Kobo’s New Desktop App

I’m not doing a review, so if you want one, see: Review: Kobo Desktop Reader

This was my first encounter with it. And I couldn’t figure out where it was storing the books. I looked everywhere. There is no local folder to store the books — even the “free” ones it comes bundled with.

And the quotes around free are the tip-off.

It’s not storing the books locally because it’s not giving you the books.

The books are all in the Cloud. They are streaming to the desktop app.

This accounts for the delays I’m seeing in using it. It also accounts for the lack of a local folder. It also accounts for the lack of a menu option to add DRM-free books already on my hard drive.

However, I haven’t bought any book from Kobo, so I wonder if this behavior changes when something is purchased? I can’t see them syncing a file from the Cloud to a Kobo device or other eBook reader. It has to create a local folder then.

If someone is out there using this app and has purchased a book from Kobo, let me know if a local storage folder is created — and where.

Link for the Kobo Desktop app.

Update: The behavior of the desktop Kobo app is identical to what it is doing with the free eBooks bundled on the Kobo Reader device itself. They are stored in an SQLite database file!

I confirmed they are not streaming from the Cloud by breaking my Internet connection and seeing if I could still read the bundled free books as well as a freebie I downloaded. I could!

This really makes me scratch my head. If the Kobo desktop app can sync with a Sony Reader, for example, it should create a local folder then in order to store the ePub file. And if it does, then I should be able to drop my DRM-free ePubs I’ve collected into that folder to view them with the desktop Kobo app. Right now, I’m not willing to spend $ on an ePub at Kobo to test this hypothesis. So, I’m still waiting for someone out there who is already a Kobo customer to inform me.


Filed under Kobo Reader

9 responses to “Kobo’s New Desktop App

  1. Nic Boshart

    As far as I can tell there’s no local folder for the books, just the database. If I load books onto my reader from the Kobo app, I can’t see them on Digital editions, although I can put books in my Digital Editions library onto my Kobo reader; but those books don’t show up inside my desktop Kobo app.

    • mikecane

      Aha! I was just think the desktop Kobo app wouldn’t be able to read ePub. Now, what about this: Can you access the eBooks like a USB drive with the Kobo Reader plugged in and see the individual ePub files listed? And if so, would one of them dragged into the ADE folder open in ADE for reading?

      • Nic Boshart

        Nope, nothing. You can see the ADE books I put on there, but for the Kobo books there’s nothing but a database.

      • mikecane

        Oh, that is really, really spooky. I can’t recommend Kobo now at all.

        UPDATE: Whoops. I was hasty replying. Kobo still does allow the discrete ePub files to be downloaded. For the Kobo Reader itself, however, it does something very weird.

  2. Nic Boshart

    That’s just for reader though, you can download your epub to Digital Editions, and then the EPUB shows up on your computer in a folder. Just tried it out. It’s just using the Kobo software and reader to read that you don’t actually have an epub file anywhere.

  3. dave bryden

    for the desktop app, the boooks purchased from KOBO are in the following directory:
    C:\Users\(username)\AppData\Local\Kobo\Kobo Desktop Edition\kepub
    I haven’t figured out the format, the files do not have an extension.

  4. Mark Henley

    I just got my a Kobo and Calibre is all you need to push epub files to your Kobo. If you syc back to Calibre any books you have on your Kobo – you will get the epub files onto your mac/pc (you pick a folder you want Calibre to store your local library). I purchased a few epub books before finding Calibre and even browsing the hidden .kobo folder on your Kobo – there are no epub files to be seen! But now I have those books epub files on my computer thanks to Calibre. It also does a great job of converting between pdf/mobi/epub files, and sourcing book covers and metadata. After reading over their Open Source project – I’m very impressed :)

    The developer there also has a fresh SQLite database file if you stuff up mucking around with the Kobo file system. I’m not a programmer – but I found his instructions really easy to follow (yep I’ve deleted my Kobo database and started again after thinking I knew what I was doing lol).

  5. Joey

    Hi, regarding the format of the books, they are in Kepub. This is basically an encrypted ePub3 version. It is read by the Kobo Desktop application and the Kobo devices using a software called Nickel.

    There is a way to convert them, but technically it is illegal. With that in mind, downloading them from the site to ADE is the best way to go.

    Calibre does cause issues in Kobo. I wouldn’t recommend using Calibre to move books onto the Kobo because of how many devices it has “Frozen” by putting books on there.

    If they are DRM free, put them in a folder on the device itself.

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