Kobo has secretly developed a new web reader which is currently in beta. They have been working there for over six months. It was designed to work on any major internet browser on your computer or mobile device. Kobo Web Reader only supports books without DRM (Digital Rights Management); however, Kobo plans to refine the overall experience and unveil further enhancements.
You can test the functionality yourself by signing into your Kobo account on their website. You can search for free and click on the book and you will be taken to the book description page. Click Add to My Books, then click View in My Books. You can also select My Account at the top right and click on My Books. In your Book Library, there will be a list of all the books you’ve purchased from Kobo before and which titles are web player compatible, as they have a Read Now button below.
The web reader is very basic at the moment. The only option is to read the book on two pages, there is no one page option or endless scrolling system. The text size can be increased or decreased, but there is no way to select a different font type. There is a table of contents which contains clickable links, which will take you to a specific chapter of the book you are reading.
It remains to be seen in which markets Kobo is currently testing it in beta, but it should be in some markets and not available worldwide. I have verified that it works at least in Canada and will update this post if users can check what countries they live in, where this is available, and if the web player is English only or supports others. languages. I reached out to Kobo for comment as well.
This is not the first time that Kobo has developed an online reader. In 2012, they first attempted to create an online reading system designed for Safari. This was created at a time when Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo all sold eBooks directly in their iOS apps, but Apple then unveiled a new policy of charging a commission for every piece of digital content sold. All of these gamers basically turned their iPad and iPhone apps into glorified reading apps, but you had to make the purchase online. The original idea behind the Kobo Cloud Reader was to get people to buy and read, right in the browser. Of course, no one really did that and Kobo killed the project in 2016.
I think a modern Kobo online web reader might be a good idea. There are all kinds of new mobile operating systems that people are using, such as Sailfish or Oxygen OS. On the desktop front, more and more people are embracing Linux. Not to mention that millions of people still use older versions of Windows. There are hundreds of millions of people who don’t have a good modern smartphone or tablet. I have a devious feeling that the average user will be at school or work and just want to read, when they should be doing something else.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post, and The New York Times. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.