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”.
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:
- You expect to be able to read the books you’ve paid for when you want to.
- 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.