Sony closing North American ebook store

Sony booth in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 10, 2014
Sony booth in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 10, 2014

Sony announced Thursday it was closing its ebook store for North America, and giving its customer list to rival Kobo.

The Japanese company, which earlier unveiled a major reorganization, said it will close its Reader Store in the US and Canada on March 20.

"Although we're sorry to say goodbye to the Reader Store, we're also glad to share the new and exciting future for our readers: Reader Store will transfer customers to Toronto-based eReading company, Kobo—an admired ebook seller with a passionate reading community," a blog post at the Sony Reader website said.

Sony said customers and their current ebook libraries "will transfer to the Kobo ecosystem" under the change.

"Kobo is the ideal solution for our customers and will deliver a robust and comprehensive user experience. Like Sony, they are committed to those most passionate about reading and share our vision to use open formats so people can easily read anytime and anywhere," said Ken Orii, Sony vice president for digital reading.

"Our customers can be assured that they will have a seamless transition to the Kobo ecosystem and will be able to continue to access and read the titles they love from Sony devices."

Canadian-based Kobo, founded in 2009, sells ebooks and reading devices and says it "offers one of the world's largest ebookstores with nearly four million titles across 68 languages," according to its website.

The news came as Sony announced in Japan it was cutting 5,000 jobs and exiting the PC market in the face of a billion-dollar annual loss.

Sony has pinpointed digital imaging, video games and mobile as the units which it hopes will lead a turnaround in its core electronics business.

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© 2014 AFP

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User comments

Feb 07, 2014
Sony seems like such a mixed bag company these days. They build great electronics, but often release overpriced products that fall flat on the consumer market. They are smart to slim down on variety, and hopefully they can continue to compete in the future. The 4K TVs look great, but they are so expensive! Sadly, when the price comes down, most people will probably be buying a Samsung, Sharp or Vizio 4K tv. I wonder how they will continue with such stiff competition. Creating standards and bleeding edge technology is not as profitable as selling higher volume of cheaper products. Good luck Sony!

Feb 07, 2014
If it were my call I'd aim for high end. Sony along with RCA used to be brands you'd pay a premium to own. The screwed themselves when they started trying to go after the low end mass produced low margin segment.

Feb 07, 2014
The entire value of Sony lies in its little known but profitable Sony Financial Services unit. The rest thanks to Steve Job is a techno museum.

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