Will New Kobo Libra Force Amazon to Lower Kindle Oasis’ Price?


Kobo Libra vs Kindle Oasis

When Kobo first revealed the Kobo Forma last fall, everyone called it a Kindle Oasis clone. As it turns out, the real Kindle Oasis clone is the new Kobo Libra that Kobo just unveiled yesterday.

It has the exact same E Ink display as the Kindle Oasis, which has been the only device to use that specific screen since it was released in 2017, and the overall design concept is very similar to the Oasis as well.

Both devices have a 7-inch 300 ppi screen with adjustable frontlight color, along with page buttons on one side and a rotation sensor to switch hands. Both are equipped with a micro USB port, Wi-Fi, 8GB of storage space, and both are waterproof with an IPX8 rating.

The overall sizes are very similar as well, with the Libra measuring 144 x 159 x 5.0-7.8 mm with a weight of 192 grams.

The Kindle Oasis measures 141 x 159 x 3.4-8.4 mm with a weight of 188 grams.

Given all the similarities between the two devices, you’d think that the price would be about the same as well, but that’s where things differ the most.

The Kindle Oasis sells for $249 USD but it costs an extra $20 for the comparable non-ad version so essentially the real price is $269.

The Kobo Libra on the other hand sells for a much more reasonable $169. Forget the Oasis; that’s only $20 more than the non-ad Kindle Paperwhite with a smaller screen, no warm frontlight, and no page buttons.

The Kindle Oasis has some advantages over the Kobo Libra, like the fact that it’s available with the option of 32GB of storage space, and with 4G LTE wireless. It also has audiobook support and a screen reader to read ebooks aloud. The Oasis also adds a flush front screen and it has a metal back instead of plastic. Amazon’s software has some added features as well but that’s a topic for a different day.

By virtually all reports, the new warm frontlight feature on the Kindle Oasis 3 is a big hit—everyone seems to like it—but now just two months after its release the Kobo Libra comes along with the same screen and similar design for a whopping $100 less.

If Kobo is smart they’ll start showing off the Kobo Libra at Walmart stores so people can check it out in person and see how it compares to Kindles.

Amazon didn’t start significantly lowering the prices of Kindles until B&N started releasing Nooks with lower prices. Could Kobo force Amazon to lower Kindle prices once again?

26 Responses to “Will New Kobo Libra Force Amazon to Lower Kindle Oasis’ Price?”

  1. I don’t think this forces the price down on the Oasis, because the Libra H2O doesn’t come across as premium. It has the same problem the Forma has, made worse by the fact that it has a recessed screen. That doesn’t matter to me, but it does matter to some people. The Oasis looks like it costs more so people won’t be surprised when it does.

    The Oasis will also perform better with it’s dual core processor, and every inevitable review video will show that. Then there will be the lighting issues, you know because it’s a Kobo.

    The Libra will end up being the compromise buy for people looking at both who aren’t willing to pay the Oasis’ high price. It may eat into the Oasis market share a little, but the Oasis is a low volume product anyway.

    • That sounds about right. Plus the fact that Kobo does next to nothing to market their ereaders in the US doesn’t help any.

    • I agree that the Oasis price probably will not be cut because Kobo already has significantly cheaper ereaders (and for years) without Amazon budging because they have a monopoly.

      But I have to take issue with this: “Then there will be the lighting issues, you know because it’s a Kobo.”

      This is just wrong, wrong, wrong. It is true that Kobo dropped the ball last year. But my experience over the past several years has been that Kobo is historically the best at providing uniform lighting. And Kindle has dropped the ball many times. The Paperwhite never had the uniformity of the Glo, Glo HD, H2O or the original Aura. The Voyage infamously had a gradient, and the original Oasis had a terrible gradient that even I found distracting. And the new Basic Kindle has severe uniformity issues, much more than the Clara HD or the Forma.

      • I have to disagree here. I’ve reviewed every frontlit Kindle and Kobo that’s been released and Kindles have had a more even frontlight by far. Kobo’s early frontlights had a dingy quality with obvious shadow cones and the newer ones always have a dark band, light bleed, or blotching, especially with the warm lights. I’ve yet to see a single Kobo with lighting anywhere close to as even as the new Oasis. Even the Paperwhite has a better frontlight than any Kobo I’ve seen.

        • I agree. Last year I sent back two Kobo Forma’s and two Kobo Clara HD’s because of problems with the frontlight. On the other hand, the frontlight of the Oasis that I bought last year was perfect but I didn’t like the shape of that Oasis so I sold it.
          When do you plan a review of the Libra Nathan? I’m really curious about the quality of the frontlight of the Libra! And since your ereader revieuws are the best one can find on the internet, I’m really looking forward to it.

          • I should have the review posted by the end of the month if it gets released on the 17th like they say, but I plan on buying it from Walmart so who knows when they’ll get them.

        • Gotta agree here. I have an Aura 2, Forma, and both Oasis at hand and the Oasis have just perfect lighting, while every Kobo has an issue. I still like the Forma fine, but it’s got a clearly visible band on the side near the buttons. The Aura 2 is just uneven in general, it’s brighter near the lights than in the middle.

          The Oasis, both of them, are just uniform and even. Meaning: you don’t notice the lighting, it’s just “there”, which is what one wants.

          With the Oasis now having warm lighting, my excursions into Kobo land are probably over. All I want is USB-C now and nobody’s offering just yet.

        • I’ve had our still have both generations of the 6.8″ H2o, the Forma and the Aura One. The only one with good lighting was the Aura One, but the frontlight was way too bright to use at night despite the warm lighting. I never experienced problems with the PWM on the Forma, but that dark strip was certainly there, and it bothered me. Both generations of the Aura H2o were surprisingly splotchy, which was a shame because the first gen had a really great screen as long as the frontlight light was off. The second gen still had a splotchy frontlight but also made the screen hazy too.

          I’ll wait for review videos before I even consider buying this one to replace the 2nd gen H2O. If it had the same issues, there’s no point.

        • I’ll quote you then:
          “It’s a close race but if I had to choose a winner in terms of the frontlight alone, the Kobo Glo HD gets the slight edge.”

          https://blog.the-ebook-reader.com/2015/07/03/kindle-paperwhite-3-vs-kobo-glo-hd-comparison-review-video/

          Of course you also thought that the Voyage lighting was fantastic when it was well known to have a gradient that was distracting for many readers. I think you just didn’t have that critical of an eye for frontlights back then as you do now.

          But anyway what is saying now is not consistent with your earlier reviews.

          • That’s a comparison with the Paperwhite 3. I was referring to the Paperwhite 4. With the extra LED and flush front the frontlight is slightly better than the Paperwhite 3, especially along the bottom edge. And I’ve never said the Voyage’s frontlight was fantastic. From the very beginning I complained about the odd colors and gradient. You must have me confused with someone else.

  2. Sometimes I doubt that Amazon has even heard of Kobo. Here we have Kobo blazing trails with flagship readers and cutting edge specs at competitive prices while Amazon just Lallygags taking years to catch up while maintaining premium prices. Amazon is too stubborn to care while Kobo is always one step ahead.

    • I think it is more that Amazon doesn’t HAVE to care. They’re moving butt-loads of Kindles WITHOUT expending the effort, so why do more than token upgrades?

  3. I don’t think they will reduce the price, but for me is a clear winner. I was about to pay for the Oasis when Libra was released. For me, and for other people, the problem with the Oasis it is not the price but being tied to Amazon. I don’t want them to know all my life and having to use external programs to convert epubs so Libra sounds like the best option.

  4. For Amazon it seems, it is all about content sales. They have not made the decision to offer reader options. Kobo offers SIX models for sale currently; some are old some are new-6″,6.8″,7″ and 8″ models, with different form factors.
    The myth created by Jeff Bezos that margins are so thin that they need to subsidize Kindles with ads is hard to swallow with the Oasis price-points. Maybe it’s true for the Paperwhite and Basic Kindle…when on sale.
    There seems to be plenty of room to move on the Oasis price.

  5. And as far as I can read, no one has mentioned the difference in books formats between the two brands: Kobo lets you read books of many different origins, while Kindle locks you in its monopoly with its “.mobi” and “.azw”.

    • Sorry but that argument is tired and old. Plenty of places sell books in
      Kindle format, and pretty much everything available in ePub is available on Kindle, which you can’t say the other way around with all the Kindle exclusives. Plus Calibre makes converting formats a breeze so it’s not really an issue either way unless you’re too lazy to sideload.

  6. for library users, kobo makes a lot more sense than kindle. calibre isn’t an option for chromebook users.

    • I dunno about that, I have a Kobo with Overdrive setup and while checkout is easy, using Libby or my library’s website to actually search and find books followed by the pretty easy “click to send to your Kindle” process is pretty painless as well.

      • You are so right. I have had both and kindle is much easier especially with more then one library account. All the reviewers say kobo is great because of overdrive integration, but they probably have never used it and don’t know what they are talking about.

      • actually that’s kinda what i do with the clara. i find stuff with my phone’s libby app. when i sync my kobo, it’s all there in my list of books. can’t really say what borrowing is like on a newer amazon ereader, but the old fire i have is a pain to find the library books once i’ve sent them.

  7. Kobo can have the best readers with the highest specs and best designs but until they learn how to actually MARKET their products it won’t even matter or make a difference. They can be giving them out for free and it won’t matter when 95% of the market hasn’t heard of Kobo.
    Kindles don’t sell well because they are the best devices, I think Kobo is far superior in many ways. Instead, Kindles sell because Amazon has a better Kindle store with cheaper prices, more selection, syncronization, and better eco-system. Also, the limited software they have is more polished, smoother.
    Not only that but people are familiar with Kindles. There is a saying that humans highest need isn’t survival but instead to keep things familiar. I agree.
    It also helps Amazon that they have the most addicting website in the world where people spends hours foaming at the mouth and window shopping for things they don’t need.

  8. This devices looks like a great challenger to the Oasis on price, but has two negatives:

    1) Recessed Screen. I’m never buying an e-reader with one of these again. Casts shadows, and dust just loves to collect in those corners.

    2) The Kobo app. I read about 50/50 between my iPad and my ereader. The Kindle iOS app is pretty great. The Kobo iOS is absolute garbage. The Kobo Android app is straight-up unusable and an embarassment.

  9. Look on Amazon at the Oasis. 😄

  10. Well it is gone. For a few seconds in banner area on Amazon they listedthe Oasis at 199. When I went back – it was gone.

  11. It’s back but previous generation.

  12. Kindle Paperwhite (waterproof) on sale 89.99, Kindle (New) 64.99. Sunday night, Kindle Paperwhite with Cellular 204.99, 9th gen oasis 174.99. New Oasis still same price.

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