This weekend I went down to my parents’ house, spending half of Saturday and most of Sunday visiting with my parents, brother and sister-in-law, and two-month-old niece, and blogging from home. (That’s me at left, blogging from my parents’ kitchen table with my Kobo and iPad visible in the background.) When I went, I took my new Kobo Wireless reader and the Literati I was reviewing with me.
While the Literati didn’t last long, the Kobo made a lasting impression on my father. (I wish I’d remembered to photograph him reading it.) A longtime fan of Anthony Trollope, he fell in love while reading the Trollope story “Aaron Trow” from its screen, and sent me back with a check asking me to pick one up for him. (I hope the local Borders still has some. I’ll be leaving for work early today to check. It seems that some Borders are marking their Kobos down to $40; it would be great if that happened here so I could afford to get one for each parent.)
I think the Kobo will make a great choice for my parents’ e-reading needs. My folks have very little interest in buying e-books. Dad doesn’t even buy new paperback books, let alone hardcovers—he tends to restrict his purchases to used books. (He has plenty of patience, so sees no need to pay a premium for impatience.)
But he’s very interested in Project Gutenberg. As he was browsing Project Gutenberg, peering with interest at the 76 Trollope titles available, marveling at all the Wilkie Collins titles he’d never heard of, and telling me how R. Austin Freeman’s novel The Red Thumb-mark represented the first use of counterfeit fingerprints in a detective story, he remarked that the e-reader would open up a whole new world for him.
With that in mind, a reader that can handle EPUB files is a must. Since he has no interest in new-book shopping, an integrated store isn’t really an important consideration. It doesn’t matter if Borders goes belly-up; he’ll keep downloading and reading EPUBs from Project Gutenberg with no problems at all. And likewise, integrated Internet doesn’t matter either because they don’t use the Internet that much anyway.
I fear I may end up like Joanna in that I have to load the e-books onto the device for him, but I’m at least going to try to teach him how it’s done, since I’d like for him to be able to do it himself. We’ll see how it goes.