My new Kobo Mini

Today I bought a Kobo Mini ereader. It’s lovely: small and simple, feeling light and nice to touch. It’s got an on button on the top edge, and a USB plug on the bottom; the rest is screen, bezel, and back (the latter two of a sort of micro-fluffy textured plastic). So far, so good.

I bought it because I want to read Wikisource texts offline and away from the computer, and I don’t like the idea of continuing to print them out. It’s nice to proofread on paper, perhaps, but then carrying A4 pages around in manilla folders isn’t very good (for reading on the bus and whatnot). I don’t think it’s too hard to make notes about corrections in my notepad, so long as I give a suitable amount of context.

Anyway, the second thing about the Mini, after it’s pleasing appearance: it won’t work until it’s been ‘activated’! What on earth’s the point of that, other than to attempt to force me into buying books from some particular company or other?! Ridiculous! However, do it I must, if I want to read anything else — so I registered, and stumbled around in the Kobo Desktop application…

At first it looked like it mightn’t actually be possible to just copy the files I wanted to the device (despite it most sensibly mounting as a little external storage thingo), but it turned out that one must first activate it and then copy files to it, in order for them to be recognised. The file I’d copied before activation was ignored, but then after copying another there it kicked it into action and both were listed in the main menu. A relief.

So: all working on Ubuntu now, and I’ll report back in a few weeks on the actual readish fun of the thing….

Update: I wrote some more about my Kobo in July.

4 thoughts on “My new Kobo Mini”

  1. Hi Sam

    Just bought one of these myself, most impressed. Following the price drop of the Nook in the UK to 30GBP, the Kobo Mini has been brought down to match.

    I found a very useful comment on another blog – it turns out that activation just uses SQLite to write a row to a database file. Just plug in the device so you can see it as mass storage, cd to the root of the drive, and do this:

    sqlite3 .kobo/KoboReader.sqlite

    INSERT INTO "user" VALUES('aaaaaaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaa','aaaaaaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaa','xxxx@xxxx.xx','xxxx@xxxx.xx','2aaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaa==');

    I used slightly more sensible values, but still made-up (use “.schema user” at the SQLite command line to see the format of the table). Then just copy books to the drive (either to the root or in subfolders) and it’ll Just Work.

    I may yet get a proper account, however, as Kobo boasts “a million free books”, which I admit is rather tempting! I’m trying out books from Project Gutenberg at present, though the license pre/postamble in each is rather unattractively formatted, so it’d be interesting to try a different source.

  2. Thank you for telling me about this Jon! It’s great. Of course, I should’ve even investigated what was actually going on in the thing, but I just wanted to get reading and rather assumed it would be harder than that. But so good to have the info out there.

    I wonder if Calibre has any way of handling this sort of requirement? I’ve only just started using it, but it seems pretty great — certainly copies files to the device appropriately! (Hm, yes, I realise that’s hardly the most tricky or time-consuming thing to do manually…!)

    I’ve been reading lots of things from Wikisource, as well as PG; you might like to check them out, now they’ve got a working epub export system (in the sidebar, under ‘tools’ I think it is).

    Anyway, now I know that my Kobo can be free from annoying Windows requirements, I like it even more! Thanks again.

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