WiFi-only Kindle & Kobo eBook Reader $139. Why Buy the Kobo?

Like a lot people who cover the mobile gadget space, I received a press release from Kobo’s press relations firm announcing:

Kobo Introduces the New Kobo Wireless eReader

Kobo’s ebook reader is priced at $139.99. That’s a dollar more than Amazon’s WiFi-only Kindle. So, let’s call it a wash and say they are essentially the same price. I asked Kobo’s PR firm what the value-add was compared to the Kindle. I didn’t receive any response. So, I headed over to Kobo’s site and found:

eReader Device Comparison

Here’s what Kobo lists as advantages over the WiFi-only Kindle.

1. Available in colors other than black or white
2. Pre-loaded with 100 free ebooks
3. Borrow books from local libraries
4. Support for a variety of ebook file formats not supported by the Kindle
5. Slightly smaller and lighter
6. Less internal memory (1GB vs. 4GB) but has SD card memory expansion option

It also honestly notes that their eReader has 1 less font size than the Kindle and has a third of the Kindle’s rated battery life (10 days vs. a month).

Are these advantages enough to sway a potential customer away fromt the Kindle? Personally, I don’t think so. Now, if the Kobo Wireless eReader were priced at under $100, it might have a bit more appeal. My prediction? Watch its price drop to $99 by November.