Adding alternative readers to Kobo devices
#1  Ken Maltby 11-06-2013, 12:50 PM
How to install or recover from bad install

KOReader has its own Forum

Adds; fmon, Coolreader, Chess, other games and utilities, and Koreader
Due to some issues with Nickel and KOreader functionality; IT is greatly advised that you use one of the two methods below

The install Guide using the Kobo Start Menu. This is one that works with the new H2o, and I highly recommend this approach.

An even easier way to install just Koreader.

**** The old launching method, to launch from within the stock Kobo software ****

** if you have version earlier than pbchess installed, then you also need to rename
in your Kobo before upgrading pbchess.

1. Connect to your PC with your USB cable. Open the KoboReader drive that appears on your PC. Note that this is the Root directory for this process.

**Skip to step 4. if you haven't tried to install the alternative readers before.**

2. On your Kobo, delete any launcher .png files from the Library. On your PC, the .png files should disappear, if not Right click on the page and select Refresh.

OK, first if you have any script files that you have modified/tweaked for Koreader or the KoboLauncher, save them to your PC.

3. On PC; navigate to the .kobo directory. Delete the following folders: fmon, KoboLauncher or vlasovsoft, and koreader.

You should think of the install process as two separate installs, first adding the PNG file to your Kobo and having the Kobo software process the Image adding it to its database and home page. Then installing the software that will be launched using that image file. It is critical that the image file function normally, as an image that your Kobo displays before reconnecting the USB cable to install the rest of the program.

4. Go to here and download the current build of pbchess. Or try Here.

5. Copy "launcher.png" from the zip file to the Root directory (See 1. above). Now safely eject the KoboReader drive from your PC. (Right click on the drive and select Eject). Then disconnect the USB cable. You should then see, on your kobo, the message that it is processing data/media and then the home page. Poweroff your kobo and restart it. If the .png file was not processed fully you should see the processing message during the startup.

6. The launcher image tile should be on your kobo's home page now, select it. It is just an image at this point, and you should see a full page image. Return to the home page.

** Do not continue with the install until you can do Step 6.**
If this is a real problem you might want to consider "tshering's" Kobo Start Menu

7. Now that you are sure that the launcher png file has been correctly and completely processed by your kobo. Reconnect with your USB cable and copy the "KoboRoot.tgz" file from the .zip file to the .kobo directory. (Be sure it is in the .kobo directory.) Then safely eject the Koboreader drive and disconnect the USB cable. You should then see the Updating message on your kobo.

8. You should now have Sergey's launcher and fmon installed on your kobo.
Selecting the launcher tile should now open a menu page With Coolreader and Chess, other games and utilities (including a good USBnet). Once you are sure that all is working, Exit the launcher and return to your home page. (You may have to tap the picture a few times to return to the home page.)

9. Now for Koreader: Go to; and download the current nightly kobo build.

10. Do the same as 5.&6. above for the koreader.png, this is important, you need to be sure that the launching image has been fully and properly processed, before going further.

11. Copy the koreader folder from the zip file to the .kobo directory of your kobo.

12. Now do 7. above again.

That's it, both launchers should work and you should have added some interesting capabilities to all that your kobo can do.

*Touch N905C users may need to fix the Koreader touch coordinates as shown here.*

For future Koreader builds you will just have to copyover/merge the new koreader folder from the build download .zip onto your .kobo directory. No further need to add the .png or copyover the KoboRoot.tgz.

For future pbchess/Coolreader builds you just need to copyover the KoboRoot.tgz into the .kobo directory.


KOreader Wiki:

Now with these installed you might want to consider "tshering's" "Kobo Start Menu"

For those who are trying the Alternate readers because you prefer a "File Manager" approach over the corruptible database book management approach that Kobo uses; you can easily hide your ebook files from Kobo's database and processing. All that is neccessary is to place the files and folders of your ebook collection in a hidden directory/folder. For a Linux device "hidden" files folders or directories are those that are named with a dot/period before the name ( like .kobo or perhaps for this use .library ) To make such a folder/directory using Windows Explorer you just name the folder with a dot/period both before and after the name (like this ".Library.") the trailing dot/period will disappear leaving the "hidden" name you want (like ".Library")

It can also be done using the commandline command MD.

[I have all my ebook files on my external uSD card within a "hidden" directory, ~7000.]

For calibre: (Stolen from a Davidfor post)
An alternative way if you are not using nickel is to disable the KoboTouch driver in calibre. Then use "Connect to folder". That will prompt for the folder to treat as a device. You can use any folder on the device. (Including a hidden folder, like .library) Calibre will then scan the folder looking for books.

#2  PeterT 11-06-2013, 01:05 PM
Ken; maybe list what pre-reqs are required.... ie base Kobo f/w level

#3  Ken Maltby 11-06-2013, 01:31 PM
Quote PeterT
Ken; maybe list what pre-reqs are required.... ie base Kobo f/w level
Ok, we should be able to make postings in this thread that point out any problems or prerequisites for each model.

Mark 4 Touch ( N905C ) may need to fix the Koreader touch coordinates as shown here.

For my AuraHD on fw 2.8.1, everything I use is working fine.
Edit: on fw 3.0.0 as well.
Edit: on fw 3.1.0 as well.
Edit: on fw 3.1.1 as well.
Edit: now working with fw 3.2.0

When you do a Firmware install, you will likely need to redo Steps 2., 5.&6, and 7. for the launching png files.

I think all the current builds of both Coolreader and Koreader are assuming fw 2.6.1 or above.


#4  ACGT 11-10-2013, 12:20 AM
Hi Ken,

Sorry for the novice questions.

Steps 4,5,6,7,8: do they have anything todo with KoReader? Is it OK if I proceed directly starting on Step 9 on a brand new Aura HD? (I don't need to play chess nor Coolreader), I just need KoReader to read PDF files.

Also is this file the correct KoReader for Aura HD?

Also where is the .kobo folder? When I connected the USB cable to load some test books into the Aura HD, all I saw was an empty folder. Should I create the .kobo folder under the root folder?

#5  meeera 11-10-2013, 12:53 AM
Quote ACGT
Also where is the .kobo folder? When I connected the USB cable to load some test books into the Aura HD, all I saw was an empty folder. Should I create the .kobo folder under the root folder?
Are you using OS X? If so, the system files/folders, which start with a . like .kobo, are hidden by default. You need to show them (or search for them with "System Files" set to "Include"), then you'll see .kobo.

#6  Ken Maltby 11-10-2013, 12:57 AM
Features listing updated:


KOReader is a document viewer application, originally created for Kindle e-ink readers. It currently runs on Kindle 5 (Touch), Kindle Paperwhite, Kobo, Android(2.3+) devicesKobo and Android (2.3+) devices. Developers can also run Koreader emulator for development purpose on desktop PC with Linux or Windows operating system.

KOReader started as the KindlePDFViewer application, but it supports much more formats than PDF now. Among them are DJVU, FB2, EPUB, TXT, CBZ, HTML.

KOReader is a frontend written in Lua and uses the API presented by the koreader-base framework. KOReader implements a GUI and is currently targeted at touch-based devices - for the classic user interface for button-driven e-ink devices (like the Kindle 2, Kindle DX, Kindle 3, Kindle 4) see the KindlePDFviewer legacy project or - especially for the Kindle 4 - have a look at its fork Librerator.

This application is distributed under the GNU AGPL v3 license (read the COPYING file).

Main features for users•supports multi-format documents including: ◦paged fixed-layout formats: PDF, DjVu and CBZ
◦reflowable e-book formats: ePub, fb2, mobi, doc, chm and plain text
◦scanned PDF/DjVu documents can also be reflowed with built-in K2pdfopt

•use StarDict dictionaries / Wikipedia to lookup words
•highlights can be exported to Evernote cloud account
•highly customizable reader view and typeset ◦setting arbitrary page margins / line space
◦choosing external fonts and styles
◦built-in multi-lingual hyphenation dictionaries

•supports adding custom online OPDS catalogs
•calibre integration ◦send ebooks from calibre library to koreader wirelessly
◦browser calibre library and download ebooks via calibre OPDS server

•can share ebooks to other koreader devices wirelessly
•various optimizations for e-ink devices ◦paginated menus without animation
◦adjustable text contrast

•multi-lingual user interface
•online Over-The-Air software update

Highlights for developlers•frontend written in Lua scripting language ◦running on multi-platform with only one code-base maintained
◦developing koreader in any editor without compilation
◦high runtime efficiency by LuaJIT acceleration
◦light-weight widget toolkit for small memory footprint
◦extensible with plugin system

•interfaced backends for documents parsing and rendering ◦high quality document backend libraries like MuPDF, DjvuLibre and Crengine
◦interacting with frontend via LuaJIT FFI for best performence

•in active development ◦contributed by 28 and more developers around the world
◦continuous integration with Travis CI
◦with unit tests and code coverage test
◦automatic release of nightly builds

•free as in free speech ◦licensed under Affero GPL v3
◦all dependencies are free software

Check out the KOReader wiki to learn more about this project.


#7  ACGT 11-10-2013, 12:44 PM
Hi Ken,

The PC is Linux and indeed, I see .kobo folder when I enable the view of hidden files. To be safe, I followed the instructions completely. Download

Unzip it and proceeded to step 5 (copy launcher.png to kobo root folder, Aura HD, firmware 2.10). Then eject the Kobo reader from the PC, the processing progression gauge moved but got stuck at 92%. After about 10 minutes, I think it got stuck and couldn't power down. I then hit the reset button (the pin hole in the bottom edge).

Now the device is stuck in a boot loop, the home screen is displayed up side down (the top of the home screen is close to the edge where there is the USB port). The launcher image doesn't appear on the home screen. The device is insensitive to any touch. During that infinite boot loop, if I keep hitting on buttons. Sometimes the GUI seems to register the touch, another GUI element is displayed, for example, the Settings screen. But then nothing can go further as a reboot is followed shortly right after.

When connecting the USB cable, hitting the Connect button does nothing. Pushing on Reset or slide & hold Power off button has no effects. I am afraid that png image had bricked the device.

EDIT #1: read on another thread that there is a way to "Factory Reset": push the reset pinhole while pressing the light button simultaneously. Hold both for about 10 seconds, then release the reset while continuing to hold the light button. Release the light button when the screen begin showing that reset begining.

EDIT #2: After the Factory Reset. I re-setup the device, using Kobo Desktop instead of the WiFi method. Then I redo the precedure described in post #1 again, starting from step 4. This time I use a Windows PC instead of the Linux machine previously. Every thing seems to work OK now. The Koreader is indeed much faster than the built-in version.

Thanks for putting up these setup instructions.

#8  Ken Maltby 11-10-2013, 03:01 PM
Yes, do a factory reset. My PC lost its internet connection, right as I was trying to post a reply, on my tablet now.
You should make sure that your Kobo is fully charged, as well.

Your Kobo should be able to process the .png file without this happening. You never got to a point where any new software was installed. It must be able to process the file properly, before you can proceed further.


#9  Alphabase 11-10-2013, 08:34 PM
For me and my aura hd, every time I exit koreader it reboots my machine. Is this normal?

#10  Ken Maltby 11-10-2013, 09:30 PM
Quote Alphabase
For me and my aura hd, every time I exit koreader it reboots my machine. Is this normal?
Yes, there are some plans to handle the transition back to Nickel in a more elegant way, but for now rebooting works best.

Edit; The current builds return to the Kobo software (Nickel) on exit.


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