Kobo no-show now no-go

Over a year ago, I started downloading eBooks for their ease of use; having a library with you when travelling without the weight or awkwardness of a pile of books was brilliant. Having a book in my possession moments after reading a great review was another bonus. Over the time, I’ve used the Kobo, Kindle and iBooks apps, all pretty much without incident.

Until this week.

I’ve been taking my iPad to the gym to read, it’s ideal for using on the treadmill as pages stay open (unlike a traditional book) and there’s a ledge on the treadmill that’s just perfect for it. But upon opening the Kobo app, several of my books had disappeared; including one that I was in the middle of. Kindle to the rescue for the moment and I was able to read something from that app. I went home and looked more deeply into the problem. Kobo issued a statement through the app explaining the problem and how to fix it.

It didn’t work for me. I updated my iOS, updated Kobo app. Reloaded library from website. No deal. The books just wouldn’t load from website to app. After several hours of faffing around, I sent an email to the Kobo help centre. I waited a while, giving Kobo time to reply, seeing that we’re in different timezones. Nothing. I tweeted. Nothing.

Days later, still silence. I retried all of the suggested steps. Still no deal. I went to the settings on the iPad and decided to use an advanced setting “clear all local data”.

Set "clear local data" to on

Set "clear local data" to on

Upon opening the Kobo app, I needed to sign in and my library was totally empty. It was like I was using the app for the first time. However, once signed in, all of my books started to load. Yes, all of them. This step was not mentioned in any of Kobo help information.

A quick Google search today shows that there are plenty of people around the world having issues with Kobo customer service. My gripe is twofold:

  1. You expect to be able to read the books you’ve paid for when you want to.
  2. You expect some customer service for items you’ve paid for. I’ve had none.

The other thing that worries me is that as a teacher librarian, we’re pushing on with eBooks in schools and trying to convince the naysayers that they’re the future.

Issues like those I’ve had are not going to win eBooks any fans. And I can just hear the naysayers saying things like “that’d never happen with a real book!” And they’re right. For the public as a whole to take on eBooks as a default requires issues like these to be non-existant. Or fixed quickly.

I certainly won’t be recommending Kobo to anyone, let along buying anymore of their titles. I will stick with the Kindle and iBooks apps though, as I’ve not had any problems with them. It’s a shame as personally I preferred the layout and screen view of Kobo.

Why a library is like an Apple store

The draft of this post has been hanging around since April and considering I have the flu, an audioboo is not a great idea… So here goes:

Have you been to an Apple store? I hope so, otherwise this post is going to be pretty meaningless to you!

I’ve been thinking about this comparison for a while and when Jenny Luca tweeted something similar from the #ccaeducause conference a while back, I knew it was finally time to get my thinking down on paper (well, you know what I mean!)

Assuming that you have been to an Apple store, there are lots of comparisons that could be made with libraries.

– They are well designed and inviting spaces.
– The customer service is second-to-none.
– The Genius bar staff are like librarians: expert problem solvers who make you feel valued, not stupid (as some other tech support people/places do).
– Free classes are conducted to help you learn more about your area of interest.
– There’s room for play, browsing and customer service.
– The staff are genuinely passionate about their job.
– Once you leave, you can’t wait to go back.

If you can think of any more examples, I’d love to hear them.