Kobo – the company that couldn’t shoot straight

Well it seems Kobo is not content with selling sub-par, flawed hardware.  Now their software guys are stepping down their game.  Well most e-Readers consider their reason for existence to allow you to save and read your books, Kobo seems to think the ‘save’ part is optional:

Slashdot: Kobo Customers Losing Books After Software Upgrade

You should probably backup your library and avoid the upgrade until this gets sorted out.  Caveat Emptor

 

Crazy – I bought another Kobo

But not from Kobo, or course.  www.factorydirect.ca

Kobo sucks slightly less at 49$

Crazy Cheap Kobo

As I mentioned earlier, Kobo are dumping their crappy readers on liquidation companies. While I would never buy anything they designed again, I would happily save a boatload of money on standard Chinese Android tablet that Kobo couldn’t sell! For 49$ (CANADIAN) I get a 1280×800 dual core Android 4.0 16 Gb standard tablet. I just needed it for watching movies and reading books (using the Kindle app, of course) so it is the best deal available. I will write a more complete review after my next trip, as it is available for 69$ normally, and you may want to pick one up, and remove the Kobo app!

First app I am installing:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amazon.kindle&hl=en

Stuck on Kobo by book purchases? Use the law of averages!

Many are stuck.  They have made a big investment in books, all locked to their buggy, failing Kobo devices.  This is the problem of ending up in a failing business ecosystem:  you’ld love to leave for a better device, but you will lose all the books you have already purchased, along with free books from promo’s that are no longer available.  While I would NEVER recommend purchasing another Kobo product, or investing more money in books locked to that environment, there are two ways to protect you investment:

1.  While to Kobo software is very buggy, the worse problem is their hardware is cheap, pathetic and flawed.  Most of the issue arise from hardware, so one path is to lose the hardware.  Kobo has both an IOS (iPhone/iPod/iPad) and Android (phone/tablet) app that lets use move your books to any of the great hardware available from other companies.  The upside is you don’t have to worry about hardware failures.  The downside is, it is only truly and option for those that have a device already.

2.  Kobo’s hardware is so bad, they can’t even sell it all.  To get rid of the excess inventory, the ‘fire sale’ it to overstock companies like Factory Direct (www.factorydirect.ca).  Currently there are 20 different Kobo readers available ranging in price from 29 to 129$ CAD.  While they will likely be as crappy as the one you currently have, 29$ can buy you a year or more with your books.  For 69$ you can get the Android Kobo.  The big advantage there is that Kobo did not build or design the hardware.  It is a standard Chinese Android tablet with the Kobo app added.  I will last for years, and you can download the Kindle app not buy any more books from Kobo!

Factory Direct Kobo Search

Probably the best choice is a general device (I went with Google Nexus + Kindle app), but I do miss the e-Ink display and longer battery life.  My kids are using the Sony e-Ink Reader, and I may get one of those as well.

Kobo support is telling me to take the opportunity to look at other readers

Bill posted a great comment, I just had to share:

Kobo support knows six things, reset, factory reset, reload your Kobo Desktop, not under warranty can’t replace, we don’t fix them, and goodbye have a nice day.

My wife’s Kobo Glo started dropping books, for no reason they disappeared. Other books that had previously downloaded when opened ‘Ooops, file not found. On the phone to Kobo support four times. They had me do a reset, then a factory reset with a resync, then delete and reinstall my Kobo Desktop then do a factory reset but syncing through wireless. The syncing would show books loading but only the bookcovers were there. Open a book, a blank page. After four hours, Kobo support responded ‘we’ve helped you as much as we can, its not under warranty so we can’t exchange it, we don’t repair them, you will have to go to a retailer and buy another reader, take the opportunity to look at other readers have a nice day, goodbye.’

Kobo support is telling me to take the opportunity to look at other readers? Huh? They don’t believe in their own product?

I did another factory reset and a sync but the Kobo seized on loading. It bricked (a new term I got off ‘Kobo Sucks’ on the internet). According to advise on the internet the only fix for a bricked Kobo is to take the back cover off, take out the SD card with the firm wear, scrub the SD card and reload the firm wear. But you have to be a linux type to do this. I went t a electronics repair shop but they just said it wasn’t worth the effort.

I have my own Kobo and they offered to transfer the books associated with this Kobo Glo to my account. we have invested quite a bit into books in Kobo format that can’t be transferred to another reader.

I had to keep a paper clip on the bedside table to reset these Kobo’s as they tended to seize up while your reading.

It’s sad, a Canadian product and support group that simply sucks! I hear the Sony ereader works well, stay away from Kobo.

He is, of course, absolutely right on Kobo ‘support’.  The truly amazing thing is that even the support technician knows how badly Kobo devices suck!  He couldn’t come right out and say it, but I think the suggestion that a broken Kobo is an “opportunity to look at other readers” is bang on, and probably the nicest thing he was allowed to do.

Kobo Glo Reset SUCCESS! And a new tech support vector

I posted JK’s comment as an article yesterday.  Today he has commented, and its good news:  JK contacted Kobo via private message on their facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/kobo

And received good support very quickly.  I would recommend trying this for anyone having trouble with their Kobo, as there seems to be a real person monitoring their page.

The advice JK got to reset his Kobo Glo that worked (the instructions here did not for his Glo) are:

1.Ensure that the device is powered off
2.Press and hold the Light button
3.Slide the power switch to the right, hold for one second, let go of the switch
4.Continue to hold the Light button until the small light to the left of the power switch flashes
5.Let go of the Light button

In my case the time between letting go of the power switch (step 3) and the light flashing (step 4) was only about half a second. After that the ‘restoring’ message came up on the screen and this time it didn’t freeze but just carried on and let me then connect and set up the Glo again as normal.

I’ll be updating the reset page here with this info as well.  His comment is on the 25th Jan 2015 post as well as copied below:

JK said:

Hi there. I have some good news, and a recommendation for anyone who wants to carry on using their Kobo ereaders rather than drop them in the nearest bin. I asked my question via private message to the Kobo facebook page, and within a day had a really helpful response which enabled me to perform a factory reset on my unresponsive Glo. This time it worked perfectly, and I have been able to reload the Glo with the books in my library and from ADE. So for future reference, I would recommend contacting the fb page, as whoever works there is polite, helpful and seems to have a clue (unlike a lot of my experience with Kobo customer services).

For the record, the (super simple!) way to factory reset the Glo when it was unresponsive was this (copied and pasted from the message I received on fb):

1.Ensure that the device is powered off
2.Press and hold the Light button
3.Slide the power switch to the right, hold for one second, let go of the switch
4.Continue to hold the Light button until the small light to the left of the power switch flashes
5.Let go of the Light button

In my case the time between letting go of the power switch (step 3) and the light flashing (step 4) was only about half a second. After that the ‘restoring’ message came up on the screen and this time it didn’t freeze but just carried on and let me then connect and set up the Glo again as normal.

So credit where it’s due, I’m glad I saw elsewhere the tip to contact the fb page because they were SO much better than customer services. I’m really pleased it’s worked out this time. I tell you what though, I’m going to be super-careful about backing up my books now!

Thanks for your blog – it’s been really enlightening reading with some really helpful links, and I feel much more equipped now to find help should the same thing happen again. Cheers!

A great comment from JK on the current state of Kobo ‘tech support’

Had a great comment from JK I wanted to share on the front page:

So after a load of to-ing and fro-ing with kobo customer services (who I have to say are THE most frustrating customer services I have ever dealt with – it’s like every time I do as I’m advised the problems get even worse) I was advised that I needed to do a factory reset. I’ve got everything backed up, luckily, but I’d really love to be able to read them on my Glo rather than on my computer. The first time I tried the power and light buttons method, it seemed to be working and I got the ‘restoring’ message on the screen, but then it just froze. So I tried the second method they suggested (light button and paperclip in the pinhole), but the same thing happened again (only quicker this time). Now I can’t switch my Glo on at all. If I hold the power button for a few seconds I get a flashing light, a quick flash on the screen then nothing, it’s just blank. I’ve tried doing further factory resets, but this time absolutely nothing is happening. It was fully charged at the time. I did try plugging it into the computer to see what would happen, but again – nothing. I am worried after reading the above comments that the screen has disconnected.
I have left messages with customer services, with the facebook page and now here, as I am just so frustrated at this. Up until now (I’ve had the Glo a few months) I have absolutely loved it, it’s a great reader, and if it wasn’t for the terrible customer service I would have recommended it to all and sundry. I have heard awful things about people returning products to kobo and being accused of dropping the reader, I really don’t want to have to go down that road if I can help it, but it might well come to that. (I do have a Sony reader too, but since my laptop crashed and I had to reinstall Windows it has refused to open DRM-protected books, even the ones that were on there that I had previously read, so I can’t even transfer everything to that. The reason I bought the Glo was to get round that problem). I’m really hoping someone here will be more helpful than Kobo customer services ever have been! Thanks for any help (or commiserations, which I suspect is all I can expect. Sigh).

It’s important to share these stories to stop others from thinking Kobo will help them or has a quality product.

Kobo has officially commented today on the 4 plus year old issue

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So there is hope! Wait 4 years, and you too might be blessed with a comment from the kobo ‘gods’ on high.

http://the-digital-reader.com/2014/09/26/kobo-promises-fix-ebook-download-issue/

“Kobo Promises to Fix eBook Download Issue” – this is not a promise I would recommend taking to the bank, or anywhere else you need it to work. Sort of like a Kobo, no?

Kobo can’t sell Glos, sends them to liquidator

No surprise:  nobody want a crappy Kobo Glo, so they are selling them off via a liquidator:

 

Untitled

 

I still would not recommend buying a Kobo at any price, but if you stuck due to ebook purchases, at least when this one breaks you only wasted 80$.  Here’s the link, for those that care:

http://www.factorydirect.ca/DealoftheDay.aspx

(this will be no good tomorrow).  If you want another one, they seem to liquidating a lot of them:

http://www.factorydirect.ca/Category/Ereaders/5Z02.aspx?param=+zlaAA3iFQOnfXTlGj8e3w==

 

Kobo’s still up to their old tricks

When Kobo shut down their user forum, they did so for a good reason: the forum made it easy to see that their product line had major problems and they were no being addressed. Now that its gone, it does seem that you hear a lot less about Kobo and their issues. A lot less that is, until you find a popular post on Kobo with a comment section.

http://goodereader.com/blog/electronic-readers/the-kobo-e-reader-is-having-lots-of-problems

is a good case in point.  The issue discusses if very specific, but if you look at the comments, all the issues that Kobo has had historically are still not being addressed.  “Come for the frozen screen, and stay for the broken power button” assuming you can get you books on the device at all.  For Kobo, closing their user forum was the right move.  Leaving it up much longer would have made their many warts too apparent to anyone with internet access.  For consumers, hopefully the grass roots ground swell will eventually be able to get past Kobo’s paid advertising in Google, and force them to fix their problems, or stop selling their inferior and flawed product.