We’ve already written an article about how to install Koreader on Kobo e-readers with KSM, but this program forces you to restart the e-reader to switch between the two programs, which isn’t very practical, and some e-readers aren’t, or are barely, compatible with KSM.
The solution that we’re going with relies on Kute File Monitor, aka KFMon.
The advantage of this process is that it’s easy to install Koreader, and that you can switch between Koreader and Nickel (Kobo’s default system) with the simple push of a button on Nickle’s home screen (which will look like the cover of a book).
You can also exit Koreader and go back to Nickel’s home screen. Practical, isn’t it?
On the contrary, there’s no way to completely integrate Koreader so that the e-reader automatically opens PDF (or other) files with Koreader instead of Nickel. You have to place your PDFs in a “hidden” folder (the name starts with a period; the Kobo e-reader, just like all e-readers, have a Linux operating system). This way, Nickel won’t see the files, and we can access them with Koreader.
How to install KFMon.
You must go onto the MobileRead thread dedicated to KFMon and download the .zip folder that contains KFMon. There are two files: KFMon-v-xx.zip and KFMon-Uninstaller.zip. You should take the first one (the version number, etc. is updated when the software’s author publishes a new version, which is why we can’t add a direct link here. If you go to the forum, you’re sure to find the latest version).
After that, all you have to do is unzip the zipped folder it the root of your e-reader. To do that, you will have to connect your e-reader to the computer and copy-paste the unzipped files at the root of your ereader.
Once you’ve done that, disconnect the e-reader and KFMon will install itself all alone! Note: you will have to redo this process whenever the e-reader’s internal software updates.
There should now be a small picture on your e-reader (that looks like the cover of a book) with Koreader written on it: this is what you will use to launch Koreader. But it is not installed yet!
How to install Koreader.
To install Koreader, you have to go to Koreader’s download page and grab the latest version of the software, which you can find on the page of the software’s latest releases. For a Kobo e-reader, choose the file whose name starts with “koreader-kobo-arm-kobo-linux-gnueabihf”.
You should then download this file onto your computer, unzip it, and copy all of it (the Koreader folder) into the .add folder on your e-reader. Since folders that start with a period are hidden folders, you may need to check “show hidden folders and files” in your file manager.
Once it’s installed, it’s done. All you have to do is press the “Koreader” icon to launch Koreader. Then you can set it to any language you prefer. To quit the program, go to the menu at the top right, press “exit” and you will return… to the home screen of your e-reader!
Managing PDFs and an e-reader with multiple readers.
Now that you have Koreader installed, you have two different readers available: the default program that’s integrated into Nickel, Kobo’s basic operating system, and Koreader (you can also install a third program called Plato, but we’ll talk more about that in a coming article). How do you switch between the two? Click the icon, which can be placed in a collection like “applications”.
And there you go. If your e-reader indexes your PDFs, it will try to open them with Nickel. However, as we stated in our article about which e-reader is best adapted to reading PDFs, Nickel’s default program is bad for PDFs. It’s not possible to set up the e-reader so that it automatically opens PDFs with Koreader and the other types of documents with the default program, which you can do with Kindles if you jailbreak them.
So, what can you do? Our solution is simple: create a folder named .PDF (or .koreader for example) at the root of the e-reader. Since this folder is a hidden folder, Nickel will not index the files that you put there. Then, all you have to do is put the files that you want to open with Koreader in that folder. These files will not appear in Nickel’s menus but will be visible when you launch Koreader. Then simply set this folder as the “home” folder for Koreader (you can do this by going into the file explorer of Koreader and clicking on this folder) and you will be able to easily access these documents.
Installing Koreader through KFMon is the better solution, as it is less intrusive than using KSM. It only takes 5 minutes to make the Kobo an even more versatile e-reader, especially for those who want to use their e-reader to read PDF files!