built-in light.

Which one did you go with?