Kobo Aura HD Review: No Amazon Lock-in
Thanks to tablets and their ability to run an Amazon Kindle app, lock-in isn’t as big an issue as it once was. Still, the fact remains that if you buy a Kindle e-reader, you’re locked in to Amazon’s ecosystem. Kindle e-books use a proprietary AZW file format that’s incompatible with other e-readers.
The Kobo Aura HD supports ePUB as its primary file format. DRM is still present, but ePUB is considered a more transferable format. While Kobo itself runs a very robust e-bookstore (it’s no Amazon.com but carries over 4 million e-books and magazines), I frequently buy e-books from Sony’s e-bookstore — which also uses ePUB — and read them on the Kobo. I can’t do that with my Kindle.
In fact, now that Sony is bowing out of e-books in North America, it’s arranged to transfer Reader customers over to Kobo. Google (GOOG) Play also supports Kobo e-readers for digital book … but not Kindles.
As I said, lock-in is much less of a concern than it used to be and for you it may be a non-issue. But if you’re at all worried about Amazon becoming essentially your sole source of e-books or that Kindles will be your only choice as an e-reader going forward once you start buying Kindle e-books, then the Kobo Aura HD is a good alternative.