Tips & more

10 simple Kobo tips and tricks

Kobo tricks and tips for booklovers

Below you’ll find useful tips and tricks that will let you better use your Kobo device or application.

We share several tips for ebook lovers, and as the list of Kobo tips is growing, you may find it useful to see all of them listed in one place.

Devices such as the Kindle enjoy a lot of blogosphere attention. It’s harder to find any helpful information for devices from other ebook platforms.

One site that you should definitely explore is Good E-reader, where you’ll find a lot of detailed posts about Kobo e-readers and tablets, both in a written word and as video tutorials.

If you’ve spotted any resource for Kobo users, please share the information in the comments below. Thanks!

Kobo tips and tricks

Find free ebooks on Kobo website

Times when ebookstores were luring customers with “millions of free ebooks” are definitely over. It’s harder and harder to find free ebooks on Kobo, but it’s still possible.

There is one thing you have to know before using this tip. Kobo has two interfaces, depending on your location – the country you’re connecting with the web:

  • new interface (top) – USA, UK, Canada, Germany, France, and a couple of other major countries,
  • old interface (bottom) – the rest of the world.

Kobo website - new interface

Kobo website - old interface

To have a chance to browse for free ebooks, you have to use the old interface. How to change a location? Instead of expensive VPN services, you can use a free Chrome or Firefox plugin called Hola!.

Now, you can search for free ebooks. There are two ways:

1. Perform any search using the search box in the top right corner. When a page with search results loads, choose Free Ebooks from a navigation bar.

Find free ebooks on Kobo - perform a search

2. Using the search box will also show free ebooks matching the term you are looking for. Simply, from a drop-down menu select Free Only. You can also sort titles by ratings, title, or by publication date.

Filter free ebooks on Kobo

Change location to buy cheaper books on Kobo

Using the Hola! extension is also good if you don’t want to overpay for books on Kobo.

Usually, if you live outside the US or Canada you have to pay more for the same book. For example, Dr. Sleep by Stephen King costs $7.99 in Canada and the US, but over $18 in other countries.

Kobo - comparison of prices

The differences in prices are a result of publishers’ pricing policy. It’s a bit ironic that users in major countries pay less than users in countries that are of much lower importance to both the ebookstore and publishers.

Instead of $18, you can switch the location to US or Canada using Hola! plugin and should be able to pay for the book $7.99.

Authorize your device with Adobe DRM

Kobo is using Adobe DRM to prevent ebook files from unauthorized distribution. You should be aware of it before you start buying books on Kobo.

If you don’t authorize the device with your Adobe ID, you will be only able to read the book on a first device to which you download it. It won’t open on any other device.

You also won’t be able to open Kobo books on any other platform, if you decide to switch. Adobe DRM is being used by Barnes & Noble, and several ebook vendors in different countries. The key to flexibility is to authorize any app and device with the same Adobe ID.

If you accept the limitations Adobe DRM puts on a user, follow these steps:

1. Get Adobe ID. It’s a combination of the email address and a password you’ll use after signing up on Adobe site.

2. Authorize with your new credentials any of the devices/apps you use. Do it before you download the first ebook. Here is a tip on how to authorize a computer and your mobile devices with Adobe ID credentials.

Find DRM-free ebooks on Kobo website

Many users neglect to shop DRM-ed books. What is good to know is that not all books on Kobo are DRM-ed. For instance, books distributed via Smashwords platform are DRM-free.

There is a quick way to find DRM-free books on Kobo (old interface). You’ll find the hint already on search result pages. Look for the phrase: Download options: EPUB (DRM-Free).

DRM-free Kobo ebooks - how to find them

If you won’t see this information that means the book is DRM-ed.

Get books for Kobo from other sites

You can sideload to your Kobo device or app books from other sites, both free and paid.

The things to remember are:

  • the ebook should be in epub format,
  • the ebook should be DRM-free, or
  • the ebook should have Adobe DRM, and you should use the same Adobe ID.
You won’t be able to sync sideloaded books between devices.

A great online store with lots of professional ebooks on technology, programming, and innovation is O’Reilly Media. All books available there are DRM-free.

There are several great sites where you can find free books for your Kobo. Highlights are presented below. For detailed explanations, please read 9 great sites to browse for free Kobo books.

If you decide to use Project Gutenberg, you’ll find a very helpful option that lets download the files in one click to Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.

Project Gutenberg - Dropbox and Google Drive integration

Add own books to Kobo app in one of the three ways

If you use a Kobo application on a tablet or smartphone, you should be able to add own books in one of the ways described below:

1. Send a file to yourself via email

Send a book file to your email address and open the email app on your mobile device.

Tap on an attachment. A list of apps capable of opening the file will be displayed. Select Kobo app to add the book.

2. Use cloud service app

If you are a registered user of Dropbox or frequently use Google Drive, you probably have relevant apps on your mobile device. This is a way to get books to your Kobo.

Upload the book you want to read on your computer to a Dropbox/Google Drive location. Then open a relevant app on your mobile device, locate the file and tap on it. The same window with icons of book reading apps will appear.

3. Use mobile browser to open a file from url address

Some sites with free ebooks, Project Gutenberg and Feedbooks among them, have tailored their interfaces to mobile devices.

It means you will be able to easily access and browse these sites directly from a mobile browser – as well as download ebook files to Kobo app.

For iOS devices: locate the book you want to download, and tap on an url to a book file (in the screenshot below: Project Gutenberg). Then tap on Open in… and select Kobo.

Kobo - use mobile browser to open a file from url address

These tips should be working not only on iOS, but also on other mobile systems as well.

Quickly send any web page to your Kobo app

If you want to add a web article to your Kobo app for later reading, you can do it using Readability Read Now bookmarklet or browser add-on.

Readability is the best tool to remove online distractions, but it also lets generate clean epub files from web pages that you are reading.

1. If you find the web page which you’d like to add to your Kobo, click on the Read Now bookmarklet or select Read Now from Readability browser add-on.

2. From a left-side panel choose share icon and select epub download option (see screenshot below).

Add web pages to Kobo using Readability

Once the file is downloaded to your computer, you can use one of the methods described in a previous tip to add the file to Kobo app on your mobile device.

Translate words using Google

Many users of this blog don’t perfectly speak English, so this tip should make their lives easier.

By default, all book reading devices and apps, including Kobo, offer dictionary lookup. If the dictionary still doesn’t help, you can use a simple trick to get a translation via Google.

1. Tap on a word you want to translate, then find an option to search Google with this word (screenshot on the left).

2. After web browser opens with search results, in a search box type “translate” before the word, and “to polish” after it.

The pattern to make Google think you want a translation of a word in question is:

translate [word] to [yourlanguage]

You can use translations to any of the 80 languages supported by Google Translate.

Kobo - translate text using Google Translate

The tip should be working in any Kobo app or device that offers Google lookup.

Back up Kobo books to a computer

The books you bought are stored on a device you use to read them. They can also be synced between devices. How to get all of them to a computer?

You can use Adobe Digital Editions application for that. There are versions for PC and Mac computers.

Again, make sure to authorize the computer with the same Adobe ID, otherwise you won’t be able to open the books.

1. In Adobe Digital Editions, look for the command saying “Authorize”. In the Mac app, it’s under Help menu. Type in your Adobe ID.

2. Go to Kobo store, sign in and go to My Library. You’ll see here a list of all the books or book samples you downloaded from Kobo.

To download the book, click on the turquoise button on the right. ”Adobe DRM Epub” means the book has DRM and you’ll be able to open it only with ADE. “Download Epub” means the book is unprotected, so any epub reading application will open it.

Back up Kobo books

Explore more resources

Opposite to Kindle, there is not so easy to find online helpful tips for Kobo users. Below there are some useful links to explore:

How to load ebooks on Kobo e-reader

Good E-reader blog has prepared a video tutorial on how to add own books to Kobo e-reader.

In the video below you’ll learn how to use Calibre ebook management software and Adobe Digital Editions to get own books to Kobo. On Good E-reader blog you’ll find more Kobo tutorials.

Adding public library books to Kobo e-reader

eLIBtronic has a detailed tutorial on how to add ebook content from your local public library. ⇢ Read the article.

How to import ebooks into Kobo Android app

While this post is mostly focused on iOS tips, the article from Little Green Robot will teach you how to add books to Kobo Android app. Specifically, the tutorial explains how to import ebooks from a memory card. ⇢ Read the post.

A trick to fix a buggy Kobo e-reader

Is your Kobo e-reader getting too slow and buggy? The guys from the Ebook Reader Blog have a simple trick to fix it. Changing the date and time in settings will to wonders to your device. ⇢ Read the entire article.

Download Kobo user guides

For a detailed information on how to use Kobo devices, you may need to have a look at Kobo user guides and tutorials. We list below links to pdf guides for all Kobo models (in English).

On an official Kobo support page, you’ll also find tutorials in Dutch, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

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