Lately I’ve been using the Kobo app on the iPad to read, and I found myself turning to the iPad in the evening more often than the Kindle. I’ve been on a reading tear, not only because of the RITA Reader Reviews, which have damaged the schedule of my TBR list like whoa and moly, but because I’m super busy during the day and in the evening am ready to read and disappear into someone else’s story for awhile.
The Kobo app is interesting to me because of the way it tracks what I do, and shares stats with me about what and how I read. Even though I find the awarding of badges somewhat goofy in any app or community to which I belong, I found that I was curious what my stats looked like. Plus, with the Kobo Read On trillion minute challenge to read more and encourage donations to charities specified by readers, I wanted to see what my reading might contribute to their efforts.
Here’s a screen shot of the “Stats” page of my “Reading Life” section from earlier today:
It tells me how long I’ve read, how fast I turn pages, what my average is, and what time of day I tend to read. I know Kobo collects this information and then shares it with the publishing community at conferences, but seeing my own reading statistics is kind of fun. I didn’t expect to enjoy it, really.
There’s also the Activity section, wherein I get awards, badges, and notifications about when I’m reading, or what I’m doing (i.e. finishing a book, or re-reading a book). I could honestly take or leave this section. I don’t read for the badges (I don’t need no stinkin’ badges!) or the recognition of what I’m doing when I read.
Also, because I tend to close and reopen book to get quotes, notes, and highlights out for review purposes, this skews the activity metrics a bit. For example, the app thought I was re-reading a book when really I was going back to a book to find my own notes and highlights, and then closing the book again. It was a book I didn’t enjoy very much – I can promise you, Kobo app, I wasn’t re-reading it. I was fishing for the crazysauce I’d highlighted.
I would like to be able to rate and rank books in my library – and if that feature is there, I haven’t found it. It might be and I’m just missing it every time. But I’d like to be able to give a rating and a brief summary of a book, or at least make a note on the book in general, particularly because I’m reading a lot of older Harlequin titles at the moment, and the titles blend in my brain to the point where I can only remember the cover, or the plot. (Ask me about this one Maya Banks I read, where the heroine was awesome and there were painted toenails involved in one memorable scene. Do I remember the title? NOT EVER.)
What I really like is that I can create shelves of my content very easily. For example, a few nights ago I treated myself to Sarah Morgan’s backlist so I can read while I travel next week. I put all the books in my Dropbox file, then opened them in Dropbox – which of course told me, “WTF, Sarah. I can’t read ePubs.” Dropbox then gives me a choice of which reader to use for the ePub, and each time I selected the Kobo app. Granted this is a cumbersome way to load up a library, but it worked very quickly for me and I didn’t cuss too much because the books weren’t going where I wanted.
Then, within the Kobo library, I created a “Sarah Morgan” shelf, selected all the titles I wanted to include, and, presto, I was done. I can purchase books in the Kobo store through Safari, which I’ve only done once, and it was relatively painless. Once they’re in the library, I can move them to whatever shelf I want.
I have to say, I love the shelves options far more than the clunky and cumbersome ‘collections’ method on the Kindle, and I’m very much looking forward to trying out the Kobo Touch reader when I get a chance.
I don’t really have much of a use for the “Book Cover” that’s built as a sort of collage of my badges, awards, and books read or started, and I have had to turn off some of the activity notifications as they were intruding on my reading, but I have to say, I really enjoy seeing the stats, and seeing when and how fast I read (faster than I thought). The “Reading Life” section is kinda fun in an unexpected, goofy way, and coupled with the brightness, text size, font, and black/white background for reading, I’m surprised to find that I’m reaching for the iPad to use the Kobo reader more than I am the Kindle.
Next, I plan to get my hands on a Kobo Touch and try that experience as well.