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Old 09-25-2021, 05:17 PM   #1
i.am.stack
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Kobo account information and interaction.

I found these forums from a comment in a youtube review of the Kobo Clara HD. I've already answered several questions browsing through previous posts so thank you very much to the community!

I've always preferred physical books to reading digitally. However, I have quite a digital library (managed with Calibre). A month or so ago, a friend let me borrow his remarkable 1 after I complained about reading on my android tablet at night (one reason I prefer physical books). That was my first experience with these e-ink e-readers. I've been debating for a few weeks on buying a remarkable but it is very expensive and, personally, it wasn't a great fit for just reading (and I would never use the writing nor the other features). I saw a Kobo Nia for 100$ at the store and decided to research it which led me to the Clara HD. I've now watched several youtube reviews and am pretty confident that hardware wise this is a great entry tablet for me. But I have a question that's keeping me from placing an order. I've not found in any of the reviews about the Kobo account which all the reviewers just seem to blitz by or edit out.

Is an account with Kobo required to use the device? That seems really sketchy. What information are they harvesting off the device that an account is required?

That's a potential deal breaker.

It's none of their business what I do with the device nor what I read on the device. I have no intention of sharing with them how often I read nor any other metrics. Also, I've lost too much data in "the cloud" when services abruptly end for some reason or the other. I don't trust "the cloud" any further than I can throw it. All my data is managed locally. I can't fathom any reason why I'd ever want to connect to their infrastructure. I won't buy from any source that doesn't give me a DRM-free copy that I can manage locally.
(and before any comparisons with Android, please note that I won't buy any Android device that I can't wipe and install LineageOS on for similar reasons - my android devices don't talk on the network unless I want them to. :-D )

I simply want to read my books already stored in my Calibre library. I'm not even sure I want to connect into overdrive (I trust my small local library with the quantity of books I read; however, I'm not sure I trust the overdrive service yet). I've seen enough reviewers to know that the Kobo device will work with Calibre so I'm not worried about that (though I do wish it would connect into the Calibre server over wifi like my tablet instead of only using the USB cable but... eh. Small issue.)

If the Kobo account is simply to register the device for updates, then fine... I don't like it when companies do that, but whatever. However, I am not OK with them scraping _any_ metrics from me. And disabling the wifi only to upload all the metrics when I pull an update is equally not a useful solution. At no time should the device talk outside of the network unless I explicitly tell it to for the reasons I tell it to. (I know. Many think it is a silly expectation that I should be able to manage my own devices and data... But it is a big reason why I only run Linux and LineageOS. :-D )

I would be appreciative of any information people can provide as to if an account is absolutely necessary, what it provides, and what metrics they harvest from their users/devices. Also, if I should be looking at another device instead I would appreciate recommendations.

Thanks!

PS: No, I'm not actually that paranoid - I've just been burned too many times and have almost no trust for companies to do the right thing with my data. :-(
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Old 09-26-2021, 03:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i.am.stack View Post
I found these forums from a comment in a youtube review of the Kobo Clara HD. I've already answered several questions browsing through previous posts so thank you very much to the community!

I've always preferred physical books to reading digitally. However, I have quite a digital library (managed with Calibre). A month or so ago, a friend let me borrow his remarkable 1 after I complained about reading on my android tablet at night (one reason I prefer physical books). That was my first experience with these e-ink e-readers. I've been debating for a few weeks on buying a remarkable but it is very expensive and, personally, it wasn't a great fit for just reading (and I would never use the writing nor the other features). I saw a Kobo Nia for 100$ at the store and decided to research it which led me to the Clara HD. I've now watched several youtube reviews and am pretty confident that hardware wise this is a great entry tablet for me. But I have a question that's keeping me from placing an order. I've not found in any of the reviews about the Kobo account which all the reviewers just seem to blitz by or edit out.

Is an account with Kobo required to use the device? That seems really sketchy. What information are they harvesting off the device that an account is required?

That's a potential deal breaker.

It's none of their business what I do with the device nor what I read on the device. I have no intention of sharing with them how often I read nor any other metrics. Also, I've lost too much data in "the cloud" when services abruptly end for some reason or the other. I don't trust "the cloud" any further than I can throw it. All my data is managed locally. I can't fathom any reason why I'd ever want to connect to their infrastructure. I won't buy from any source that doesn't give me a DRM-free copy that I can manage locally.
(and before any comparisons with Android, please note that I won't buy any Android device that I can't wipe and install LineageOS on for similar reasons - my android devices don't talk on the network unless I want them to. :-D )

I simply want to read my books already stored in my Calibre library. I'm not even sure I want to connect into overdrive (I trust my small local library with the quantity of books I read; however, I'm not sure I trust the overdrive service yet). I've seen enough reviewers to know that the Kobo device will work with Calibre so I'm not worried about that (though I do wish it would connect into the Calibre server over wifi like my tablet instead of only using the USB cable but... eh. Small issue.)

If the Kobo account is simply to register the device for updates, then fine... I don't like it when companies do that, but whatever. However, I am not OK with them scraping _any_ metrics from me. And disabling the wifi only to upload all the metrics when I pull an update is equally not a useful solution. At no time should the device talk outside of the network unless I explicitly tell it to for the reasons I tell it to. (I know. Many think it is a silly expectation that I should be able to manage my own devices and data... But it is a big reason why I only run Linux and LineageOS. :-D )

I would be appreciative of any information people can provide as to if an account is absolutely necessary, what it provides, and what metrics they harvest from their users/devices. Also, if I should be looking at another device instead I would appreciate recommendations.

Thanks!

PS: No, I'm not actually that paranoid - I've just been burned too many times and have almost no trust for companies to do the right thing with my data. :-(
Simple answer: yes, you can register and then turn off your wifi forever. Updates you can install manually, if you choose to (they can be found here on MobileRead).
There are lots of users who use their ereader like this. If you are using Calibre and you back up, there's no real reason to connect to the internet, if you don't want to.

There are lots of other questions you asked that you will get a wide variety of responses from the "stop being paranoid!" side to the "be more paranoid!", so just take all with a grain of salt.

If there are certain services (ie syncing devices or downloading directly from overdrive, instead of sideloading) you want to use, then, no, you can't just leave wifi off, but based on what you wrote, you seem happy to go the long way 'round, rather than go the convenient route.
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Old 09-26-2021, 03:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by i.am.stack View Post
I saw a Kobo Nia for 100$ at the store and decided to research it which led me to the Clara HD. I've now watched several youtube reviews and am pretty confident that hardware wise this is a great entry tablet for me. ...
I'll let other memers answer your questions,but just to be sure, you are aware that Kobo ereaders (Nia, Clara HD, ...) are not tablets?
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Old 09-26-2021, 04:28 PM   #4
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Thank you @Uschiekid for the information. I appreciate you helping me out. I did find their privacy policy that details a lot of the information they collect so the no-wifi option with updates from here is probably the way I would go.

https://authorize.kobo.com/us/en/terms/privacypolicy

I also just spent more time poking through the forums and found that there is an active group working on alternative OS for Kobo devices which looks promising.
https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh....php?p=4157559

Quote:
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you are aware that Kobo ereaders (Nia, Clara HD, ...) are not tablets?
Yup! Sorry. Bad word choice on my part. :-D


Thank you for the information!
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Old 09-26-2021, 05:51 PM   #5
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There are lots of other questions you asked that you will get a wide variety of responses from the "stop being paranoid!" side to the "be more paranoid!", so just take all with a grain of salt.
In case you want to read a lot of discussion about paranoia and registering your ereader:

https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...light=paranoid

Edited to add that I wasn't implying the OP is paranoid. I personally couldn't care less whether or not strangers on the internet choose to register their e-readers. I just happened to remember the thread I linked.

Last edited by 4691mls; 09-26-2021 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 09-26-2021, 09:04 PM   #6
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Thanks for that link. I probably just spent too much time reading through it. :-D
I read a few pages then jumped a few pages back from the end when I realized the conversation was moving significantly further then I should respond to.

After watching a few more youtube reviews with Clara and Calibre, I'm heavily leaning towards buying one and disabling wifi until I have reason to give up my data to Kobo (or wipe the OS for something in my control). I've never had regrets about financially supporting Calibre but I've never quite known how extensive and powerful it is until now. I've only used it locally for so long that it's been worth it. If anything, this experience/research has just made me appreciate Calibre even more!
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Old 09-26-2021, 09:52 PM   #7
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The simplest thing to do is just create a new yahoo or gmail account and use it to register the Kobo. You do not need to enter any real information at all, I believe I only have an email entered and nothing else. Amazon requires registration as well for Kindles.

I really could care less if they somehow knew what I read, the stores after all do have your purchases recorded already, so that information is already "out there". But I was always afraid if I lost my reader, that someone could charge $100s of books before I even knew it was missing. So there is absolutely no billing info, name, nothing other than an email address at Kobo. I keep wifi off, I only sideload all books (I just prefer all purchases to stay in one spot on my PC), I manually upgrade firmware when there's some new feature I'd like. And it's absolutely no hassle doing the registration that way.
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Old 09-27-2021, 05:19 AM   #8
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The easiest way to bypass registration on the kobo is to copy a database file with a blank user. I've attached one here for your convenience. Just unzip, and replace the file in your .kobo directory while the kobo is attached to a computer.
Eject/umount the kobo, and reboot it, (You have to hold the power button for a few seconds for it to power off, instead of just sleeping.. when it starts, you should see the the tree loading three dots or squares as it boots.)
Attached Files
File Type: zip KoboReader.sqlite.zip (14.6 KB, 26 views)
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Old 09-27-2021, 05:32 AM   #9
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The easiest way to bypass registration on the kobo is to copy a database file with a blank user.
There is no need. Kobo don't even check the email address is real and if they did you could use a temporary one. Unlike Amazon they don't want payment info.
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Old 09-27-2021, 05:51 AM   #10
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The easiest way to bypass registration on the kobo is to copy a database file with a blank user. I've attached one here for your convenience. Just unzip, and replace the file in your .kobo directory while the kobo is attached to a computer.
Eject/umount the kobo, and reboot it, (You have to hold the power button for a few seconds for it to power off, instead of just sleeping.. when it starts, you should see the the tree loading three dots or squares as it boots.)
And when Kobo update the firmware such that this hack no longer works, you will lose everything as the database will be reset. It's not worth the risk to fake register. Kobo has buggered up the fake registration 2 or 3 times.
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Old 09-27-2021, 06:57 AM   #11
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And when Kobo update the firmware such that this hack no longer works, you will lose everything as the database will be reset. It's not worth the risk to fake register. Kobo has buggered up the fake registration 2 or 3 times.
As far a I know, *I'm* the only one here who reported a problem with a fake registration once,, and I wasn't using this technique, which has never failed... I can't make a promise that it never will. (duh). but so far, the track record of people who have to log out due to sync problems with their kobo accounts is *much* worse. so this line of nonsense should stop. (I know it won't, considering the source, but it needed to be said.)
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Old 09-27-2021, 07:40 AM   #12
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There is no need. Kobo don't even check the email address is real and if they did you could use a temporary one. Unlike Amazon they don't want payment info.
I didnt' say there was a need, I just said it was easiest.. there's no need to type in your wifi password or try to navigate through 'click to accept' public wifi either..

If your intent is to let to the kobo phone home as little as possible.. this is simply the best and easiest way.
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Old 09-27-2021, 09:28 AM   #13
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Thank you everyone! I appreciate it!
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