Well, it’s been a little while since I got my kobo mini eReader, and I’ve spent a fair amount of time either reading or trying to organise its contents. Having shelves is useful but I’ve discovered that there are definite failings, though I’m not sure that they’re unique to the kobo.
I like to have the best metadata (information about the ebook) possible, and the nicest covers I can find, for all the ebooks I’ve got. Neither the kobo desktop app nor Adobe Digital Editions allow the metadata to be altered from within them, any more than the eReader does. As a consequence, I’ve been using Calibre to perform the task, and also to keep a track of my full library. It’s a very useful tool for such activities as updating metadata, converting formats and maintaining a database of contents, including moving books to and from the kobo. Unfortunately, problems are thrown up very early on!
First, and perhaps the most frustrating, is that when you obtain an ebook through the kobo store, adding it to your library but not actually downloading it, a “virtual book” record is created on the eReader. This shows up in Calibre as being a book but is in reality just a pointer – you can’t save the book to your Calibre library or to disk! The first ebook I opted to read on the kobo was The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, which I added to my library on the kobo site. All was well, until I discovered that I didn’t actually have the ebook – just that pointer. Naturally, I downloaded it then, from the kobo store. The metadata was very poor and the cover was transformed into something of no interest. Naturally, I updated the data in Calibre, though I first had to copy the ebook to disk and add it to my Calibre-kobo library. To get the information back onto the kobo, I then had to copy it back to the mini, which left me with two copies! Deleting the original, uninformative version was the obvious thing to do – until I ran the Synch process – which proceeded to reinstate the version on the kobo store. I had to delete it from “My Library” at the store to avoid duplication on the eReader. What’s more, I lost annotations and bookmarks in the process. Updating metadata leaves much to be desired!
Next, there’s an issue with the way ebooks are rendered. Pages don’t flow properly. I constantly encounter situations where large areas of the screen are empty – with fragments of text which are completed on moving forward in the ebook. Also, bookmarks don’t work! Periodically, a muddled piece of text is displayed, where a page number collides with a word, at the right edge of the screen. Putting the eReader to sleep, or powering off, causes a complication in that the automatic bookmark, which is supposed to remember where you got to, restores you to an earlier position in the ebook because the page numbers don’t equate to the number of actual screen pages you’ve read. This has happened in both PDF and ePub versions. I don’t know whether it’s a question of the kobo getting it wrong, or the publisher/author!
None of these problems are truly critical, but they are niggles which cause some annoyance. Interestingly, the pagination/bookmarking worked perfectly for the Sherlock Holmes ebook when it was just a virtual book! It was only after I switched to a genuine copy of it that the pagination/bookmarking errors started. It’s not a good advertisement for ebooks. I’ve also discovered a problem with the Facebook connectivity function – which may be a consequence of using different email addresses for my Facebook and my kobo accounts – I’m still investigating that.
I hope that these problems can be addressed and solutions found.