Sony is officially getting out of the eBook selling business and has just announced the closure of their UK, Germany, Austria, and Australia Reader Stores. The stores will shut down for good on June 16th 2014 and all books will be transitioned over to Kobo.
Last month Sony officially shuttered their North American Reader Store and transitioned all of their customers to Kobo. All Sony branded e-readers received firmware updates that removed the store and a future update will add the Kobo Store to all Sony devices.
Sony is abandoning selling books in every single market in the world now, other than Japan. The company has found it can remain profitable outsourcing all of the bookselling business to Kobo and earn commissions on every sale. All current and future Sony e-Readers and Xperia tablets and smartphone users will be able to buy books from Kobo in their own country. Kobo currently operates dedicated bookstores in UK, Germany, Austria, and Australia, so the transition will be smooth.
Existing European and Australian Sony customers will be receiving emails in the coming weeks with full instructions on how copy their books to Kobo. It is important to note that just the store is shutting down and you will be able to read your books the way you have always have. This is useful because not all Sony books are compatible with Kobo, especially magazines, newspapers and older books in LRF format.
Sony was one of the first companies to get into the e-reader industry back in 2006. The also started one of the first online digital bookstores and dominated the e-reader market until early 2012. They saw increased competition from Apple, Amazon, B&N and Kobo. Instead of fighting it out with cheaper book prices and e-readers, they decided just to scrap selling books and focus on tablets and smartphones.
“We are delighted to be working with Sony to reach the most passionate Readers in Europe and Australia, by bringing the Kobo world to Reader Store customers – keeping them reading their favourite stories,” said Takahito Aiki, CEO, Kobo. “Both companies share the goal of putting the most passionate booklovers at the centre of the reading experience. This means providing the best experience through innovative technology coupled with a vast and comprehensive digital reading ecosystem.”
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.