Buy and read books in Kobo’s new Instant Reader
Back last July when Apple’s commission rules forced eBookstores to remove the buy function from their iOS apps I predicted the Majors would soon replace their iOS apps with HTML5 Web Apps which would have the advantage of being cross platform as well as enabling book purchases within the app. Kindle wasn’t long off getting off the mark launching its Web App last August and now Canadian eBookseller Kobo has joined the fray with Instant Reader.
The Kobo Instant Reader currently works on Chrome and Safari Browsers which means you can use it on Windows and Mac PC’s, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android Smartphones and Tablets running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich..an Internet Explorer version is in the works. The Kobo Instant Reader gives you a way to buy books and read them within your browsing environment. Syncing your eBooks seamlessly across all of your devices and apps, the Kobo Instant Reader also bookmarks the last page you read. The best part? Even if you lose your Internet connection, you can keep reading offline. The app set aside up to 50MB of storage for this on my iPad and 100MB on my HTC Sensation Android Smartphone.
I was quite impressed with this new eReader..it loads quickly on my iPad and the colourful landing page shows you the previously purchased books currently in your library as well as several categories of books available for purchase. There is also a search function that helps you find books by Title or Author. I thought it worked better than the search on Kobo’s web page..it is faster and seemed to sort the finds better.
I was more impressed when it came to the reading function..Kobo Instant Reader blows the doors off the company’s iPad application. The type is sharper and easier to read and where the iPad app always had trouble with drop caps and font changes this app displays the page the way the publisher intended. It did take a few pages to get used to the fact page changes are instant rather than flip animations. I like the fact Instant Reader like the apps before it as well as Kobo’s eReaders saves your place and syncs it across all platforms so, you can start a book in the web app and continue on your Kobo Touch and vice versa.
If you are into social media you will notice that Kobo Instant Reader does not include the Facebook integration, Awards and comment functions you will find in the native iOS app. Frankly I don’t consider their absence a huge loss..I prefer the solid uncluttered eReader and Bookstore function of Instant Reader.
Kobo Instant Reader is available for free at http://read.kobobooks.com. If you want to use it on an Android device it must be running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and you will have to download the Chrome Browser as well.