So I Got Myself an eReader

With my new apartment, the size of my bookcase has more than doubled. Which is a good thing, because the old setup was totally overcrowded. Still, if I keep on acquiring books like I do now, it is sure to overflow again. So, despite still having some fifteen books waiting to be read, I bought an ereader. A Kobo eReader Touch. Research showed that this device complied to all my wishes, and a certain webstore I happen to know had a good deal.

It’s a nice little device, and spending some time with it, I can see this going to work. Apart from the setup, it seems to work like a charm.

You see, I don’t have a Mac, and I don’t use Windows. And despite the device running some sort of Linux, there isn’t a Linux version of the desktop app you need to activate it. You don’t have to use the app to load books on the device (which was one of my requirements: the device has to be a glorified USB-drive), but it appears that without activating the thing, it doesn’t recognize the books you put on it.

So I thought, “Well, I’ll just take it to work tomorrow, and run the setup there.” No dice, as somehow the app couldn’t connect to the internet. I blame the proxy. Poop on your proxies.

Luckily, if you’re not a total computer noob, you don’t need the app to activate it. Setup without the Kobo Desktop App is as simple as running a query* against the sqlite3-database. The only apparent downsides are that you can’t buy books directly from the Kobo store, and that don’t get automatic firmware-updates. But no worries: updating the Kobo Touch firmware is as easy as unzipping a zip file to a folder and disconnecting the device from your computer.

With some Google-magic, you can easily find lovely, freely available books. The University of Adelaide has a broad selection of classics, the Shakespeare editions of Feedbooks seem to be excellent, and Project Gutenberg offers over 40,000 free ebooks. Special recommendation: Cthulhu Chick’s Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft. (Wait, what? Where you can find the latest books free of charge? If you need help with that, why not just go pay for ’em, you cheapskate.)

Once it gets into regular use, you’ll surely hear more about it.

* The database is located at .kobo/KoboReader.sqlite on the device, and the query is INSERT INTO "user" VALUES('foo','bar','Your Name Goes Here','','baz'); or whatever values you like. Doesn’t really seem to matter. The fields are UserID, UserKey, UserDisplayName, UserEmail and ___DeviceID respectively.