Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Kobo Aura HD Takes You Back to School! Review & CONTEST (~OVER~)!



Earlier this year, I wrote Do We Need Paper Books Anymore?, which was also republished on The Huffington Post.  While the article did attract many comments from people who are sentimental to books, we can all agree that paper books are greatly on the decline due to e-readers, tablets, smart phones, and other electronic reading options.  In addition, paper books are not an environmentally friendly option, requiring the destruction of trees to create a book.  And most persuasively, you can carry around a library of virtual books on an e-reader, but try that with paper books in your book bag!

I agreed to test out a Kobo Aura HD, my first real e-reader ever.  Yes, I already own a tablet, laptops, and smartphones, so I have done some e-reading on these devices.  But what would the experience be like on a Kobo?  Since I have summer reading all queued up for August, and I know that the kids will have lots of back-to-school reading to complete come September, I thought that I was up for the challenge.
The Kobo Aura Arrives Powered On!
My Impressions of the Kobo Aura HD
Once my Kobo Aura HD was delivered to me, my impression was "why, this is small!"  I guess that my point of reference was to the Apple iPad 2, which does have a larger screen.  Then, as I lifted it out of its box, I thought "this feels about the weight of a book, maybe a bit heavier"  I held the e-reader in my hand, and its thickness felt the way that a book does when I'm at the half-way point through my reading.  I did find that it fit comfortably into either one or both of my hands, and that I did not have to bend back pages to keep the new book from closing (joke).

When I looked at the Kobo Aura HD's screen, I did a double take, as it ships to the recipient turned on.  But what I loved about it, is it is extremely muted to look at.  It had been a concern for me that it would be glaringly bright and be hard to look at.  This is absolutely not the case, and the brightness can be increased if you prefer it otherwise, or if you read at night.

Looking inside the Kobo shipping box, I was a bit perplexed that it comes with only a USB charger and not a regular wall charger.  This means that out-of-the-box, you will have to charge your Kobo Aura HD using your computer's USB port.  Like my Samsung Galaxy S3 charger, I would have preferred a hybrid wall plug/USB charger.  I do use my HP laptop a lot, but I still find this charging option a bit inconvenient.  What would happen if I needed to charge my Kobo but had not brought my laptop along?
The Kobo Aura Muted Look Is Easy On the Eyes
Getting started on the Kobo Aura HD, I found the onscreen instructions very easy to follow.  I did have the choice of either connecting my Facebook to the Kobo, or creating a Kobo account without using my Facebook account.  Easy enough.  

The instructions for navigating the Kobo while reading were also easy: touch anywhere on the right hand side (or swipe right) to flip ahead, touch anywhere on the left hand side (or swipe left) to flip back, touch the centre of the Kobo to make the "home" icon appear, click the "home" icon to go to the main dashboard (housing the library, bookstore and reading life), long-hold any word you see to make the dictionary definition pop up, and long-hold over a sentence or paragraph to either highlight the passage or add a note.  There is a button to brighten/darken the screen, put the e-reader to "sleep" or shut down, as well as a port to connect the device to USB.  There is a slot that allows the Aura to expand from 4GB to 32GB with a Micro SD card.

I did have a bit of a challenge navigating around the built-in Kobo Bookstore, which did not seem to provide the same options that are available on KoboBooks.com.  For example, I had a hard time locating any free books to try out, and the built-in Kobo Bookstore seemed to only display books that could be purchased for money.  There also seemed to be no way to filter my search results by price, or by any other options.  I did not like that none of the books in the Kobo Bookstore contained a book synopsis.  (For those who are interested, here's where you can find millions of FREE Kobo eBooks!  There is a special place for them!)
Home Page & Storefront of Kobo Aura
As a newbie, it took me a while to figure out how to procure books for the Kobo, especially free ones.  I tried Amazon.com, but quickly learned that Kindle books are not compatible with the Kobo.  When I finally stumbled upon KoboBooks.com online, the browsing options were definitely better than the built-in Kobo Bookstore in Kobo Aura.  However, once again I could not find free book options, and instead searched for such books by listing all available books from "lowest to highest".

After I made several free book selections, I realized I had to "sync" my Kobo Aura in order for the new books to appear in my library.  Once synched, all my books appeared--except for the two children's picture books I selected.  I synched two more times, and even attempted to add another children's picture book, but the books did not appear.  I'm still not sure why these books are not appearing in my Kobo Aura library, although the books are listed in my KoboBooks.com library.

When I was searching for paid e-books, I was able to find many of the books I was looking for.  However, I did not notice a way to reserve a new release that had yet to be published online.  I think that this would have been a nice feature.
Meet the Kobo Aura HD Family!
Once I tried out one of my new e-books, I did enjoy the experience on the Kobo Aura HD very much.  Reading was effortless, and the default font and layout of the book was very similar to reading a paper book.  The clarity of the words were also excellent.  There is an option to change the default font, as well as font size, line spacing, margins, and justification.  

I did like how muted the "page" colour was, and it is a greyish-beige colour, rather than the whitish colour of a printed book.  I find the muted grey colour of the Kobo Aura easier on my eyes than a printed book.  If you are used to paper books, I think that you will find switching to the Kobo Aura not a stretch at all.  From a tactile perspective, the Aura screen was smooth and yet slightly grainy at the same time.  The surface was not the same as a tablet, and I liked this subtlety.

When I needed to put my book down, the Kobo Aura remembered my place (without a bookmark, of course), and I could easily switch between books.  I thought that the "reading life" feature of the Kobo was pretty cute, as it records your reading stats like total hours spent reading, page turns, average minutes per session, book progress (including by chapter), etc.  Fun stuff for those who enjoy personal statistics.

Some may say that I'm silly, but I was sorry that the book cover on the Kobo Aura was not in colour.  Naturally it was not, as the Aura is a grey scale device.  However, I thought I would put that out there, as I had not realized how much the book's cover had influenced me previously.  Though, I can quickly admit that the cost to add colour to the device merely to have a colourful cover would not have been worth the price.

The Kobo Aura HD can be purchased for $169.99 CDN, and is available in espresso, ivory or onyx colours.


Check Out the Koba Aura HD Specs:
Size - 175.7 x 128.3 x 11.7 mm (6.91 x 5.05 x 0.46")
Weight - 240g (8.4658 oz)

Processor - 1 GHz; 20% faster than other leading eReaders.
Display - 6.8" WXGA+ Pearl E Ink Screen.  ClarityScreen+: 265 dpi, 1440 x 1080 resolution.
Connectivity - WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Micro USB.
Storage - 4 GB.  Option to expand up to 32 GB with a Micro SD card.

BACK TO SCHOOL WITH KOBO AURA!
The Back to School season is just around the corner!  My kids were expected to do oodles of reading homework last year, and I anticipate this even more so this school year.  Check out these literary works, all available from the Kobo eBookstore!


Other useful eReading resources available for students from Kobo include:

-Access to Cliff Notes-like summaries like “Quicklet on J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye
-Downloadable books to learn another language like French, Spanish, German, and more
-Ability to borrow titles from local libraries!  Yes, you can borrow e-books from libraries now!

CONTEST (~OVER~)

FIVE WINNERS: Kevin L, Amy H, Seham M, Amy C & Judy C.

WIN 1 of 5 Kobo Minis from the SnyMed Blog!  Yes, I'm giving away FIVE Kobo Minis to my great readers!  (Please note, the Kobo Mini is different than the device I have reviewed in this blog post.)  Contest open to Canada, ends Tuesday September 3rd, 2013...just in time for going back to school!

How To Enter:
Leave a COMMENT below stating what you would like to read on your new Kobo Mini, OR where you would read with your Kobo Mini.  Then, use the entry form below to entry the contest.  GOOD LUCK!
WIN 1 of 5 Kobo Minis! CANADA - Ends Sept 3, 2013!

168 comments:

  1. I would love to have a Kobo - I would have to share it with my 12 year old daughter - we are both big readers. She loves YA books, and I read lots of different types of fiction. It would be great to carry in our bags, and read while waiting in line, or just general waiting!

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  2. i would love to read with my kobo on my patio in the morning while having a coffee

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  3. Oh wow, this looks so handy! I love how easy on the eyes it looks, because although I have tablets, they can be too bright and have a glare. I would read fiction and biographies on there, and anywhere I could! In the car, in bed, while waiting at the doctors...anyplace! :)

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  4. Oh wow, this looks so handy and I love how easy it is on the eyes! No glare! I'd read fiction and biographies...anywhere, anytime! hehe. Would be great for in the car or waiting at the doctor's office and in bed at night too! :)

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  5. I would read it anywhere on bus i like reading nora roberts i would really love to win this

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  6. i would love to win the mini Kobo i would read it everywhere on bus at a park etc i like reading nora roberts

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  7. I'd love to read all the books that aren't able to fit on my shelf anymore (I'm a big fan of YA and Dystopian fiction). That's the great thing about the Kobo, you can take it anywhere you like and it only takes uo a very small amount of space :)

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  8. I'd love to read all the books that aren't able to fit on my shelf anymore (I'm a big fan of YA and Dystopian fiction). That's the great thing about the Kobo, you can take it anywhere you like and it only takes uo a very small amount of space :)

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  9. I'd love to read all the books that aren't able to fit on my shelf anymore (I'm a big fan of YA and Dystopian fiction). That's the great thing about the Kobo, you can take it anywhere you like and it only takes up a very small amount of space :)

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  10. What a fantastic giveaway! I would love to read The Cuckoo's Calling outside on my back deck while lounging in the sunshine :)

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  11. I would love a Kobo to read on the train to & from work

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  12. I would love a Kobo to read on the GO train to and from work, I am always reading but like today, I was almost finished a book so ended up carrying two hardbacks with me all day

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  13. I wouldnt mind reading some firey novels Ive been hearing about. I still have yet to read the rest of the 50 Shades series... even though I wasnt a huge fan, I cant leave something unfinished.
    JaimeeM

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  14. I would love to keep reading the Hunger Games (2 and 3) en español! I read the first and couldn't put it down, much to the benefit of my Spanish studies! So with a Kobo, I would very happily keep that ball rolling!

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  15. I would love to keep reading the Hunger Games Trilogy (2&3) en español! I loved-loved-loved the first, and reading it in Spanish, really helped me in my Spanish studies, so I would be thrilled to have a Kobo to keep that ball rolling!

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  16. I would love to own a Kobo- I enjoy to read and my boys love to also read. Great to have something we all enjoy

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  17. I would love to win one of these. Both my hubby and I are avid readers and an a Kobo would take up a lot less room than all the books!

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  18. I would love to win a Kobo mini for reading on the porch having coffee, not having to worry about losing my place when the wind blows. Or in the car on long drives, as a passenger of course.

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  19. I would take the Kobo on the bus when traveling to work

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  20. I'd take the kobo on the bus with me when I travel for work.

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  21. I'd like to read Ane the Mountains Echoed.
    MyPromoSimple name is Julie G.

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  22. I'd take it on trips! Saves me a suitcase!

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  23. I'd take it on vacation! Saves me a suitcase!

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  24. I'd take the kobo with me everywhere. There is always time to catch up on reading

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  25. I would read it while sitting outside in my backyard, and on long roadtrips.

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  26. I would read our local paper daily!

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  27. Where would I read? A really good place would be on my long, long bus ride to work each morning! It would really give me something to do.

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  28. Being a student living hours away from university, I would be reading on the go; be it car, bus or train. It would make the long rides much more pleasant!

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  29. I would love to read, The Girl that Kicked The Hornet's Nest on my deck

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  30. I would love to read the new Dan Brown book, Inferno, on the mini kobo!

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  31. I would like to read the new Dan Brown book, Inferno, on the kobo mini.

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  32. I would love to read some more Cynthia Voigt books!

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  33. i would love to read with my kobo in bed

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  34. I would read To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink

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  35. I would read To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink

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  36. I would love to read with this on vacation, so easy to transport several books!

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  37. I would read my kobo on the subway, to and from work, on my lunch hour, in bed, and of course while relaxing up at the cottage.

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  38. I would read Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani.

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  39. Since your giveaway ends in the fall, it would be the perfect reason to take my new Kobo Mini (if I hopefully win!) into a comfy little corner absolutely anywhere because of the device's awesome size, and cuddle up with a whole series of ebooks that I can read both indoors and outdoors as I enjoy the most cozy season!

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  40. I would enjoy using the Kobo Mini to read digital magazines.

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  41. Now that I'm retired I have plenty of time to catch-up on many books I've always wanted to read. A KOBO mini eReader would be perfect to hold the many books on my to read list, starting with all the great books by DAN BROWN.

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  42. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand....because the book is so darned big!

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  43. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand...because the book is so darned big!

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  44. I'd read it whenever I was waiting for someone or something.Thanks

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  45. I would like to read Entwined in you if I won
    thanks

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  46. for reading on backyard deck

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  47. I would love to read anywhere :) & I love to read all types of book :)
    My favorite place to read is in my anti gravity chair on my deck in the summer while enjoying a mojito :)

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  48. I love to read almost anywhere and I read alto of different things.My favorite place to read is on my deck in my anti gravity chair :). It would be so awesome to win a kobo it would beat bringing my heavy & sometimes worn out novels with me everywhere I go :)

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  49. I would use this whenever I'm on vacation!

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  50. How about "War of the Worlds"?

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  51. How about everything from Larry Niven's "Known Space" series?

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  52. I would use my Kobo in the backyard on a lounge chair in the sun! I would like to read the new Neil Gaiman book!

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  53. I would read anything by Mimi Barbour

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  54. A NEW RELEASE featured on the Kobo website is The White Princess

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  55. So many series my sons have told me about, I'll need to read everywhere to ever hope to get to them all...

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  56. I would take my kobo with me to a Caribbean resort and sit at the beach and read

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  57. I would like to read my kobo sitting by the pool

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  58. would love to read at the cottage or to my kidlets when travelling

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  59. I would read my kobo at night in bed.

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  60. Would reread all the Game of Thrones books.

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  61. Would reread all the Game of Thrones books.

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  62. I would love to read any classic on it

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  63. I'd like to read the Dresden Files series

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  64. I would read in my room before bed, while waiting in the car...pretty much everywhere. Would love to win one of these.

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  65. I would like to read in my new condo

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  66. Would love to read Inferno by Dan Brown

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  67. I would love to load a kobo up with lots of good romance novels and settle on the beach for a great day of reading.

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  68. I would read my kobo everywhere. I love to read at the beach, at home, during breaks at works so pretty much where ever I go.

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  69. I would sit on my deck and read with my kobo

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  70. Awesome contest! This would be a treat to win! Good luck everyone. Crossing fingers.

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  71. I would use it everywhere I go,when we are taking a trip somewhere,,great for long car rides,or overnight stays.
    (karla Sceviour)

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  72. I would really like to win one and be able to read Game of Thrones, and while winding down in the evenings or on weekends. Thanks so much.

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  73. would love to read jo jo moyes book me before you on this first a book on my summer read list ;)

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  74. I would read on my bed with my Kobo Mini

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  75. I have been wanting to read the Host. (Teressa Bignell)

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  76. i'd love to read my kobo on my back porch in the sun... bliss!

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  77. I travel on the bus and train everyday so a KOBO Mini would be a godsend. My first read would be Main Street by Sinclair Lewis.

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  78. Cooking for Health The Moosewood Restaurant

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  79. I would like to read The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison.

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  80. I would use it whenever I have to take the train somewhere. It would cure boredom and make it easy to read.

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  81. I'd read a Midnight Heir. Sounds interesting enough.

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  82. I'd read a Midnight Heir. Sounds interesting enough.

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  83. I would love to use my new Kobo mini while I enjoy my morning coffee on my deck in the morning.

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  84. A Kobo would be sooooo great to win and use! First, I would have healthy recipe books on it, and all sorts of naturalpath books, home remedies, and natural home made remedies books on it, so that no matter where I went, I would always have this wealth of information at my fingertips, for personal use, friends and family......and anyone who asks!

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  85. I'd be able to use this on the subway during my every day commute to work.

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  86. I'd be able to use this on the subway during my daily commute to work.

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  87. As a university student, I would be fitting in as much reading as possible in between classes or on my commute to school! As for what I would be reading, I'm most interested in the more popular reads such as Dan Brown or the Game of Thrones series.

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  88. I would like to use the Kobo in a hammock in my yard.

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  89. I would love to win this for my daughter she is an avid reader

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  90. Id love to be able to take it all over the house, in the car, plane etc. I could read in bed with the kids too

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  91. I'd use this on my travels, during a coffee break or on a plane and also for a short read in bed before I go to sleep

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  92. I love cookbooks so I would like to see some recipes on this
    wildcardacehigh@yahoo.ca

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  93. The new Percy Jackson movie is coming out soon, so I'd like to start reading that series.

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  94. Love to read using this Kobo out on my balcony in the evenings.

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  95. I'd use it to read the Bro Code.

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  96. I would read the kobo mini in bed at night, relaxing away with a great book like afflication

    mcsweeney.erinatgmail.com

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  97. Under the Dome By Stephen King! Love the show, would like to try the book!

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  98. I would read it before I go to sleep every night

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  99. Definitely great to have when the reading urge arises! And no paper cuts!:)

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  100. i would like to read me are from Venus women are from Mars on my boat thanks

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  101. I would read in the backyard, in the gazebo, with my puppy curled up beside me!

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  102. I would read my kobo everywhere, but especially in planes, on buses and when in the car! (When my husband does the driving!)

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  103. I've been wanting to read Lean In - Women, Work, and the Will to Lead written by Sheryl Sandberg

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  104. I would go hide at Starbucks and read my new Kobo...I'd likely read Catching Fire first!

    (Christy J)

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  105. I would love a Kobo to share with my boys to encourage reading for them!
    Lynn M

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  106. I'd actually like to go back and read one of the Christopher Pike novels I loved in my teens!

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  107. I would read at home and while travelling on a reader
    Florence C
    fossie@hotmail.com

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  108. Read any e-book borrow from the library.

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  109. I would love to have an Kobo. I would share it with my friend Krstana who loves to read but does not have one either. I would read at home and she would read on the bus.

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  110. I would like to read when I go on summer holidays, perhaps the classic Jane Eyre? I'm sure I have seen movie or TV series but I don't remember ever reading the story?
    ladybugcda (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  111. This would be a very special piece of technology for me. I have never read an e-book and would be very excited to try this new technology.

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  112. If I won the Kobo Mini I would read with it pretty much everywhere! The easy access to ebooks and convenience of being able to carry it on you (unlike a laptop) make it the perfect device to have for someone on-the-go. Thank for the link to the ebook site!

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  113. i love to read harry potter.ijiff@hotmail.com

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  114. I would love to have the kobo mini and all my favorites with me on the bus.

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  115. Would love to read Under the Dome BT Stephen King on my back deck!

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  116. I would probably read daily when I'm riding the bus home

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  117. I would definitely take the mini on vacation with me - so much lighter than packing books!

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  118. I'd like this Kobo to read when I am out and about, it would be handy to keep in my purse. I'm looking forward to reading the new Bridget Jones novel too.

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  119. I would bring the Kobo along with me on road trips and plane rides. Multiple book options in one convenient place

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  120. I would love to read on the way to the cottage.

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  121. I still need to finish reading Fifty Shades of Grey!

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  122. Michael C deedu.c@gmail.comTuesday, August 13, 2013 12:58:00 PM

    I would read The Outsiders while hanging out with my S.O. while she catches up on Breaking Bad and Dexter!

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  123. I would love to use a Kobo to read in bed at night!

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  124. I would take my new kobo with me when i am on the skytrain, or when i take the ferry to Vancouver Island

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  125. i would read while waiting at the doctors office. I am pregnant so i have many appointments and i am always left waiting!

    janelle hope
    janehope@hotmail.ca

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  126. We are planning a trip to India in the fall & with the long flight this would be perfect. We will also spend endless amounts of time on trains & buses travelling between cities, so this would be perfect for us to share!! I would read The God of Small things by Arundhati Roy!! Cheers

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  127. We will be travelling to India in the fall and this would be perfect for the long flight & for the travel on buses & trains between cities. Arundhati Roy's, "The God of Small Things" would great to read during this trip! cheers

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  128. I would like to read downloadable library books on my new Kobo!

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  129. I would read at home, in the vehicle travelling and for sure on airplane!

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  130. borrowed my sis' one while we were camping so I basically read anything on there and I'm not picky (although I do have a few series I'd like to finish up on but am uncertain when the books are even going to be released)

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  131. I would use it in the morning to read my magazines

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  132. I would love to read 'An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth' by Chris Hadfield as soon as it's released!

    In addition, the Kobo mini would be perfect for me to read on the subway while I commute to and from work. :)

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  133. I would like to read some new fantasy books.

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  134. I would read it on the train to work every morning!

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  135. I'd read it on the train to work every morning!

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  136. I would read A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin!

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  137. I would love a new Kobo, my original one is wearing out. I would use the mini to read a series by Tamora Pierce that the font size on my old kobo is too small for me to read.

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  138. I commute to work so the Kobo would be amazing to pass the time! I would love to read "Exposed"!

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  139. I am a very avid reader and am hoping to one day get most of my collections transfered to an Ereader

    I often read it in the car waiting for people

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  140. I want to read The cuckoo's calling.

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  141. i would use it while i'm on my commute to and from work or even at home or when I'm by the lake

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  142. I'd love to read Nonprofits Made Easy on a new Kobo!

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  143. I would read on the plane.

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  144. I'd use this on the train commute to/from work and would load a Cassandra Clare book to catch up on the series. @CathyInCanada

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  145. i take my daughter to piano lessons and since the centre is pretty far from my house, I usually wait for her in the lobby. the Kobo would be perfect to kill time! i love that is so much lightweight than carrying the actual books!

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  146. I read in bed at night because I have two toddler boys that do not allow me to read during the day. Lol. But every night no fail I curl up with a book and I will read almost anything. Tonight it's Nicholas Sparks :)

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  147. I'd like to read "The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion on my new Kobo Mini. I'd take it with me everywhere and read it whenever I could find the opportunity.

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  148. Please, please, please let me win this. We travel almost 6 months of the year (in our van) and I'm limited by the number of books that I can bring.

    I'd love to read Margaret Atwood: Madd Addam

    P.S. My pinterest account is: http://pinterest.com/journeyofthezoo

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo

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  149. Would love to read my school books... ANYWHERE and everywhere :)
    Fb name Shawna Maxwell ( Wilson )
    Email tnsm2b@gmail.com

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  150. I would love to read at lunchtime, never lose my place and it will fit in my purse!

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  151. I would like to read the game of thrones series

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  152. I would love to read How the Light Gets in by Louise Penny

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