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News about Whitcoulls
  • Review: Light-weight Kobo focuses on the basics

    Let’s start with the pros of Whitcoulls’ recently launched e-reader device, the Kobo. Weighing in at 221 grams, it is surprisingly light. It will definitely fit in your bag or even in biggish pockets, making it perfect for reading anywhere — at home, in cafés or while travelling. The Kobo is powered with USB and has a great battery life — up to two weeks, or around 8000 page turns, according to Whitcoulls.

  • Whitcoulls launches eReader

    Whitcoulls today launched its own eReader device in Auckland which will hold 1000 books, with a capability of carrying 5000 titles if you load extra memory.
    The new device — called the Kobo eReader — sells for $295 compared to the Amazon Kindle at $390, Kindle DX at $735 and Apple iPad at $750-$1245. New Zealand is the fourth country in the world in which the device has been launched after Canada, the US and Australia.
    The Kobo eReader comes with 100 free classics including Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Homer’s Odyssey, the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil.
    To buy new eBooks for the Kobo eReader, customers have to go into the Whitcoulls website and — unlike the Kindles which limit buyers to Amazon only and doesn’t allow any other eBooks to be read on the platform — they will have access to two million titles including a range of New Zealand books.
    The applications required to download the eBooks are free from the Whitcoulls site for either a PC or Mac.
    Those with eBooks plug into the PC or Mac to get their new book.
    A bonus though is that the eBooks can also be read on iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android smartphones, the PC, laptop or iPad. Applications for those devices are also free.
    "This will change the way New Zealanders read forever," the group managing director of REDgroup Retail, owner of Whitcoulls, said at the launch.
    The Kobo weighs 221 grams, has a 15.2cm easy to read display screen, five adjustable font sizes, battery charge for up to two weeks and a quilted back to make it comfortable to hold.

  • Whitcoulls e-book launch raises green-ness questions

    Experts are at odds over whether Whitcoulls' launch of e-books this week will be good or bad for the environment.
    From Thursday, two million e-books will be available from the Whitcoulls website.
    Whitcoulls will also sell the Kobo e-reader, a device designed for reading electronic books, but the e-books can be downloaded and read on personal computers, smartphones such as the iPhone and tablet devices such as the iPad.
    A study by United States research and media firm Cleantech Group found carbon emissions from electronic books were far lower than from traditional book publishing. On average, the carbon emitted in the lifecycle of an Amazon Kindle e-reader would be fully offset after the first year of use, and any additional years of use would result in net carbon savings of about 168 kilograms of carbon dioxide a year, it said. That assumed people would otherwise buy 22 new books a year.
    However, the study found e-readers were not squeaky clean. Production of a Kindle created 168kg of carbon dioxide compared with 7.46kg for a book. But e-readers also require electricity to run and are not as environmentally friendly to dispose of as paper-based books.
    A New York Times "life-cycle assessment" of books and e-readers found traditional books were by far the greener option.
    One e-reader required the extraction of 15kg of minerals and 265 litres of water to produce its batteries and printed circuit boards, it said, while a book used 0.3kg of minerals and only 7.5 litres of water. Manufacturing an e-reader consumed 100 kilowatt hours of electricity and generated 30kg of carbon dioxide, while a book consumed two kilowatt hours and produced 100 times fewer greenhouse gases.
    People who enjoy reading in bed at night would be better off with an e-reader — which typically has an energy-efficient screen — because lightbulbs consume more energy.
    Other studies sit on the fence, but generally recommend visiting a library or a second-hand bookstore as the greenest way to get a literary fix.
    Borders in Australia, also owned by Whitcoulls owner, the REDGroup, launched an e-book service last week.
    It is selling the Kobo e-reader for A$199 (NZ$249), and e-books cost between A$10 and A$15 (NZ$12.50 and NZ$18.70). The Australian Publishers Association told the Sydney Morning Herald the "competitive pricing" would feed the appetite for e-books, but the death of the paperback had been overstated.