Ereaders & Gaming Manuals

giskard's picture

Before I talk about this let me explain why I say EReaders and NOT Tablets. Ereaders have 1 important feature Tablets lack and that is they only use power if wifi is on, if the light is on and when your turning the page. So you can turn those things off and leave the manual open on a page for months without ever draining its power. Even with the light on your looking at weeks of battery life.

They create the page using EInk, which is not the same as an LCD display which refreshes the page frequently and drains power like crazy. Also Ereaders tend not to work well with PDF files. They can display them, it is just the Eink system is best used with Ebooks, not PDF files. So if you like PDF... Stick to a Tablet... but understand PDF is designed to be printed, not read on devices and your Tablet may run out of power mid way through a game which is why we are talking about Ereaders today, not tablets.

Talking of Tablets, the Tesco Hudl seems to be a good choice for a budget user... just saying... It is extremely modern in most ways so your not getting out dated crap. But it is still a Tablet and has the same old battery life problems as all Tablets.

Now that is out of the way, lets talk about Ereaders.


I recently looked in to this and realised it was a toss up between the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kobo Aura or Kobo Aura HD, the Kobo Glo whilst old is still a good contender against most Kindle models and should also be considered. Kobo hardware leaves the Kindle in the dust most of the time.... but should not be your automatic choice. There are reasons why the Kindle sells well and its liked to that "Apple Effect", eg Amazon control the brand and the experience, its very noobie friendly.

You can download official apps for both the Kindle and Kobo on to a Tablet btw and use both systems :)
But its the battery life problem again. :/

Quick Note about Adobe Digital Editions DRM.

The other thing is Adobe Digital Editions is a very popular DRM system used by Kobo, Waterstones, Google and several other places. According to Waterstones its best to register same email address with Adobe as you use at Ebook stores. Apparently you can end up not being able to read some of your books on your Ereader if you do not do this BEFORE buying a book.

It is the just the standard Adobe users email they want, the one you use to register products at Adobe with. So you may already have an account, just use the same email again and your sorted.

My the research showed me several things.

First The Kindle is the most popular and Amazon have a good book store that accounts for 70% of the market right now. But the Canadian Kobo Company was brought out last year by an Asian company who have big plans to establish Kobo as a dominant brand in the Ereader market and take a much more open approach to achieving it. So Kindle may not keep its market share for long.

Kobo supports public Ereader formats such as Epub, almost everybody outside of Amazon supports. They are making major in roads and already produce the best hardware for Ereaders. In fact the Kobo Aura HD recognised for its design at the CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Awards.

Amazon use their own file format but any shop that sells books in Mobi format will work with the Kindles. Typically though, if you want to use a Kindle, your restricted to Amazon. But if you buy a Kobo, you can use any Epub book from any store.

I also noticed Kobo are partnering with other book sellers like WHSmiths so you can buy Kobo books via other sites, more on this later since it made the difference between me going for a Kindle and me going for a Kobo in the end.

Quick Note: I have noticed that the Games Workshop book store called the Black Library supports both Epub and Mobi, so you can read their books on either device.

The 2 big deals here for me was the Kindle was not upgradeable, so if you put PDF files on the device, your quickly going to run out of memory, but the Kindle Store is good. The Kobo store's search function leaves a lot to be desired and that makes it hard to find specific titles the kobos are nearly all (not the mini) upgradable to about 32 gig. For the 4gig main memory versions, you really do get 32gig of space for the user after the OS is taken in to account. I know this because I checked it out my self.

The Kindles 2 gig of ram leaves about 1.2gig for the user. I would say the Kobo Mini leaves about the same but all others with SD card support should give you at least 30gig of space for books.

Ereaders do not handle PDF files too well so I tend to covert them to an Ereader format using Calibre. Whilst this will not convert DRM protected books, eg most books brought in the Kindle or Kobo stores, it will convert free books, game manuals etc etc which is important to us gamers.

Also uou can download the apps for both the Kindle and Kobo and download the free books on both sites and use Calibre to covert them to the right format :)

Now, if Kobo had a better search function, the Kindle Advantage would be wiped out, and if this was not a gaming site where large manuals are going to be used, the Kindles memory limit would not be a problem. But there is a better way to search for Kobo books because Kobo is more open than Amazon and this is a gaming site. So I am afraid the Amazon Kindle comes a poor second to Kobo for gamers I would say.

Because Kobo takes a much more open approach and has partners like WHSmiths in the UK. You can search the Kobo bookstore using the partners websites. WHSmiths ebook store is actually a front end for the Kobo site and it has a good search function and displays the books in a user friendly way. I actually prefer it over the Amazon system and Kobos own book stores front end. So, bye bye Kindle, your advantage just got PAWNED by WHSmiths and Kobos partnership program.

Interestingly Waterstones only sell Kindles in store but their Ebooks are all un Epub format so do not work on Kindles... Weird that....

Now for the main Ereaders worth looking at.

Here are the main Ebook readers available today, the Kobo wins hands down for hardware and screens, even touch features. The Kindle has good built in software, which may be a reason to buy it over the Kobo but with a few exceptions,  both sites seem to stock roughly the same books. I have noticed Amason tend to offer the books cheaper and do so more often but that may not always be true. I am getting offers spammed to me from Kobo on a daily basis giving me 75% off and Kobo tracks your reading habbits too so it can recommend books to you based on the ones you have read. So these offers may actually put Kobo a head of Amazon. I'll have to pay more attention to it to be honest.

I hate spam and ignore it as a rule...
Amazon do not spam you btw.

Anyway take a look, these are the primary Ereaders I would say. For me the best one out of the lot is the Kobo Aura HD but the Kobo Glo is also a very good budget Ereader these days and is still a touch screen. Many Kindles are not touch screen so always check if you want that feature.

I'll include some notes for you.

Processor speeds matter so use the links to check the speeds of each of these. For most folk, these are the specs to worry about. All of these will use USB connections btw so you can treat them like a normal phones memory and move files to and from them. Calibre mentioned above will actually maintain your books for you. Even your game manuals, which is pretty cool.

Kobo Mini £59.99
(Wifi up to 150mb/sec). 2 GB main memory, 5inch screen.

Kobo Touch £49.99
(Wifi up to 150mb/sec). 2 GB main memory, Option to expand up to 32 GB with a Micro SD card. 6inch Screen.

Kobo Glo £99.99
(Wifi up to 150mb/sec). 2 GB main memory, Option to expand up to 32 GB with a Micro SD card. A very good Eink 6inch screen, noted as such by several reviews.

Kobo Aura £119.90
(Wifi up to 150mb/sec). 4 GB main memory, Option to expand up to 32 GB with a Micro SD card. 6inch Hi Res Screen, same as the Aura HD but smaller.

Kobo Aura HD  £139.99
(Wifi up to 150mb/sec). 4 GB main memory, Option to expand up to 32 GB with a Micro SD card. 6.8inch High red screen, not the same as Glo but its getting rave reviews right now. Considered to be the best screen available on an Ereader by most people.

The Kindle offerings are..

Kindle £69 (Wifi up to 150mb/sec) 2 GB internal

Kindle Paperwhite (new) £109 (Wifi up to 150mb/sec) 2 GB internal

Kindle Paperwhite 3G £159 (Wifi up to 150mb/sec) 2 GB internal

Neither the Kobo or the Kindle require a computer to download books. Also the Kobo Aura HDs screen is a full 6.8inch from corner to corner where as most of the other readers I looked at seem list the size of the device and not the screensize.

What is important for a gamer ?

First memory, lots of it because most manuals are in PDF file format.
Second, Calibre, mentioned above for coverting to an Ereader format and organizing your manuals and tutorials.
Third place on your desk to put the Ereader so you can read your game manual/tutorial whilst playing.

All the Ereaders mentioned here offer these things, but the Kobo comes out ahead for gamers I would say.


You would be surprised what you will find in the Kindle and Kobo stores. Because self publishing is now a big business, anybody with a guide or content to publish can do so all by them selves. So I found everything from full blown best sellers to Drupal tutorials in both stores. So your Ereader is going to see more use than you think.

In the future I am hoping to start the process of covering what we offer in to Ereader formats so you can follow tutorials and guides without needing to be online. I am sure you have lost tutorials under the 50 windows of moddable files like I have when modding. So this is going to save some searching for all of us.


giskard's picture

PDFs are readable on Ereaders without conversion but PDF is a print format, not a read format so it lacks the features readers want and its very slow. Where as Epub and Mobi do support reader features. PDF is colourful too and works best on tablets.

Converting them does not make them smaller but they do run better on Ereaders


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