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The war for your ebook dollars is heating up, with Borders throwing itself into the mix. The bookseller will release its eReader, the Kobo, June 17. Since the device isnt out yet, we decided to review its features in comparison to Barnes & Nobles Nook.

There are two reasons for this. One is that weve written extensively about the Kindle, arguably the most popular eReader. Two is that Barnes & Noble and Borders are direct competitors in the bookstore realm, making this a natural match-up. Let the games begin!




NookStands 7.7 inches tall, weighs 12.1 ounces.KoboStands 7.2 inches tall, weighs less than 8 ounces.Senior-friendly winner: DrawWe hate to declare ties (we really do), but this ones too close to call. Being that both boast six-inch screens, it comes down to whether you prefer a larger device like the Nook, which would be easier to grab and grip, or a lighter device like the Kobo, which is easier to carry and hold. If you have arthritis, the Nook would be a better choice. If you experience weakness in your hands, arms or wrists, the Kobo would be a better buy.


NookFour buttons on either side for page turning. Buttons are large and fairly well marked with dark-gray-on-light-gray arrows and anchors. A 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD display is situated beneath the main screen. The five icons it displays are colorful, large and easy to touch, though the color contrasts could be greater by utilizing bold shades instead of earth tones.KoboFour side buttons that are also labeled with dark-gray-on-light-gray, front-facing text. One large blue button called a D-pad that can move up and down or side to side. It can also be pressed to engage an icon.Senior-friendly winner: NookThis one isnt even close. The Kobos side buttons are long and thin, making them difficult to find, let alone engage. The blue button works fine, but it isnt as easy to navigate as the Nooks touchscreen with large icons. Plus, theres the coolness factor. Touchscreens are very trendy (and practical) right now, and new devices that could utilize them but dont can seem archaic compared to ones that do.


NookBooks can be downloaded in seconds onto the Nook, which is WiFi-enabled. Users also have free wireless access at all Barnes & Noble locations.KoboDownloads books via Borders eBook Desktop App or, which must be accessed from your computer or smartphone. Books are uploaded to the Kobo in minutes via USB cord.Senior-friendly winner: NookConvenience, ease of use and speed are the names of the game here. And the Kobo appears to have none of this when it comes to obtaining books.

Price, Perks

Nook$259. Chess and Sudoku are pre-installed. Owners can also read most books for free at Barnes & Noble stores for up to one hour per day on their Nooks.Kobo$150. Borders eBook Desktop app and 100 free eBooks are pre-installed. The cover image of your book remains on the screen, while a quilted lining is featured on the back, making the Kobo look and feel like a real book without all that extra weight and girth.Overall winner (not evaluated for senior-friendliness): KoboIt sounds funny, but we love that Borders modeled the Kobo so close to a real book. Because we like books after all, or we wouldnt spend hundreds of dollars on a device that can download them by thousands. We just dont like how bulky, heavy and cumbersome they are. The Kobo is like an electronic book, while the Nook looks like a regular electronic, which just happens to read books. The price doesnt hurt, either.

Battery Life, Storage

NookContains 2GB of memory, or about 1,500 books. Barnes & Noble says the Nook can last for up to 10 days.KoboContains 1GB of memory, or about 1,000 books. SD memory cards provide additional storage. Borders says the Kobo can last for up to two weeks.Overall winner: KoboThe Nook may hold more, but whos going to download, let alone read, more than 1,000 books? E-Readers let you delete books, which would free up storage space, and Kobos battery appears to last longer.


Both of these devices utilize E ink, which makes their displays look similar to actual book pages. This means theres no backlighting, however, so reading in the dark requires supplemental lighting, again, just like a real book would.

Overall Conclusion

Both of these devices have their benefits and places within the market. If you simply want to store lots of books on a compact, lightweight device for little money, then the Kobos for you – hands down. If you suffer from arthritis or tend to get frustrated or intimidated by technology, then the Nook is your answer. Its durable, easy to operate and downloads books in seconds with a simple touch as long as youre connected to the Internet. Youll be paying almost double the price of the Kobo for these conveniences, however.

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2 Responses to Borders

  1. Bryan Hanson June 21, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    Since the price on the Nook just dropped ($199 for WiFi/3G and $149 for WiFi only), I would think the edge definitely has tipped in the favor of the nook over the kobo.

  2. Jan Strnad July 3, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    You have to physically hold and operate both devices to make any kind of judgment. I prefer the Kobo because it’s much lighter and simply feels better in my hand. A four-ounce difference doesn’t sound like much on paper, but once you hold both devices, you’ll be surprised at how different they feel.

  3. donna May 11, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    can I download ebooks off other sites and read them on my kobo?

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