While we’re waiting for Amazon and Barnes & Noble to launch eBook reader applications for Google Android, it turns out that there’s already a pretty decent option available for anyone looking to download and read eBooks on and Android device. Kobo offers a decent selection of free and paid content, including a number of titles from the New York Times Bestseller list. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Kobo is working in partnership with book retailer Borders.
I downloaded the Kobo Android app today and took it for a spin, and while you might not find every book you’re looking for, the selection is pretty good and the prices aren’t bad either. When you download or purchase books they’re added to your library in a matter of seconds, and the Kobo app will keep track of the last read page on each book.
Your data is synced with the Kobo web site, which means you can also pick up another device and keep reading where you left off.Kobo offers a physical eBook reader as well as a a desktop app for PC and Mac (which is currently only available when you buy a Kobo Reader device, but which should be available for download this summer). There are also apps for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and WebOS.
There are a few quirks with the Android app. For one thing, I found deleting eBooks from my library to be a big hassle. There doesn’t appear to be any way to do this from my phone. Instead, I had to login to the Kobo web site, visit my library, and delete books from the web interface. Next time I launched the Kobo Android app those books were gone. But this seems like a clunky solution.
Also, while the Kobo Android FAQ says that you can create bookmarks by pressing the menu button in any book, I didn’t see any option to create a bookmark. Hopefully this will be addressed in a future release.
While I find the free Aldiko eBook reader a bit more intuitive to use, Kobo has one huge advantage over Aldiko, and that’s the excellent selection of paid content.
You can find more screenshots after the break.