Overview: Kobo Clara HD and Kobo Plus

I just received my new ereader, the Kobo Clara HD. This not an affiliated post, I bought it because I wanted it and love the Kobo brand. So I want to write up a short overview about why Kobo and the ereader itself. A full review a side by side comparison to my old Kobo will be up later. And I’ll do a deep dive into the Kobo Plus program with my top picks. For now, here are my initial thoughts!

Why Kobo?

Waaaay back when, let’s say around the time ecommerce first took off here, I wanted an ereader. It was at the start of my university days and an ereader would make reading PDFs so much easier. Every class I signed up for had more than ten PDFs I had to read. With a commute of nearly an hour, it would save me so much time to read on the train. My first ereader was a Sony. I might still have it too and it works.

But back then, Bol.com (the Dutch Amazon) was the only retailer I knew off that sold ebooks. Amazon wasn’t available here and I didn’t have a credit card. Bol.com partnered with Kobo soon and all of the ebooks I had were transferred to my Kobo account. I didn’t have much of a choice but I liked Kobo. It had (nearly) everything I wanted which was way more than my local bookstore could offer. I’ve stuck with Kobo since then.

Even now, I still wouldn’t abandon my Kobo account in favour of an Amazon account or Kindle and that’s a personal decision. I don’t agree with some of the practices of Amazon and it’s not healthy for a company to have such an monopoly. They’re not a majority player in the Netherlands yet but the Prime Days this week only proved that even the Dutch market is being sucked in.

Picking Kobo is a conscious choice now. And I vote with my wallet.

Kobo Clara HD

At the beginning of the year, I thought about getting a new ereader. When I started looking into new ones, the Kobo Nia was just announced. It wasn’t that expensive and was a slight upgrade from my old Kobo. I don’t really need nifty features, although I quite like the backlit screen when I want to read at night. That was the one I wanted to go. Until I saw a Reddit post about the Amazon Prime days. Apparently, Bol.com was price matching and the Kobo Clara HD was only ten euro more expensive than the Nia, and it had another month of free Kobo Plus. I googled what other people thought, and found a consensus that the Clara was the better option of the two. Even without the discount. I didn’t have to think twice and ordered it.

The box is very simple and only includes the ereader, a USB cable, and a quick start booklet. If you have wifi, setting it up won’t be a problem and you can start reading in less than five minutes. After signing in, my active ‘am reading’ books were added immediately and could dive into the books I was reading on my phone or old ereader. The synchronize feature makes it super easy to switch between devices too. It’s great.

I also picked out a nice magenta sleepcover by Dutch Shield, a local business. So my new ereader looks completely different from my old one. I like it so far. The screen seems so much better and I can see the covers more clearly. I’ll do a side by side review between my two Kobos later when I’ve used it for a longer period but I’m thrilled. It responds so much better and the transitions are smoother.

Kobo Plus

Kobo Plus is a relatively new subscription plan. It launched in Canada this year and was on trial in the Netherlands and Belgium before that (Bol.com is a big reason why Kobo is so big in the Netherlands). It’s a monthly fee of ten euro for the ebook only plan. There’s also an audiobook only and a combined plan which is a few euro more expensive. But contrary to Kindle Unlimited, Kobo Plus has no exclusivity. The books you read there can be available in other places.

I haven’t used it yet, but wanted to for the longest time. I just never felt like the time was right. There are so many books I want to read and waiting until my review requests and book tours quieted down seemed so far away. Now with this deal I’ll just have to make more time for reading. So that’s what I’m going to do. You get one month for free and with the code I got, I have two free months. I want to use the in November and December since they should be quieter in terms of reading obligations. The ereader immediately showed me a dozen or so pages of recommended books in Kobo Plus.

Ten euro a month to read unlimited books is worth it. The only thing you have to consider is how many books you’ve downloaded. They only allow up to 15 downloads and if you download a 16th, the oldest one will be deleted from your device. If you finished it already, there’s not really a problem though. The price of books might be higher on Kobo but that only means it’s even more worth it.

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