back to article Asda knocks out Kobo e-reader for £49

Asda has knocked the basic Kobo e-reader to just under 50 quid. Usually £67, it's now £49, though you can add £2.95 to that if you want it delivered, more if you want it delivered quickly. Kobo WiFi ebook reader Or you can pick it up from your local Asda supermarket. The Walmart-owned chain didn't say how many of the low- …


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  1. alain williams Silver badge

    Is it hackable ?

    See title

    1. Bakunin

      Re: Is it hackable ?

      My thoughts exactly.

      I've been after something like this for the kitchen table. Get my server to scrape the RSS feeds of news sites overnight, then reformat the content into a basic HTML or ePub format. Rsync to the device with a single button push when picked up in the morning.

      A return to reading the news with my breakfast in the morning (plus it looks like marmalade wont cause it any real harm)

      1. Tom Chiverton 1

        Re: Is it hackable ?

        Push your content to a single long HTML page, and use the Kobo's web browser to pick it up as you leave.

      2. BorkedAgain
        Thumb Up

        Re: Is it hackable ?

        Download Calibre ( and set up your RSS feeds there. No need to hack; take you about fifteen minutes with a following wind, and it'll handle your file format conversions as well. Job's a good 'un.

        1. thomaskwscott

          Re: Is it hackable ?

          Depends how far you want to go! I have the Kobo touch which as far as i know is the same hardware underneath. It's basic Linux underneath with a lot of dev tools left on. A quick google will give you instructions for installing a hacked update that contains telnet and ftp servers. Busybox is installed by default and i highly recommend downloading headless Java for ARM. This last weekend i wrote a quick library for writing images to the screen and have made inroads into getting touchscreen input working.

          Its rare these days to find a device so open (whether intentionally or unintentionally). I love mine and am just getting started.

  2. Tom Chiverton 1
    Thumb Up

    I got the wife one of these for Xmas and they love it !

    As well as the on-device store, it shows as a USB disk on Linux for loading DRM free books, and their engineers even unofficially support their main library/store application on Linux too !

    1. Bassey

      Re: wife one of these for Xmas and they love it !

      They? How many wives do you have?


        Re: wife one of these for Xmas and they love it !

        Clearly one wife: "I got THE wife one"

        However, obviously she's a siamese twin: "they love it".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "I got the wife one of these for Xmas and they love it !"

      Are you Mitt Romney posting under an alias?

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      In my case it is junior & grandma

      Wife got a kindle and frankly she is clocking about 5% of the time junior (age 10) and grandma (age 67) are clocking on their Kobos. I cannot keep up uploading books. So the device passes the kid and the grandparent test.

      I can second that Kobo store works fine under linux. I bought junior some "monster candy" at the airport to keep him occupied on a 3 hour flight (the Eldest omnibus to be more exact) and it showed up on the reader straight away exactly as it would have showed up on a kindle. My only complaint so far is that Cyrillic font titles are sometimes not rendered correctly (probably missing fonts).

    4. Richard Cartledge

      "I got the wife one of these for Xmas and they love it !"

      Crikey! How many wives have you got?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no, you can NOT pick it up in store

    it wasn't possible when they made headlines before Christmas, and actually never delivered them to the stores ever since, at least those few I had a (...) privilege to visit, in central-ish London.

    Since then, it's never surfaced to my local Asda (but they, they got a cardboard POS for it delivered once, and gentle enquiries suggest it MIGHT be possible to order online and collect in-store, but then, as the bleary-eyed customer service kids indicated, through the manner of conveying this message, I shouldn't bank on it and stop bothering me with those pesky questions... Sir.

    But then, it might have something to do with the underwhelming readership levels of the great British public in my neighbourhood. Actually, "underwhelming" is a f... understatement, but it's a different story.

    but the Kobo reader's ok, you can't complain for this money.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. ozor
        Thumb Up

        Re: no, you can NOT pick it up in store

        I just picked one up in store, but then my local is a Superstore ^^

  4. James 51 Silver badge

    If they stay at this price that might be a few christmas presents sorted out.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stock situation

    WHSmiths always seems to have stock, and the slightly more expencive touch edition as well, to be honest, after playing with them in my glasgow store the touch was well worth the extra few quid, wouldnt bother with that Android one though unless you really want a cheap tablet

  6. Martin 47

    Its cheap for a reason, I had one and soon flogged it on ebay so I could get a kindle.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great deal, it's not a Kindle

    That's a good thing. It uses the open EPUB format that got 4x more paid-for and free content than Kindle . (KoboBooks, Google Books, B&N etc)

    1. Martin 47

      Re: Great deal, it's not a Kindle

      Not heard of calibre then?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Great deal, it's not a Kindle

        @Martin 47

        Most people are concerned that you can't convert DRMed formats with Calibre so making it harder if not impossible to legally get new books.

        On the other hand, someone I met in a pub who I'd never seen before, haven't seen since, and can't describe because it was dark in there, reckoned you can get three lifetimes worth of e-books minus any DRM from some usenet groups. And that's if you read a book per day. 'course that's just hearsay and not something I would do or condone.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great deal, it's not a Kindle

        Of course, and that's why I would never buy a Kindle, as Calibre is a pain to use and only makes an adequete job of converting. It frequently screws up chapters and formatting, and other quirks.

        Really why would anyone buy a Kindle and then faff around getting content on it with Calibre when there are plenty of cheap and/or good EPUB readers from Sony, Kobo, B&N and more.

    2. Some Beggar

      Re: Great deal, it's not a Kindle

      It's hardly difficult to read epub format books on a Kindle. You can convert practically any format to be readable on practically any device. Would that really be a major influence on your choice of e-reader?

      1. John Bailey

        Re: Great deal, it's not a Kindle

        It's hardly difficult to read Amazon format books on a Kobo. You can convert practically any format to be readable on practically any device. Would that really be a major influence on your choice of e-reader?

      2. geejayoh

        Re: Great deal, it's not a Kindle


        The ability to convert formats is the ONLY major influence on the choice of which ereader to buy. Support of formats and their readability is what you are buying it for, no?

        I had heard the Kindle's performance with PDFs was also terrible.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Great deal, it's not a Kindle

          > I had heard the Kindle's performance with PDFs was also terrible.

          Performance ain't so bad in general except for PDFs that are actually scans or mainly image, but "personal Kindle 3 experience stories":

          PDF may not be visible in its entirety with the lowest part of the page impossible to get onto the screen.

          I have one PDF that repeatedly locks the Kindle up. You then have to try to reboot it by doing several cycles of power-off button 15s presses. Frustrating as hell.

          ...So I'm wary of this device. The user interface also needs some serious work by UI gurus.

        2. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: Great deal, it's not a Kindle

          "The ability to convert formats is the ONLY major influence on the choice of which ereader to buy"

          For you maybe, but for the general public I'd guess ease of use is the main driver. My mother for example doesn't care about converting formats, she just wants to easily buy books and get them on her e-reader, as do I because I can't be doing with even more phone calls for tech support on something I've never even seen.

          To that end the Kindle is great, go on-line, buy a book, have it delivered direct to the Kindle over the air, or buy it direct on the device itself if you're away from a computer. That's the factor that won my mother over, she doesn't give a **** about converting formats or reading a PDF she just wants to easily get books on it and for that Amazon got it spot on.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: LOL

          Errm, it's not less book from more retailers, with EPUB, it's MORE books from MORE retailers.

          There are now 3.5m books (pay and free) in EPUB, and "only" 800K in Kindle format.

          I also find Kobo and Google to usually be cheaper to buy than from Amazon. I picked up the latest Simon Kernick book and it was £1 cheaper from Google than Amazon wanted for it in their proprietary format..

          What has always puzzled me, is that Sony are constantly being attached by the idiots here for creating proprietary formats (the idiots are too stupid to know that Sony invented the CD and floppy disk), yet it seems Apple and Amazon have free reign to create as many proprietary book or video formats to lock in their customers as they wish.

          It's almost as if both of these companies invest huge amounts of money in viral marketing astroturfing in forums like this to make out that these products are great, and appealing to gullible idiots pack mentality.

          Perhaps a Kindle or Apple owner could enlighten me to how Apple's Quicktime or Amazons AMZ is any different to Sony's ATRAC format?

          As to me, they are all as bad as each other... At least Sony have seen the light and now persue open and industry standard formats, relying on their products to entice their customers, rather than customers being forced to stay with them by what they have previously purchased.

    3. Ian Watkinson
      Thumb Down

      Re: Great deal, it's not a Kindle

      Having less books available from 4 places doesn't mean that it's 4x more.

      There's also the fact that B&N don't sell here.

      In compliance with shipping regulations, some item(s) in your order cannot be sent to London in United Kingdom.

      The key thing to look for is price.

      Most of the time when I've looked the ebook from amazon is £2-£3 cheaper than it's epub equivalent.

  8. FlossyThePig

    The cheap Kobo uses an older version of the e-ink display. The more expensive Kobo Touch uses the same display as the Kindle Touch and cheaper. E-books from British libraries are compatible with Kobo but not Kindle.

  9. Rentaguru

    at last count my calibre library had over 29,000 books and scrapes 29 news sites daily asnd the entire output of gocomics weekly. Conveniently naughty people make most mags available in drm free pdf so the only mag I have to buy is Private Eye which shuns electronic formats but is reasonably priced so you don,t mind paying

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What someone should do is a

    Book to e-reader scanner.

    Auto page turn, indexing etc and doesen't damage the pages because all the scan hardware is compressed into a single sheet of glass.

    Possibly something based on a large solar cell with transparent OLED to do the scanning.

    For this application you don't even need colour so an infrared emitting OLED array is feasible.

    Sound doable?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Additional ideas

    Can someone hurry up and write a MAFF to .epub converter?

    It would be nice to view my saved webpages on e-readers, but there's no tool to do this.

    Perhaps even basic javascript converter so it can run simple apps.

    Also, for the hackers :-) among us, one of my ideas is to hack a cheap reader with a magnetic compass sensor and pen for DIY "touch screen".


    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Simon_E

      MAF to ePUB

      They already have done -

      1. frank ly

        Re: MAF to ePUB

        That is amazing; epub and mobi too. Thank you for the link, it's now on my Firefox toolbar!

  12. Wisteela
    Thumb Up

    Great device

    I bought one recently from WH Smith for £59.99. My reasons for buying were low cost, and ePub support. Well worth the money.

  13. Rentaguru

    Well I got a Kobo touch from my local ASDA yesterday and As someone who reads upwards of 100 books a year I hasve to say I hate it. Why the bloody 3 by 4 format far too wide and squat for an adult book - it reminds me of kids picture books rather than adult books with more than one word per page.

    I guess there are few people these days who still read ... what other explanation can there be for the ipad and many ereaders adopting the same format as childrens books?

  14. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Had one for a year

    Paid $69 in the US.

    Good points, easy to copy epub content, will read PDFs (although you need to do a lot of scrolling/zooming)

    Bad points, SLOW,takes a couple of minutes to boot and another minute to reopen a book. Replaced it with a Sony PRC which wakes up and opens a book in seconds.

  15. Sequin

    I bought two at Christmas - for wife and dad - both love the Kobo. I got one at my local ASDA on Friday, and am half-way through a big Stephen King novel already. There are loads of hacks out there on t'internet if you care to look.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    doesnt find any of the PDFs I put on there

    tried it from my Mac, tried it from my PC. apparently you just copy them across, what could be easier. but they dont show up on the Kobo.

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