Sony to close operations on N American ebook store

In Other News - February 12th, 2014

Sony announced it has decided to close the books on its ebook store for North America as the electronics giant shifts its focus to the mobile market.

The Japanese company, which earlier said it would sell off its struggling PC business as part of a major reorganization, said it will shut its Reader Store in the US and Canada on March 20, and transfer customers to rival Kobo.

“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: Readers 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 readers will find their current ebook libraries have moved to the “Kobo ecosystem.”

“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 title they love from Sony devices.”

“Kobo is the ideal solution for our customers and will deliver a robust and comprehensive user experience,” said Ken Orii, Sony vice president for digital reading.

“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.”

Founded in 2009, Kobo boasts four million titles across 68 languages and is one of the world’s largest ebook stores.

The news came as Sony said it now expects a net loss of 110 billion yen ($1.1 billion) for the year to the end of March, a reversal of its October forecast for net profit of 30 billion yen.

Sony introduced the first Sony Reader model in 2006 but faced tough competition with Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Kobo’s eReader. Sony last released a new Sony Reader in the US in 2012.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: TAKA@P.P.R.S/Flickr