The LookBook Reader - A Review

by Ragtimelil

My experience with the LookBook eReader was not a happy one. Here's the sad story of what happened.

I love to read and I love books. Living in a camper leaves me very little room for things like books, however. I had been reading books on my laptop, but I have to hunch over the keyboard in order to see clearly. I wanted to be able to recline on the couch and read comfortably.
I thought and ereader device would be perfect for me. I could save the books I liked and not worry about taking up space when I wanted to buy a book.

I have a very limited income so buying an expensive device was out of the question. I managed to get some money saved up and bought a very inexpensive reader called the Shift 5 LookBook. It said it was powered by Kobo, but I still am not sure what that means. It had mixed reviews, but those who liked it really were happy with it. There were some who complained that they couldn’t get it to work. I’m moderately computer literate, so thought maybe they just couldn’t figure it out. So I bought it.

It was shipped really fast. I was thrilled and looked forward to curling up with a good book that evening. Unfortunately, that wasn’t about to happen. The first thing I was supposed to do was to charge it for six hours. I followed the instructions and charged it. Then I was supposed to connect to WiFi and let it download some updates. It took a day to connect to the WiFi. I had to find the key for it. Finally it connected and I got the message that the downloads were ready. I click on the “OK” button and it started to download. After some minutes, I would get a message that the download was canceled. This happened for the rest of the day.

Are We Giving Up Yet?

The manual that comes with this reader is pretty useless. It just tells you how to buy books from Kobo. I went online and spent hours visiting every forum I could find about this reader. There were plenty of complaints about it and very little help. It seems that it is not made by Kobo and they wouldn’t offer any help. I tried calling a number for customer service from a website that showed exactly the same LookBook reader. I got a very curt reply that they didn’t make or sell these readers and couldn’t help me.

Then I called the number for customer service that came with the device. That had been changed to another number. I tried several more numbers and finally found a number for MerchSource, the company who sells these readers. I talked to a very nice man who really tried to help. He thought we could download the updates through the computer and install them that way. After about an hour of discussion and searching, he couldn’t find the updates anywhere and gave up.

I found another number and called that one. It turned out to be another number for Kobo. This time I got a technician who really tried to help. After another hour on the phone, he gave up too. Great.

Finally, Reading a Book

I was ready to ship the thing back and get another reader. Then I got a message from two Wizzley geeks who offered to help, Jo Harrington and Paul got on Skype and were determined to figure out the problem. Jo also has a Kobo so we tried to move some files over and see if that worked. The device was having a hard time trying to download these files. After staying up way too late, we all left things running and went to bed. The next morning the device had canceled the download.

I left that morning to house/dog-sit for a friend who also had a wireless network in their house. They gave me the key for it and got my laptop set up. I tried again to get the LookBook to download and suddenly it worked. My theory is that their signal was stronger. The one at home is weaker and sometimes disconnects me.

So now I had the updates installed and the tabs that I needed to download books was in place. It also downloaded a book I had waiting in the ebook manager. I thought I was good to go. I curled up and read a bit in the new book. I thought my troubles were over.

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A Week Later

But that wasn’t the end of the story. The next day I tried to download more books. I used the same ebook manager that worked before but they weren’t showing up on the LookBook. So I decided to read the one book I had. I opened the library where the book appeared with the bookmark I had left in it. I clicked on the button to read and it suddenly changed to a page that said that I was locked out. I was instructed to sign in to my account. So I went back to the sign in page. I entered my user name and password. I tried to get to the button that said “Continue,” but I never could get it highlighted. I made a guess as to where it should have been active and hit the "OK" button. Nothing happened.This is where the story ends - for now, at least. I can't read the books I have because I can't get signed in.

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It has been a week now. I’m ready to send this thing back unless someone can tell me how to get it to work. I certainly wouldn’t recommend this reader to anyone, no matter what your level of experience is. For only a few more dollars you can get one that actually works.

Update

I gave up and sent the thing back. The seller was great. He offered me a replacement. I said I'd take it if it worked. He checked it out and decided it would be better to refund my money.

Updated: 04/15/2013, Ragtimelil
 
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Ragtimelil on 01/15/2013

No, I sent it back. The seller actually offered a replacement, but when he went to check it out, he decided to refund my money.

Mira on 01/15/2013

So, does it work now? :) I might get a Kindle with an e-ink screen too, but I just can't get used to reading on an ebook reader.

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