Kobo eReader

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The Kobo eReader


Kobo eReader

  • Made by: Kobo
  • Released: May 2010 (Australia & Canada), June 2010 (New Zealand)
  • Predecessor: none
  • Languages Supported: English
  • File Types Supported: ePUB, PDF, Adobe ADE. Beginning with 1.8.1 for the Kobo-1, the reader also displays RTF, txt, html and a variety of image formats.


The first dedicated Reader from Kobo. Software was previously released for smartphones together with an eBook Web site. The reader features a minimal keypad interface, a vinyl quilted back, and has gela skins available in multiple colours and designs.

The built in eBook manager allows you to organize your library any way you like – by title, date last read, or author. This eBook reader is marketed internationally by Borders (in Australia and the US) and by Whitcoulls (in NZ). WH Smith in the UK began marketing the reader in late December 2010.

The newest reader version has Wi-Fi built-in, to browse and buy. The specifications also cover the differences for Wi-Fi.


  • Colors: Porcelain, Black, Lilac, Blue, Silver.
  • Device Size: (WiFi/Original) 7.2” × 4.7” × 0.40” (184 × 120 × 10 mm)
  • Weight: 221g (7.05 oz).
  • display size: 6” E Ink 800x600 pixels 8 level grayscale for original Kobo, 16 levels for WiFi version,
  • Memory: 1 GB (No. of Books): 1000
  • Memory Expansion: SD card (32GB max)
  • Font sizes: 5
  • Choice of Font Styles: Serif and SansSerif
  • Pre-loaded content: 100 FREE, complete eBooks
  • Kobo Touch E-book file formats: ePub, PDF, Adobe DRM
  • Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi
  • Battery: up to 10,000 page turns
  • 4 way navigation buttons: Home, Menu, Back, Display/Shop, center select.
  • http://www.koboereader.com/
  • http://www.kobobooks.com/ – they claim 2 million eBooks.
  • Kobo eReader disassembled


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See Also

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Official Support Options

As of September 17, 2013. Please note that this wiki does not always have the current device information.

Effective September 30, 2013, Kobo will no longer be utilizing Get Satisfaction.

Kobo’s Twitter feed can be reached by tweeting to @KoboHelp. You can also find Kobo on Facebook, or visit the blog to receive updates about what’s new.

For support via email, please contact Kobo at help@kobo.com (email address does not work anymore)

You can also get information about the various devices, phone support, and chat with a Kobo rep linked.

All the phone numbers are listed.

Host application

There is a community created host application available for the KoboReader for Windows, Mac, and GNU/Linux boxes. It is a database application that manages the books on the Reader. The database is documented.

Kobo FAQ

I can't change the font size of some epubs on my Kobo

There is an issue in the first release of the firmware – see this thread for more details and an automated utility to fix problematic ePubs.

I thought my Kobo was supposed to last for 8000 pages, what gives?

See the discussion here. (Note: Kobo has stated on their Facebook page that the upcoming firmware update will "extend" battery life)

My battery status indicator isn't accurate. Why not?

Currently the battery status meter (found on the Menu screen of the Kobo eReader) only updates when the device first powers up. Therefore it might appear that the battery isn't depleting when in fact it is. To get an accurate reading you will need to power your Kobo eReader off and on again. (Note: Kobo has stated on their Facebook page that the upcoming firmware update will fix problems with the battery indicator)

How do I get rid of the 100 free books installed on my new Kobo?

The 100 free books are stored in the Kobo's internal SQLite database; there are no individual files for each book. You can remove ALL of them by simply deleting the KoboReader.sqlite file from the \.kobo directory (using My Computer or any file managers). Be sure to backup the the database file before deleting it, and store the backup in a safe place (this is not strictly necessary if you don't care about losing those 100 free books). Once you have deleted the database, you need to sync the Kobo through the desktop app. This will create a fresh, empty database file.

Note that this will not only remove the 100 free books, but also any books loaded on the Kobo through the official desktop app or ADE. You will also lose all the bookmarks (current page) of any regular ePubs on the device (the ePub files themselves will remain, and will be reprocessed as new books when the Kobo is unplugged).

If you are interested in selectively removing individual books, you can use Calibre. Since version 0.7.5 the (previously beta) Kobo driver, with this functionality, has been included in the live trunk.

How do I transfer ePub files to my Kobo eReader?

Currently the Kobo Desktop Application only allows you to transfer books purchased from Kobo to the eReader. For ePubs you can use one of the following methods:

  • Calibre: Calibre is a free sotware application for Windows, Mac, and Linux. After you have downloaded an ePub, PDF, LIT or other format ebook to your computer, Calibre allows you to 'add' it to your computer's Calibre library. The software allows you to convert from one format to another, add cover art, and modify the layout of the ebooks to some extent. You can then transfer this library to your Kobo, either all at once or one book at a time as you add them. If you replace your Kobo or wish to clear it out, you can reload the ebooks from Calibre. Separately, you can still use the Kobo software to purchase, maintain, and download your purchased ebooks. The Kobo's library will be the sum of the libraries you have on your computer.

It is important to note that Calibre can be used to manage ebooks that are wrapped in various forms of DRM, but it cannot be used to open/view protected ebooks or convert them into other formats. To add a DRM protected ebook to your Calibre library, download the protected file with the appropriate client software if necessary (Adobe ADE, Sony Reader software, etc), locate the file, and import it into Calibre like any other book.

  • ADE: Adobe Digital Editions is a free software application for managing ebooks. ADE can be used to transfer ePubs to your Kobo eReader.
  • Drag 'n' Drop: When connected to your computer by USB the Kobo eReader shows up as a USB storage device. Drag and drop ePub files from your local hard drive to the root of the Kobo.
  • Send by email: Sendtokobo is a free ‘Send to Kindle’-like service for Kobo e-readers

How do I fix the "Content is Locked" message for books without DRM?

Ebooks with titles or author names containing apostrophes can sometimes cause this spurious 'locked' message and render the ebook unreadable on the Kobo (although you can read the ebook using Calibre on your computer). Using Calibre, edit the title and/or author name to remove the apostrophes and re-send the ebook to your Kobo. Alternatively, if you don't wish to alter the title/author of your master copy in Calibre, you can manually remove any apostrophe's in appropriate folders and filenames on the Kobo itself.

This error may also occur if you attempt to remove a book from main memory by deleting the *.epub file directly on your desktop computer's file manager. The file is gone but the database indicates it still exists; selecting it gives the confusing DRM "content is locked" instead of the more-accurate "file not found". Deleting the entry from the Kobo books list through the menus or deleting it from Calibre should fix any such 'zombie' database records for deleted books.

How do I fix the "Content is Locked" message for books with Adobe DRM?

In order to access the content follow these steps

  1. Delete the file from Adobe Digital Editions
  2. Make sure the date and time of your ereader is set correctly
  3. De-authorize your computer and eReader
  4. Factory reset the Kobo.

Warning: Performing a factory reset deletes any reading material added to the Kobo. Synchronizing the Kobo afterwards will restore any books from purchased from the Kobo Store, but will not restore any books or documents obtained from other sources.Back up copies of these books and documents before you proceed

Factory Reset

  • Press the Menu button on the left side of the eReader
  • Highlight Settings
  • Press the center of the Navigation Pad
  • Highlight Advanced at the top of the page
  • Press the center of the Navigation Pad
  • Highlight Reset Device Now
  • Press the center of the Navigation Pad
  • When asked whether you want to proceed, highlight Continue
  • Press the center of the Navigation Pad
  • The Kobo will reset to original factory condition
  • Authorize the device and computer:
    • Plug in the Kobo
    • Open ADE
    • You will be prompted to authorize your device with your Adobe ID login
    • Redownload the file and transfer it to your Kobo.

Note: If this is a library book, you will need to ask the library for a fresh download of the epub to renew the loan.

Why can't I turn my Kobo eReader off?

To turn your Kobo eReader off press the blue button located on the top right edge of the unit. Once the device has been powered off the screen will display the cover of the book you are currently reading, and at the bottom of the screen will be the message "Press power button to start reading". Although the screen continues to display an image, rest assured that your eReader is turned off and not consuming battery power! The Kobo eReader has an eInk screen that permanently displays an image even after the device has been powered off.

(Note that, if the Kobo has stopped responding for some reason, you will need to press and hold the power button for about ten seconds to turn the device off. There is no on-screen acknowledgement in this case to indicate the device is indeed off, but a subsequent press of the power button will turn the Kobo back on.)

How can I change the paragraph justification of my ePub books?

Currently the kobo eReader has no inbuilt method for reformatting an ePub. However if your ePub is not DRM-protected you can reformat the ePub prior to transferring it to the Kobo eReader.

One method to achieve this is to add the ePub to your Calibre library, and convert it from ePub to ePub. During the conversion process you can change the text alignment (justification) under Calibre's 'Look and Feel' menu.

What's up with the page number display?

Any books loaded onto the Kobo using the official desktop application will show page numbers per chapter. All other books will show page numbers over a total count. If you prefer the total page count method, download books from Kobo using the 'Download ePub' link and Adobe ADE.

How can I deauthorize a Kobo (or other) device using ADE?

PC instructions:

  • Open ADE on your pc, connect the Kobo to the pc.
  • Then press Ctrl, Shift, E. You should get a box asking of you want to deauthorize, select yes.
  • Unplug your Kobo from the computer, and plug it in again. Now you should get a box saying that a new device has been detected and you can authorize it.

Mac OS X instructions

  • Open ADE on your Mac, connect the Kobo to the it.
  • Then press Cmc-Shift-E. You should get a box asking of you want to deauthorize, select yes.
  • Unplug your Kobo from the computer, and plug it in again. Now you should get a box saying that a new device has been detected and you can authorize it.

How can I deauthorize a a computer using ADE?

PC instructions:

  • Open ADE on your PC.
  • Then press Ctrl, Shift, D. You should get a box asking of you want to deauthorize the computer, select yes. ADE will close.
  • Open ADE again. Go to library view. Click on the drop down "library" menu. Choose "authorize computer"

Mac OS X instructions

  • Open ADE on your MAC
  • Then press CMD, Shift, D. You should get a box asking of you want to deauthorize the computer, select yes. ADE will close.
  • Open ADE again. Go to library view. Click on the drop down "library" menu. Choose "authorize computer"

How do I 'side-load' PDF and unencrypted epub files into the Kobo application using iTunes?

  1. Ensure you have version 3.4 or later of the Kobo application installed on your device and that you device is running and iOS version that supports side-loading (iPhones/iPods that can run iOS 4.0 or later, and all iPads, regardless of the iOS version they are running.)
  2. Launch iTunes
  3. Connect your device to iTunes
  4. Select the device from the Devices list in iTunes
  5. Click on the "Apps" tab for the selected device
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the Apps page, you should see a "File Sharing" section
  7. Click On the Kobo icon that is displayed in the File Sharing section
  8. Drag and drop PDF and/or unencrypted epub files into the Kobo Documents section, or use the "Add..." button to add the files.
  9. iTunes should automatically sync the files to the Device
  10. Launch the Kobo application and you should see the files you added via iTunes are now visible.

It runs Linux – are the sources published as they should be?

Yes, source code has been published for both the Kobo and Kobo Wifi as dumps on GitHub. They're tarballs in git (ugh) and lack version history, but they've kept their patches to libraries separate from the original library archives so it's pretty usable. Unfortunately they haven't kept their kernel patches (if any) separate from the original eb600 2.6.18 kernel. gtalusan, who published the sources on GitHub, is responsive and helpful.

The Epson S1D13521 display driver is included as binaries without sources, but appears to be a backport to 2.6.18 from newer kernels where it's included in the main tree.

In addition to the libraries and kernel used on the device, the sources to some helper programs like the wifi monitor daemon have been released, though there was no legal requirement to do so. Thanks!

The Kobo user interface program that runs on the device is not open source and is not included. They are not obliged to release source code to it, as it links only to MIT/BSD/LGPL code. It's unfortunate that the code to the app isn't published, as it uses the Qt Embedded toolkit and would be fun to enhance and tweak. Many improvements are desired by the community and could be made if only the code (or even a plugin interface) existed.

How do I get into its guts, hack its firmware, or run programs on it?

Soapy frogs has some documentation on this.

More information is being written here on the wiki: Kobo WiFi Hacking, Kobo eReader disassembled

Fixing Custom Fonts To Display Correctly

Although Kobo makes it very easy to load your own fonts there are a few strict rules about filenames and internal font metrics for them to work properly. This uses Amazon Ember as an example.

1. The Amazon firmware contains a lot of Ember font files. Make sure you pick a matched set of 4. I suspect the 4 you need all have an internal font name of Amazon Ember (not Amazon Ember Medium or Amazon Ember Bold or Amazon Ember Heavy). The 4 original filenames are:

  • Amazon-Ember-Bold.ttf
  • Amazon-Ember-BoldItalic.ttf
  • Amazon-Ember-Regular.ttf
  • Amazon-Ember-RegularItalic.ttf

2. Kobos have a strict file naming convention. The first part of the filename needs to match exactly the internal font name of Amazon Ember (not Amazon-Ember). For this particular font, the second part of the italic filename, -RegularItalic, needs to be replaced with -Italic. So rename as follows:

  • Amazon-Ember-Bold.ttf --> Amazon Ember-Bold.ttf
  • Amazon-Ember-BoldItalic.ttf --> Amazon Ember-BoldItalic.ttf
  • Amazon-Ember-Regular.ttf --> Amazon Ember-Regular.ttf
  • Amazon-Ember-RegularItalic.ttf --> Amazon Ember-Italic.ttf

3. Unfortunately, this one is more complicated. Kobos don't like the Panose Weight font metric Amazon use inside some of their fonts. This needs to be manually corrected with a font editor utility, e.g. FontForge (free) or FontCreator (not free).

The original Ember files are using Panose Weight values of Medium (-Regular and -Italic font files) and Demi (-Bold and -BoldItalic font files). Instead of values Medium/Demi Kobo expects values of Book/Bold respectively.

Here is how to use FontForge to change font Panose Weight.

  1. First take a copy of all 4 original ttf files. It's quite easy in FontForge to overwrite the original if you get a bit click-happy
  2. Open FontForge, navigate to xxx-Regular.ttf and double-click it. This will open a new window displaying the glyphs.
  3. From the menu goto Element > Font Info.
  4. From the left-hand column highlight OS/2 and click the tab labelled Panose. You should see something like the first attached image.
  5. You will see a column of metrics, each with a drop-down menu. Weight is the 3rd item. If its value is anything other than Book, click the drop-down and select Book.
  6. Click the OK button at the bottom. You will be back to the main window showing the glyphs.
  7. To save your updated ttf, click File > Generate Fonts, see second attached image. Navigate to wherever you want to save it and click the Generate button at the bottom. (You may get some kind of pop-up warning. I just ignored it by clicking Yes.)
  8. Click File > Close. You will a get a pop-up asking whether you want to save an untitled.sfd file, click Don't Save.
  9. That's it for the xxx-Regular font.
  10. Repeat steps 2-8 for xxx-Italic.ttf.
  11. Repeat steps 2-8 for xxx-Bold.ttf and xxx-BoldItalic.ttf. However, in step 5 select the Weight value Bold from the drop-down menu.
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