Quick Review: Kobo for the BlackBerry PlayBook

By Adam Zeis on 12 May 2011 02:39 pm EDT

With no sign of a Kindle app, BlackBerry PlayBook users who want some eBook action only have one option at the moment. Kobo for the PlayBook is actually a pretty sweet app, however if you use another service (Kindle, Nook) you obviously won't have access to your library or anything you purchased previously.I actually like the Kobo app on the PlayBook. I had a few books on my Nook previously, but having the PlayBook with me full time and using Kobo means I never have to carry around another device, so I decided to make the switch. There is a huge selection of free and paid books, but sadly no newspapers or magazines (yet). If you haven't checked out Kobo yet I definitely think it's worth a shot. It should be pre-installed on your PlayBook but if not head to BlackBerry App World to download.

More information/download of Kobo for BlackBerry PlayBook

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

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Quick Review: Kobo for the BlackBerry PlayBook


It should also be noted that the Kobo app for PlayBook does not support Adobe Digital Editions, which the Kobo eReader does. In other words, it's next to impossible to bring your own ePubs to the PlayBook, which is kind of a pity... Kobo's library of eBooks isn't *that* great in my opinion, but better than nothing. *Waiting for a Kindle app...*


Would my library on a Kobo eReader synchronize with my PlayBook app? In other words, if I brought a separate ePub into the eReader, then would I be able to see it on my PlayBook by just hitting the Update Library? I don't have an eReader to test, but that was something I was theorizing.

This app is a big disapointment, and even more disapointing is that it's the only eReader app. RIM should have partnered with a better company, or at least made sure Kobo releases a quality product. Thumbs down yet again to RIM.

Agreed. It is fine if the book you want to read happens to be on Kobo. But there is no way to import ebooks from other sources and Kobo has a limited selection IMHO. Booo. Waiting for the Kindle app.

Kindle gets released at the end of this month according to many people on this forum who have written to the company to ask. I also think its funny that the word "yet" is once again associated with something Playbook releated, i.e., no newspapers and magazines (yet). That pretty much describes the Playbook experience to date. Oh well, still glad that I have the Playbook but I am longing for the day when I can say "it actually does that".

Agree with you about the word "yet" and I'm waiting to purchase the PlayBook when I too can say "it actually does that" to reading books with a Kindle app, watching Netflix movies, listening to Pandora radio, and watching MLB and NHL games.

I would love an NHL live game app. To the point that I would most likely be willing to pay a subscription for it. My job keeps me away from home most nights, so it would be nice to be able to catch my favorite teams while I'm on the road.

If you can't wait for Kindle (I am), you might try running your ebook files through Calibre to get a format that Kobo can read.

There is no way to load books into the Kobo app except by purchasing them through Kobo. No matter what format they are in, the Kobo app will not read anything except what is purchased through the app.

Kobo is the single biggest disappointment on the PlayBook as far as I'm concerned.

Well, I came to check out the comments to say "it's nice to see something positive said about the Kobo app for a change." But clearly, I'm one of the few who feel this way lol. I should point out that I've never used any other ebook app/device, so perhaps this is a case of ignorance working in my favour. But I have to admit, I really do like the Kobo app. Any book I've been interested in (so far) has been there, and I love the fact that it's a multi-platform app. I can start reading a book at home on my PB, continue reading on my 9700 on the way to work, and then pick up on my PB again at the end of the day, all without ever having to find my place again and again.

I must be missing something. I can't get my Kobo to sync bookmarks between my 9700 and my PlayBook. How do you get yours to do this? I have both Bluetooth and WiFi running on my PB, and I also have the Bridge running. Any help would be appreciated!!

I'm very much in the market for a pb but am also holding back until the Kindle app is released. I have a Kindle e-reader full of books and I want them on the pb!!

I have nothing against Kobo. It's just that I have so many books on my Kindle e-reader! If I can easily transfer I would.

I know Amazon sent emails indicating end of May but I'm hoping it is submitting this for us International including Canada bb and pb owners!!

Add me to the "not a Kobo fan" club. I'm really disappointed in this app because it really does not seem to be full featured in any way. No support for ePub is bad but I had an eperience with Kobo that really left a sour taste in my mouth.

I purchased a copy of the New Revised Standard New Testament from the book store via the app. The book would not completely download. Several calls from their support asked me to do some things like delete the book and retry and uninstall/reinstall the app. None of the things worked. They then simply issued a refund for the book and said basically, "That's that." No word on what they were going to do to try and fix it, just closed the ticket and walked away I guess.

This app does not seem like it is really ready and feels like it might have been rushed into production. I hope that they can iron out the problems soon, because I don't have any intention of buying anything from them again until this app is a release (or two) down the road. If I can't buy and download a book without concern that I'll acually get it, and I can't import a book other than through the store, the app is all but useless.

I have had no problems whatsoever with the free Kobo books. Works just like Kindle to me, although I had just started using Kindle shortly before the PB was released. I am actually going to hold out for the kindle app, though, since I did purchase a book or two on there.

I'm looking for the Playbook to my "everything" device. I want my Nook and Kindle ebook libraries accessable on my Playbook......Period!
I have a Barnes and Noble store close by, so I have a Nook that allows me to get nice perks at the local place. I have a Kindle app because sometimes Amazon has books that BN does not have. I did download the Kobo reader on my Mac, and the experience was not real good.
I'm not looking for a web based reader, but native Nook and Kindle apps.

Well honestly I've never used an eReader before so I guess when I get my Playbook I'll be using the Kobo until another app is released. I think it's great that it comes with The Art of War because that's a book I've always wanted to read but just have never gotten around to so that'll kill some time plus I'm sure I can find some free books to tide me over until all the "bugs" are worked out OR another app is released I usually only read during travel anyway or in waiting rooms so I'm sure what's already there will be good for this novice right now.

I am running out of uses and reasons to have a PlayBook... anyone interested in purchasing one? It's only had light use (mainly because I can't find a decent reason to use it).

I am also running into a problem downloading the NRSV of the Bible. If I contact the KOBO support line is this the support I can expect? ....a refund???
I believe KOBO should make sure something as common as the Bible should deliver what I pay for.....
Once Kindle arrives I will reevaluate my choice of book stores.

The Kobo app is horrible compared to e-readers such as NookColor. I like being able to highlight, look up words in dictionary or wiki, etc. I really hope Nook, Kindle or even Kobo come up with a better reader App. I am biased towards Nook but there is still no support for BB.

Thanks for the great review of Kobo for PlayBook. There are a few questions here in the comments that I'd like to answer.

Does Kobo for PlayBook Support ePub?
Yes, our PlayBook app does support the standards-based ePub book format. Books purchased from Kobo are in the same layout and style desired by the author with some magic added by us to ensure a great reading experience on your tablet.

Why Can't I Add My Own Books?
Kobo for PlayBook will receive regular updates just like our other apps and adding the ability for you to side-load ePubs and PDFs is at the top of our list.

What About the Advanced Reading Features?
The same features you've come to love with our other apps such as highlights, notes, dictionary and ofcourse Reading Life™ will be coming soon for PlayBook. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or our blog for announcements.


Jason Gamblen
Product Manager
Kobo Inc.

I just purchased a Blackberry Playbook and the Kobo app has none of the updated features you mentioned. Your comments were back in May 2011. It's now Jan. 2012. What does soon mean?

I wrote to Kobo earlier via Facebook, it was a private message. I have now splashed this on their page, mentioning they answered this a year ago. let's see if I get a reply...

I will add my voice to those who are TOTALLY disappointed with this App - and its counter part on my Blackberry Torch. Unlike the Kobo App on my IPAD which sees all my books - not just the ones I purchased through Kobo (which I do as it has a very good selection of Canadian authors not found else where IMHO) it sees the ones I purchased elsewhere. What I don't understand is if RIM wants to compete with Apple - why it allows substandard apps from the same companies as the Apple Apps.

Nice to see someone from Kobo addressing the main concerns and promising an update soon (?) ...but how about a comment from RIM?

Here in SA cant get kobo to download a single book to a playbook. I tried wifi and bridge. Web working even tried reinstalling. Why is it not working.

So far I"m loving the Kobo app. I'm new to e-readers so I have nothing to compare it to. Lots of obscure titles - if I need to read something, I just do a search and can always find something that interests me. I don't want to accumulate any more hard copies of books unless it's something that I have to have for my library or it's a rare first edition. E-books are the way to go for me now.