Disappointed in the Kobo Forma: Two years is too short for an e-reader to last

Junker robot drawn by AIThe Kobo Forma is the first e-reader I’ve ever owned that I’ll be replacing because the hardware died, rather than replacing it with better technology. This is rather disappointing since the Forma had everything I wanted and wasn’t even two years old.

Meg got me the Forma for Christmas in 2020. Unlike my first generation Kindle and its immediate successors, the Forma saw light duty. Thanks to the pandemic, it’s the first e-reader I’ve owned that’s never been on a plane. It didn’t have to travel the world, get stuffed in an overcrowded backpack, or even see as much normal use as my previous e-readers. Sad to say, I spent far less time reading the past two years than usual.

A few days ago I picked it up and the battery was unexpectedly drained, despite having had it on the charger the day before. After charging it again, it simply refused to wake from sleep. The notoriously mushy side button didn’t rouse it at all. All attempts to restart or reset it have failed.

Since it was a gift, I’m not sure what Meg paid for it, but Kobo devices come at a bit of a premium. I’m really disappointed in the build quality and lifespan. My previous Kobo I got second-hand and it still works fine. My first Kindle was still working, for a new owner, well past its expected lifespan.

I’m honestly surprised at having to replace the reader this soon due to failure. I can’t recall the last device I had to replace due to failure rather than lusting after new tech or damage. (I still miss the Chromebook I lost to a coffee spill… Can’t fault Google for that one, though.) Since it’s right at the two year mark I have little hope that Kobo would replace it.

Not too eager to jump back into the Kindle ecosystem, but I’m also reluctant to drop cash for a Kobo reader at this point, too. Any good alternatives out there that have solid build quality? Ability to connect to Overdrive for library books is a must.


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