Today has turned a bit into Kobo Day, as I try to make sense of their system.
What I believe is going on is this:
1) Kobo is its own system, apart from everything else. It stores eBooks in an SQLite database as records and does not use separate files for each book. This would normally be very bad, because we don’t need Yet Another Thing to fragment eBooks even more. However …
2) Since Kobo knows it can’t stand alone and survive, not long after its launch, it also added the ability for customers to download ePub files too.
So, despite Kobo doing things rather strangely with its desktop software, client software, and Kobo Reader, there’s nothing anyone should fear about buying eBooks from Kobo. I downloaded a free sample ePub myself and it opened fine in Adobe Digital Editions — and could also be read in the desktop Sony Reader Library software.
Still, let me illustrate with two screensnaps how the weirdness manifests.
I downloaded the first free eBook I came across via Kobo Desktop. It’s The Last Days of a Rake, from Carina Press.
It looks like this in Kobo Desktop:
And this is how the same book as an ePub in Adobe Digital Editions appears:
So, the version for the desktop client has totally different formatting.
There is nothing wrong with this. It just illustrates how Kobo does things differently. I suppose they thought it would be easier for people to read that way on an upright desktop/notebook screen. Besides, anyone can download the ePub version if that’s what they want to see on their desktop/notebook.
A note about the ePub. The ePub must be downloaded from the Kobo website. It can’t be done via the Kobo Desktop. These are entirely two different things. The ePub will probably download when syncing the Kobo Desktop with a Sony Reader, but the ePub will reside only in the Sony Reader, not in one of the My Documents eBook folders. This makes things a bit complex for those of us who like to know where our eBook files reside.
Anyway, like I said, there’s nothing wrong with any of this and nothing to be worried about. It’s just different from what I’ve been used to and have seen before.
Thanks to Nic Boshart for answering some questions about his Kobo Reader.