Samsung is disbanding the Readers Hub that they have owned and operated since they started to seriously focus on Android tablets and smartphones. The South Korean company is suspending their relationship with PressReader and Zinio, two partners they have had since the beginning. Samsung is also closing down their own eBook store that they established in 2012 and relying on Amazon on their custom built Kindle Store, optimized for Samsung devices.
The Samsung Readers Hub was launched at IFA in Berlin Germany back in September of 2010. The essence of the service was to have Kobo, Zinio and PressReader preinstalled on all smartphones and tablets going forward. At the time, these apps were heavily customized to take advantage of specific screen sizes and resolution. It gave customers an all in one ecosystem to buy things right out of the box, instead of relying on Google Play to find the app of their choice.
In 2012 samsung decided to get into the book business themselves and severed ties with Canadian based Kobo. They talked with publishers and small presses and launched their own bookstore towards the end of the year. Their coming out party was at Book Expo America in 2013, where they met with even more publishers and bolstered their catalog to over 2.3 million titles. One of the drawbacks of the Samsung Bookstore is that it wasn’t available in all markets, nor all of Samsung’s devices. It failed to get traction because of poor locationation and mass market appeal.
In early 2014 Samsung made a bold move and partnered with Amazon. The Seattle based company made a custom app for Samsung to distribute on all future phones. In order to get people using the app right away on their new Galaxy S5, Amazon is giving away 15 free eBooks a year, from a predetermined list of 3 titles a month.
The Samsung Books Hub will officially close on July 1st 2014 and all new phones are being bundled with the Kindle app. If you have purchased books from Samsung in the past, you will lose them all. Currently there is no migration plan in the works and that is the price we all pay for licensing digital content, instead of owning it.
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.